We biked out to Fruita, a small town west of Grand Junction, for the reopening of a local pizza cafe that had moved into a new building after failing to come to terms with its former landlord.
We arrived sometime around 1:00 and the line stretched from the order counter to the door. It was the same way when we left, and the festivities involving bands in the street hadn't even begun to take shape yet.
You can see the improvements the two women owners have made to the building — adding a spacious outdoor seating area along the side. Landscaping is still in process, and the bike parking might need a little work, but no one was complaining.
Less apparent than the paint job and the cheery interior is the role a unique and beloved business can play in a community. The pizza and beer at Hot Tomato are good, and cycling is part of the vibe, but it was clear that most of the people showing up today were there because they wanted this little institution to exist in their lives.
I get really tired of hearing about how the market is all-important, and how economic principles (are you listening, Craig Westover?) should determine how governments and societies make decisions. The adherents to this thinking would have us believe that we have made the choice when we have a Domino's instead of a Hot Tomato in our neighborhoods. And that if a Pizza Hut franchise can come up with the financing where a Hot Tomato can't, well, that's as it should be.
You could try that line of thought in this pizza joint this afternoon, but I don't think you'd get any takers.