The Ditch

Kramer at Austin’s Rock Shop

The Ditch

Years ago, I decamped tony Austin for cooler southern climes, maybe 70 or 80 miles south: San Antonio. Just below the 30 parallel? The interesting perspective is one as a permanent tourist in my current home town. Makes life feel more transient and fleeting.

El Arroyo

El Arroyo

Then, too, there’s the notion that I work in Austin, almost more than any place else these days. The old home town. Much has changed. The song remains the same. But no, I’m not young enough or cool enough to live there now.

I’ve eaten the place nicknamed “The Ditch” exactly once in recent memory, and that was some years ago. Just the name, “The Ditch” should evoke old Austin. The recollection was that the food was sub-optimal, the tequila was cheap and plentiful, and the locals went for the booze and camaraderie, not for the questionable TexMex. Bubba has backed me on this.

At one point, I lived just south of San Antonio’s downtown. I would pick up a bag of San Antonio breakfast tacos and take them to Austin. The tacos would be cold, grease would soak through some of the wrappers, and the sheer size, taste, quality — all of that — proved conclusively that San Antonio has better breakfast tacos. Not some fancy, overpriced artisanal taco, yes, Austin does that better, but these are blue-collar tacos. They’re working long before those tiny artisanal, lame excuse for a breakfast dish has even arisen.

Working person’s food.

The running joke, I talk to friends about my South Side experiences, and then mention that one place, you know, with the homemade tortillas?
Roll their eyes, “Kramer, that’s just about every tacqueria in San Antonio.”

My point.

So “The Ditch” has risen to some degree of fame, due to its signage, more than anything else. Those books, the collections of the sign’s bon mots are available for sale. Used to be a single, local weird thing about Austin. Now it’s “a thing.”

El Arroyo’s Big Book of Signs Volume One

Commuters easing in from the tony west Austin and similar environs, passing the restaurant located on the drainage ditch, they would get greeted with a different sign most week days.

El Arroyo’s Big Book of Signs Volume Two

Apocryphal data, strictly word-of-mouth in nature? The rumor on the street is that the wait staff is charged with coming up with a new sign each day, now that this is an internet sensation, but that same staff is not cut in on the proceeds of the creative endeavor. Hint: so not fact-checked.

So the food wasn’t known as being that great, but the signage started to sell the place. I’m good with that.

The horoscope sign was fun for me. At least two clients posted it on to me, and asked if it was dig at me, personally. I kind of doubt that. My horoscopes tend to run a little weird and much more specific. If it fits, sure, but that didn’t.

Like the sign says. sig file

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