The Blue Ocean fire, which destroyed the popular dim sum restaurant, sparked a heated debate about the restaurant’s significance in the community, as well as speculation that fraud could be involved. Meanwhile Nathan Solis’s story about local businesses closing their doors, mentioned in our last comments roundup, gained steam, with readers still disagreeing about the effects of commercial development in Alhambra.
Most readers lamented the loss of Blue Ocean, wishing the owners and employees luck in the aftermath. But one didn’t seem too troubled. “Thanks for the human interest side of the tragedy,” wrote food blogger SinoSoul. “That said, DESPITE BO winning Top 10 of LA's Chinese in LA Mag, I won't miss BO. This place symbolized mediocre dimsum for the mass consumption. With Monterey Palace opening in San Gabriel, the lookie-loos will move on.”
Albert Lu came to the restaurant’s defense. “I'm disappointed with the number of people judging the restaurant's food quality while the fire effected so many,” he wrote. “There are people out there trying to make a living. The cooks and waiters of these Chinese restaurants work hard to support their kids. I know cause my parents have friends who work at restaurants like Blue Ocean.”
“Albert – I agree with you,” wrote Adam Bray-Li. “Don't let some food blogger that fetishizes the latest and greatest over-hyped and over-priced restaurants get you down.”
SinoSoul retorted, “I assume ‘food blogger’, in singular form, references myself…The sentimentality attached to these restaurants is laughable. They come, they go. It's a way of life, especially in the WSGV (Albert, did you also for Sweet Blanket's fire? Doubt it).”
“Yes Sino Soul,” replied Bray-Li. “I was directing that at you specifically. So far, you are the only food blogger here that I've read saying something as mean-spirited as what you posted above…you writing that you are ok with a decent business burning down makes you sound a bit like an unpleasant complainer who only would 'shed a tear' for a place that impacts you and your belly.”
The source of the fire also came into question when three readers accused the restaurant owners of starting it themselves. “I am calling BS on this ‘accidental fire,’” wrote Whistleblower. “One has to wonder whether or not the owners of Blue Ocean Seafood Restaurant committed insurance fraud, especially with the economy the way it is nowadays…I also like to point out that business before this fire was pretty slow in the past few months. Desperate times, people…”
Readers were quick to support the owners, asking for evidence of these claims (cause of the fire is still not determined). “I would just like to ask how you knew that the business was slow there over the past few months?” wrote lalalalamm. “Because when I went, and whenever I pass by, which is everyday for work, I see lines of people outside waiting to be seated…I by all means do not mean to attack you or anything, but I just thought that this comment that you wrote was very disrespectful to the owners of Blue Ocean.”
Dan Bednarski added: “Please have respect for others during a tragedy. The owners lost a business/livelihood and its employees are now jobless. Your comments are ignorant, baseless, inflammatory, and downright mean. None of us know what happened. That's what the fire department and insurance company are left to sort out.”
Solis’s article about Alhambra’s redevelopment caused more debate, with a reader commenting on the mysterious big box store mentioned in Solis’s article. “Listen up folks,” wrote kbigelow. “The big box store coming to Alhambra is likely Wall Mart [sic]. Who would want to open a business in Alhambra if they have to compete against Wall Mart? Think about the traffic and congestion. It can be difficult driving down main street now. What will it be like with Wall Mart shoppers.”
Guillermo Martinez replied, “This city council would never allow WalMart to build here. Besides, there is already a WalMart 10 minutes away in Rosemead, they would not be interested in building another is such close proximity.”
“I think you should check with city council before you say they would never allow it,” wrote kbigelow. “Check it out.” We’ll let you know what we find out.