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A Tour Of Broadway, Chula Vista

Pawn ShopBroadway, you say? In Chula Vista? There’s nothing to see there.

Well, says who?

Chula Vista is part of what I call the South Bay’s “gangster history”. During the Prohibition years of the 1920’s, Tijuana was known as “Vice City” and famous celebrities stopped in South Bay cities for all kinds of reasons. They stopped in National City to eat and drink at Cafe La Maze. Famous celebrities would stay at the El Toreador in San Ysidro. They would board their race horses in the Tijuana River Valley. They would also stay at the motels in Chula Vista.

Broadway is an interesting road in Chula Vista that I want to feature for the next two weeks. The thoroughfare runs for about 4 miles, North to South. To the North it ends at Highway 54. To the South it becomes Beyer Blvd in Otay Mesa where you’ll see the John J. Montgomery memorial.

Take a drive down Broadway and you’ll notice a fascinating history combined with some interesting contemporary politics.

First, take a look at some of the stores you’ll pass:

Window Tinting, Car Audio, Alcatraz Locksmith, the liquor store, at least three pawn shops (one next to a shoe repair shop) and the Chula Vista Gun Store. (There’s more than one gun store on Broadway.)

The Machinist’s Union is on the corner of Broadway and Park Way. Old timers may remember how 4,500 machinists from Rohr Industries’ plant in Chula Vista went on strike on February 16, 1987. Two days later, strikes turned ugly when vandalism was reported at the aerospace company.

Funeraria del Angel Humphrey on 753 Broadway welcomes their guests through Greek columns and an opulent glass door. Border Leather Corporation is next to the Yarn store. The dive bar The Manhattan used to be a piano bar, established in 1957. Next door is the Birrieria y Menuderia for those who need to satisfy their tripe craving.

Bavaria Inn, Chula VistaBavaria Inn, Chula VistaBavaria Inn

Speaking of beer and tripe, the Germans of the South Bay assimilated long ago and don’t remember their heritage (or their tripe), but this building still exists along Broadway.

From the name, one would assumeĀ  it was once a hotel owned by a German from the Munich area. The V-shape roof design is oh-so-German, meant to prevent roof collapse during those harsh snowy winters. However, when I parked in the lot and asked about beer at the Inn, I was told to leave the premises. They are private apartments. No Germans around.

What Else Is There On Broadway?

For the next two weeks, I’m going to tell you.

The Village Club Card Room has recently been in the news. I’ll tell you a little more.

I’ll want to take you to the Postmodern Bookstore and introduce you to the owner: a philosopher, author and owner of twenty cats.

Finally, there’s some very good food as well.

Next week, I’ll continue on with an Issei commemoration and more about the eight trailer parks along this strip.

But let me tell you first not to miss the Bodega Market at 1193 Broadway for some fresh produce and carne asada. I also have written about Zorba’s which has belly dancing on the weekends.

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One Response to A Tour Of Broadway, Chula Vista

  1. Gil October 5, 2015 at 10:32 PM #

    Like what I read so far and looking forward to future posts. For your effort, please feel free to have my share of the tripe!

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