On Interesting Cities

And though “youth-driven food boom” may sound frivolous, it is anything but. Restaurants and cafes are a big part of the personality of a city. Imagine walking down a street in Paris. What are you walking past? Little restaurants and cafes. Imagine driving through some depressing random exurb. What are you driving past? Starbucks and McDonalds and Pizza Hut. As Gertrude Stein said, there is no there there. You could be anywhere.

These independent restaurants and cafes are not just feeding people. They’re making there be a there here.

— Paul Graham in his essay “How to Make Pittsburgh a Startup Hub