Booze & Snooze, Choke & Puke, Park & Puke, whatever
(Okinawan Soki Soba is "nuchigusui" which means that it is way better than Chicken Soup for your soul)
During the final seasons of the old All in the Family sitcom of the 1970’s, the main character, Archie Bunker made the big change from working stiff to businessman. I think it was the season just before the uber-liberal producers got stingy and killed off his dingbat wife Edith played by Maureen Stapleton when she asked for a raise. For those of you old enough to remember, Archie was America's favorite bigot. In a strange twist of fate, it may turn out that he was prophetic, perhaps even proving that Barak Obama was actually correct when he recently asserted at a campaign stop that “If you're a businessman and you're successful, you didn’t build that business all on your own!”
The particular episode to which I am referring, our hero had to work so hard to keep his business going that Archie got hooked on uppers. So it turns out that Archie actually did have a little help from his friends as he built his business. Anyway, what I remember from this episode is that Archie went through an amphetamine induced rant about how he was going to grow and franchise his business. He had grand dreams and it was going to become a nationwide chain of bars and flop houses that he called “Booze & Snooze.” Try and remember that this was long before the idea of designated drivers and Daiko services came into vogue.
In Archie’s business model, patrons could get as shit faced as they pleased and when they got too drunk to walk, they didn't have to worry about driving either. Yes, for a modest fee, they could spend the night in safety. Dating myself some more, I also remember the CB craze and watched Smokey and the Bandit when it came out in the theaters. Remember what they called truck stop restaurants? If you said a “Choke and Puke” go to the head of the class.
Now days, times is tough all over. Businesses need to either diversify or simplify in order to survive. If you’re a businessman, you know that which choice is the right one for you depends on many variables and it may be a crap shoot as to which one, if either one, is right for you. One thing for sure, I don’t think it’s possible to do both, that is unless you happen to be schizophrenic.
(Turn left at the orange sign, the Ginza Parking lot and Shokudo is at the end of the block on the left side of the street)
To make a long story short, it all reminded me of a place we visited on our last excursion down to Naha, Okinawa's capital city, to visit some old friends and see how things have changed since our last trip. As it turned out, we stopped at one business that seems to have made the diversification process work and in an interesting way. No, it wasn’t a Booze & Snooze or even a Choke & Puke but pardon the pun, it could be designated a “Park & Puke!”
(Each item on the menu is numbered and so are the buttons on the vending machine where you buy your tickets)
Located off the back side of the Heiwa Dori Market is a family owned parking garage called the Ginza. Here you can drop off your car and they’ll watch if for you and given the Okinawan reputation for honesty, you can trust that it and anything left in it will still be there upon your return. Located in the same building and run by the same family is a small “shokudo” or family kitchen restaurant.
What makes this place so good isn’t just the food (which is quite good by the way) but by eating at this restaurant, you can get a discount on your parking fees. Better yet, the prices on the food are very reasonable. There is no obligation to eat here but if you happen by and have the time and there is space available, I’d recommend this place. The cuisine is Okinawan fare but the menu is diverse with a wide variety of different dishes to choose from. The menu is posted about the small dining area all on pictures with the names in Japanese and each dish is numbered. Don’t worry too much about the language barrier. Look for something that you think you’d like to try, remember the number and purchase a ticket from the vending machine. Give it to one of the ladies behind the counter, find a seat and then enjoy!