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"The Neighborhood Project": East Tosa | The North Avenue Strip

Listen: For the first half of last Saturday, I went to a community planning meeting with the Washington Park neighborhoods. It was a great and productive meeting (more on that later) and I managed to catch up with old pal Jessie Tobin, who we met what seems like ages ago in Martin Drive. Naturally, she was curious how the campaign has been progressing, and since it was coming later that day, I told her how excited I was to get a guided tour of East Tosa's stretch of North Avenue. As it turns out, she recently spent a little time on that very stretch herself and her impressions were in exact accordance with my expectations -- she saw a wide-ranging collection of eclectic retail, with everything from the mundane to the unusual represented. Just take a look at their directory.

Unfortunately, we couldn't harvest the story of every unique business in the 16 block stretch, but we did manage to pinpoint a few worthy characters. In the first piece, we stop by Johnson's Cycle and Fitness to speak with founder Peter Jensen (see top picture), and then spend a few moments with captivating and striking owner/founder/chef of Il Mito, Michael Feker: If you follow the audio pieces we put out here at 88Nine, you probably know I'm pretty devoted to finding the right music to match the mood of the speaker. On this walking tour, I was particularly diligent in finding music that fit just so. In this first piece, Peter is paired with Señor Coconut's cover of Kraftwerk's classic Tour De France (a kinetic piece meant to match the cycling experience) and I think I do a reasonable job of Fekerizing chef Michael Feker with Rondo Veneziano's perfectly bombastic Casanova.

In the second part of the audio piece, we talk to Deb at U-Turn, an upscale consignment boutique, dash through the Cosmos Café for a touch of Greek flavor and end at the iconic couch-laden Rosebud Theater: The music? U-Turn is paired with the couture-soaked Glamour Girl from Louie Austen, Cosmos Café is nestled atop a bed of traditional  Ti Sou Kana Kai Pinis, and the Rosebud is joined with the exceedingly cinematic Honky Tonk of Wermland from Detektivbyrån.

Interested in learning more about East Tosa? The best place to start is their neighborhood website . And perhaps even better, get out to the neighborhood and check it out yourself !

Produced by: Adam Carr