Sunday, July 19, 2009
Tritch Hardware in Eagle Rock, or, a Yuppie Reflects
Sometimes, Eagle Rock has a real Riverdale, Archie & Jughead feel about it: you're driving down Colorado, past all these businesses that have been here since the 40's or so (Cindy's Diner, Casa Bianca, Colombo's, etc.), you see the "Historic Route 66" signs, and you feel a bit like you're in BACK TO THE FUTURE or something. Nowhere is this blast-from-the-past feeling more pronounced than in the venerable Tritch Hardware in Eagle Rock (SW corner of Colorado and Townsend).
Tritch Hardware is the kind of place where an American flag is hung up with no irony, where most of the grizzled staff probably spent some time in either Vietnam or Korea at some point, and where people really care how the Eagle Rock high school football team is doing. It's a throwback.
I've purchased the following items at Tritch Hardware in the three years we've lived in Eagle Rock: a shovel, six tomato cages, several bags of potting soil, a hammer, nails, hooks, duct tape, a hand juicer, and a wheelbarrow. The people in Tritch Hardware are famously helpful. They'll answer all sorts of questions in detail, and will always help you find the stuff you need. A French friend of mine was in there yesterday, asking them about how to restore the finish on aluminum. The guy helping him, an older guy, carefully went over my friend's project, and what he wanted to accomplish, and pointed him in exactly the right direction.
The staff at Tritch are not all bubbly and fake-friendly, but more sort of the gruff and to-the-point helpful types: you'll come out of there with the stuff you need and will probably feel like you learned something useful about hardware/home repair/the American way. You might also feel like going and having a Miller and watching the Dodgers. And changing your own oil and filter.
They've got basically all the hardware you might need, in addition to other random household stuff (appliances, kitchen stuff, etc.). They also have a cooler full of ice cream bars. Behind the counter they've usually got a baseball, football, or basketball game on on the tiny TV they have next to the register.
I might have to agree with those who argue that Tritch Hardware, and not the car-accident-prone Swork (which I love), is the true heart of Eagle Rock. Of course, Tritch Hardware is often posited as some kind of touchstone of "realness" and "real people" against which the invading yuppie hordes are juxtaposed: see the NYT article comparing the now-defunct Regeneration shop vs. Tritch (the faint odor you detect as you read the article is the sickly sweet musk of Schadenfreude).
Tritch Hardware and the other businesses that have been in Eagle Rock for the past sixty years are what make this neighborhood what it is. They are the core of the place. Newer places (Swork, Colorado Wine Company, The Oinkster, Señor Fish, etc.) are inexorably becoming part of the fabric of neighborhood as well, but Eagle Rock likely never will be a copy of Silverlake or Los Feliz: the set up and the nature of the place are too different.
Young and old are working out a happy medium in this neighborhood. The new places that will go up over the coming years as we come out of the current downturn will all go to the same place for the tools they need to start building: Tritch Hardware.