Missing the Food Court

The latest round of COVID-19 re-opening guidelines in this province does not allow for indoor dining yet. It’s a small inconvenience, but I miss eating, and reading and writing, in mall food courts. My first hourly paid job was working at a restaurant in a mall food court, and I’ve found them comfortable places ever since.

At home, no matter how pleasant it is, there are chores to be done, a stack of bills on the desk, and countless other reminders of your ordinary life and obligations. Particularly when you work at home, as I have for the past five years, a change of scenery can aid relaxing, reading, and writing.

Writers praise the joys of working from coffee shops, and the advantages are many. The white noise of a coffee shop mutes distractions. The shops are often more generous with heat than apartment landlords, and usually have air conditioning in the summer. They have W-Fi if you need it, but it’s easier to avoid being online than at home.

Food court at Scotia Square mall, showing empty tables in closed seating area, and overhead TV screen stating "Please take your food to go."

A mall food court has the same white noise and comfortable temperature, but it’s much larger. A downtown mall food court, especially one under office towers, is almost empty after the weekday lunch rush, and while purchasing a late lunch may mean fewer choices, the vendors may give more generous proportions. It’s a similar situation in suburban malls after dinner. (Some places discount food shortly before closing.)

A mall food court is considerably less cozy than a coffee shop, but offers greater anonymity, larger tables, and better light. I revised much of Ocean’s Lure, and have read many books, over lunch in the Scotia Square food court. I’m there so often that anonymity is no longer feasible, but the other advantages remain.

If all goes well with reopening, I’ll be spending the hottest days this summer eating westernized Asian fast food and reading historical romances (or revising my next book) in the cool food court. Meanwhile, stay safe and get vaccinated.

Published
Categorized as Writing

By trc

Freelance writer, freelance editor, web consultant, and film studies scholar.

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