I am in St Louis and it’s now past my bedtime.

Today I stopped for lunch in Litchfield IL.  It’s half an hour north of St Louis along I 55.  Yes, a Wendy’s.  Salad and iced tea. 

I don’t eat in the restaurant because all eyes are on me because I am not from here.  Polite.  But the eyes.  I take my lunch out to the car and drive to the shopping center next to Wendys.  I could, and often do, eat as a stranger in strange places.  but today I am a predator carrying off its prey a distance to devour it.  My Wendy’s salad.  My stomach growls.

Chewing, I notice a name above a shop.  Sakura Hibachi Sushi.  It’s between Kirlinks Hallmark and The Unique Smoke Shop.  Pizza Hut is a hundred yards away.  46 degrees but sunny as I eat salad.

Anyplace now can be urban as we global people eat food of all places.  Here I am in Litchfield, population six thousand and six hundred, within sight of McDonald’s.  Wendy’s next door.

I’ve stopped in this town before. People here are real nice in Litchfield.   It seems people are nice in towns all along this stretch of the middle of Illinois.  This morning I stopped for McDonald’s coffee in Pontiac and coming in I held the door open for an older couple who greeted me with smiles and talk about the weather.  And going out, a gentleman entering who greeted me.  Friendly folks in the heartland.

I notice another sign in the shopping center near Sakura Hibachi Sushi.  “Salvation Army family store coming soon!”

In the lot,  in the bright sunshine, is a stout man in white cowboy hat and black vest, wearing blue jeans like the ones I’m wearing.  His grey whiskered face bending over into the trunk of an old sedan. He looks intent finding something.  This is Litchfield.  A Taco Bell sign looms nearby.

Does Sakura Hibachi Sushi make Litchfield urban, or does Litchfield tame global urban food?  Is sushi now food of the heartland?  Can you buy it at Walmart?

US Route 66 runs through Litchfield.  For much of the 20th century Route 66 was the fabled road Americans traveled Chicago to California.  Food, too? 

Sushi has found its way to this Illinois town.

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