Saturday, February 4, 2012

We Love L.A. Food Show!

Dear L.A. Food Show team,

You will be missed.

Some of you may or may not know that my son was born with Williams Syndrome, a defect of the chromosome #7.  People with Williams syndrome often have developmental delays, medical problems which can include cardiovascular and kidney disorders, and learning disabilities. On the flip side, they usually have excellent verbal abilities, friendly and endearing personalities and a special love for music.

Many of you have shared and experienced my son's friendliness when I started taking him there at the age of 3.  At that time L.A. Food Show was one of the very few places we could take him where he wouldn't have a meltdown.  We would go every week on Thursday as a way of kicking off the weekend after hours of speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and preschool during the week.

We began to learn your names and you began to learn his.  It quickly became his (and my) favorite place.  Having lunch there became as much a part of our routine as all the therapies he had, except this visit was my therapy.  I didn't realize how much until I learned you were closing.

Taking my son there was my break from the worries of having a child with special needs.  It was a break from hearing about how he was doing in each of his therapies.  It was an hour surrounded by familiar, friendly faces instead of doctors.  It was the only opportunity for me to have some sort of adult conversation that did not include discussions about what other therapy was needed but had to be approved.  There were no assessments done during this time so that a report of his progression or regression could be written for the required services.  Unbeknownst to you, you had all become my pseudo-support system and my son's friends.

When my son started school full time our Thursday visits sadly came to an end.  When I became pregnant with my daughter I knew I would bring her to L.A. Food Show for regular visits, just like her big brother.  However, that did not come to fruition as I had hoped.  My daughter was born with a tethered spinal cord and although she had surgery to release as much of it as possible, it resulted in a paralyzed bladder.  My husband and I were now the parents of two kids with special, but different needs; one developmental and the other physical.  Circumstances and schedules beyond our control prevented me from having regular weekly mommy and daughter lunch dates.  Still, we went when we could, and it was always an enjoyable experience. 

I know this all sounds so melodramatic, but this is coming from a San Francisco transplant who had a great dislike for Los Angeles.  We've been here 10 years and it took me 4 years to finally find my footing in this overpopulated metropolis and to fall in love with it.  Out of all the places we dined at while getting to know the area, the Food Show was the only place I felt comfortable; the only place where we didn't have to deal with staff that didn't care how they treated the customers because they were just doing this until they got their big break into the "business" (I laughed the first time I heard it referred to that way because I had no idea what the person was talking about and it sounded ridiculous to me).  It was the only place that served not just a variety of food, but a variety of GOOD food and we weren't surrounded by pretentious people (employees or customers).  It was and still continues to be the only place to treat my family like family.

Today we will go in there to say goodbye.  We will bid farewell to those familiar faces that we know and love and to those behind the scene that we never had the chance to meet, but are thankful for as well.  My kids, now 10 and almost 4, will give you hugs and kisses.  If I had the money, I'd keep you open.  If I win the Lotto, I'll open you back up.  I know I may not get the same people staffed there, but I'll make damn sure that they all have the same kind of professionalism, attitude, friendliness and courtesy that you have shown my family.  I'll also make sure the Chicken and Waffles are just as good.

Thank you, each and every one of you, from the bottom of our hearts.

We wish you all the best.


Anthony Pantoja said...

This was amazing. Besides our staff being amazing, our customers were the best. Mostly all the people people I helped were regulars. It's sad that the show has come to an end and we bow to all you amazing people.

Toney Fernandez said...

Being a server here for a little under a year I can really see how amazing this place truely was and hearing your story has touched me and made me realize we're more than just "servers and customers". The mentality of the workers and guests seemed like no other, almost family-like. It's difficult to find that today, but I know each and every one of us workers have taken so much from this place and knowing our hard work, friendliness, and love has been passed on to our guests makes everything worthwhile. I'll miss the restaurant, the food, and most of all - the people. Hopefully will see EVERYONE tonight Saturday Feb 4, 2012, and thank you again, Raquel for this post. I will never forget it! See you all soon.


The Accidental Teacher said...

Thank you both so much for your comments. I'm so glad you got the opportunity to read this post. All the love we've been shown by all of you through the years and even again, last night, is what inspired me to write it. As this door closes, I pray that wonderful opportunities open for all of you and that it leads to bigger and better things.

I don't know what will be or if we'll ever find another favorite restaurant, but I'm buying lotto tickets every week from here on out.

Let your light shine...