The mythical grocery store, that for many was the best supplier of our faithful friend (cod, for the Portuguese), has closed. Sided by Porto’s most impotent landmark, the Torre dos Clérigos, this was for over a century a common gathering place for the Portuense community. Now, its shop windows are stained white, and its entrails are void of the products so many of us had gotten attached to for generations. It was not only the cod, but also the teas and coffee, which celebrated its name, and the wines, nuts, cheese and fresh produce. The soul of this place will rest in our collective memory, and for those in the future, their sole memory will be the marvelous colonialist motif inspired lettering, which will not be taken down due to protection as cultural heritage. The sign will be its only epitaph, and for being beautiful, it will survive, unlike many other old signs that are taken down from walls all across the city. What will succeed Casa Oriental is still a mystery to us, but rumor has it that it will be converted into a restaurant.
We would like to make an appeal to those who do not wish to see their city emptied of character: visit and buy at traditional shops. Give them the strength to survive, not only through revenue but also in the struggle against the savage rise of rent and unmerciful landlords. Let us care for our city.
To those who visit us, we repeat the advice. The driving force of tourism may also save many of the shops that often close due to tourism itself.
This Christmas, to those of you how haven’t given up, keep your spirits high, and choose the traditional commerce to bring your cod to the table.
Farewell, Casa Oriental.
Apparently, Casa Oriental will open under a new management and concept, possibly to the likes of what happened to the mercearia Pretinho do Japão. We will await the reopening for further developments.
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