Your two cents: ‘Snootiness’

My recent Restaurant of the Week post about Pomona’s Brick Market and Deli led to an email exchange with a Pomona friend that was unexpected. Reread the post first. It helps to remember that I live in Claremont. First she wrote:

“Interesting review. I’d argue that Pomona is smart and sophisticated as well. Sanctum, The Rookery, Pomona Downtown, The Pomona Art Walk, Vintage Renewals, etc., all have Facebook and Twitter accounts. I’m assuming they are all on Yelp since Yelp is customer-generated.

“I also don’t think Pomona should be more like Claremont. Pomona has a thriving artistic and ethnic culture, and I wouldn’t want that to change. If you walk around the residential neighborhood here at night, people are sitting on their stoops listening to music and laughing. It’s a really dynamic part of Pomona that I truly love!

“I’ve bought quinoa and wasabi peas at WinCo. They probably have the other stuff, but I’ve never checked (never been a big biscotti fan).”

To clarify, when I said The Brick is “active on Yelp,” I meant that management responds to almost every comment, which is unusually pro-active. Anyway, I don’t disagree with anything she wrote, but clearly she didn’t like what I wrote.

Later, she wrote that her email had been “extremely gentle and completely toned down from how truly offended I was by your post.” She said she¬†saw Claremont “snootiness” in this line from the blog post: “They seem like a smart, sophisticated bunch, the kind of business you’d expect to find in Claremont and thus great to see in Pomona.”

Obviously no offense was intended on my part; if anything, readers usually tell me I’m too kind to Pomona and, if they live in Claremont, too hard on my own town. What I was trying to get across, and perhaps failed at, was that what is essentially an organic convenience store, with high-end sandwiches, struck me as the sort of business you’d find in the Village rather than Pomona, and especially not at an intersection with a KFC, a vacant grocery store, a donut shop and a drive-thru burger stand.

But I’m curious if you folks — anyone, but particularly those of you who live in Pomona or used to live there (John, Deb, Ren, Andy, etc.) — were offended or thought I came off as condescending. Be honest. Your thoughts on the Claremont-Pomona dynamic, Pomona gentrification, etc., are welcome as well.

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  • Joey Catuara

    I tried the Brick Deli last week, and was very happy with it. (And said so on Yelp, to which they replied). And I mentioned it to 2 life-long residents of Pomona, along with my surprise at such a nice, new place in an unusual neighborhood. They both agreed. Downtown Pomona has definitely been “gentrified”, but this store looks and feels out of place on Arrow and Garey.

  • Denise Pappas

    Hmmm…..Just this morning I was discussing this very thing with my son. That is- just because someone CAN post comments doesn’t mean that someone should.
    In other words, unless someone obviously meant to be offensive (racial, ethnic,
    gender,etc. slurs) then you should just take it with a grain of salt and move
    on. But to answer your question, NO, you were not offensive.

  • DebB

    It never occurred to me to be offended, because I had the same reaction to the store as you – kind of upscale for the neighborhood. But it’s also quirky and kind of funky (in a good way), which I think fits Pomona.

    On the other hand, I think most of us are used to a little condescension from Claremonters (teasing)!

  • Fred R. Van Allen

    Well, I don’t think you were offensive, maybe a tad more explanation would have worked to the better. I want Downtown Pomona to stay the same and Claremont to stay the same…two different markets…and vibes. I give a bit more of my biz to Pomona…my wife tried to sell organic produce at The Brick…she said, ‘nice place, good people’.

  • R.E. Nunez

    Ren here, I also didn’t think it was offensive. Pomona has a rich history and to top it off, we have the best art walk in the I.E. I always enjoyed your column, keep up the good work. And by the way I get my biscotti’s at Smart & Final here in Pomona.

  • Bob Terry

    As a former Pomona boy, I routinely like to rag on the People’s Republic of Claremont for a myriad of issues. It was a compliment to The Brick the way you described it because there is nothing remotely that nice north of the tracks…which in reality was always the “good side”.

  • Julie Holt Martin

    Born and partially raised in Pomona…I read nothing wrong in your comments…..keep up the great work….

  • Joanne Dallas

    There’s no question that Pomona and Claremont are different. Claremont is more upscale and some are snooty about it. Pomona is full of interesting and unique places to eat and visit. I didn’t find your column offensive since it commented on reality. I’ve lived in both cities and found lots to do and appreciate in each. I visit both from my Montclair home. (We have a Nordstrom’s.)

  • Lived in Claremont two years and there was definitely snootiness. Neighbors walking down the street wouldn’t even respond to a “hello”. There were opportunities for jobs though…as I was doing yardwork, a Blaisdell neighbor stopped her can and said…”you come work my house?” ….. “sure, I said, as soon as I get done with MY HOUSE… at least she had the decency to be embarrassed..

  • Richard_Pietrasz

    I noticed nothing offensive, I either in my first read after it was published, or now. I moved to Pomona and began work there in 78, moved to RC in 84, but still often worked in Pomona until 92.

    I’ve always enjoyed your local columns.

    On a vaguely related note, I saw a bottle of Dale Bros. Pomona Queen lager for sale recently.

    • Andy Sze

      Dale brothers Brewery is based in upland

      • Richard_Pietrasz

        Yes, that is what it says on the label.

        One scene in Pomona Queen is set in a bar that resembles the late Buffalo Inn, a place that had far more character than most.

        • davidallen909

          A real place, the Midway, and in the same general vicinity as the Buff, but long gone.

          • Richard_Pietrasz

            Thanks for the clarification. Was it a cowboy themed bar near the RR tracks on Central or thereabouts?

          • JMac

            Nope, more along the lines of a biker bar on Foothill.

          • Richard_Pietrasz

            That fits with the novel. Thanks.

  • Andy Sze

    Although Pomona is an interesting place, I give up on Pomona. After 22 years in Pomona, I put my property up for sale last week. The community gets worse and worse while its neighbors become better and better. I will have to give up my Pomona voter registration which I’ve held since I was 18. The food in Pomona is still better than Rancho though.

  • Lois Robbins

    Greetings from Nebraska! I still read your blog and columns from afar. I worked in Pomona for 23 years and I agree with all of these comments that you were not offensive. Probably because I’ve spoken with you many times I feel like I know your intent. I did read the post again “looking” for offense and found none. Keep up the great work!

  • John Clifford

    Wasn’t offended by your review. I’m much more offended by Andy’s response below. Gave up on Pomona? Other surrounding cities better? Upland maybe? Montclair with Avila? Not worse, different as Joanne pointed out. I do like that Andy thinks Pomona’s restaurants are better than Rancho.

  • Doug Evans

    Adding my two cents to everyone else’s: if I had read this post, and you hadn’t mentioned how this place would seemingly be a more natural fit in Claremont than in Pomona, I would have thought: “Wow, this place seems like it would be a more natural fit in Claremont than in Pomona!” and secondly: “I wonder why David didn’t comment on that?” Pointing out that both cities have pretty firmly-set reputations in most people’s minds isn’t being snooty; it’s just background for the interesting twist in this post.

    Plus! Who’s a bigger booster of Pomona than this guy?