Thursday 13 December 2007

Oddities Diminish Laurenzo's Utilitarian Intentions

Laurenzo's Italian Center
16385 W.Dixie Hwy.
N.Miami Beach FL USA 3316

Where is it?

This is hard to find, and if in doubt you may have to ask for help.

To get to the bathrooms, you'll first need to head to the deli counter (not the meat counter, fish counter, pasta counter, prepared foods counter, breads counter or cookie counter -- which all look alike to some degree). Once there, look for where there's a separation in the bar that's about three feet across (between the deli meats and the olive bar). Go through that separation and into the storage area behind the deli area. Then take an immediate right (if you go straight, you'll be in the storage rooms and meat lockers) and you'll find the bathrooms facing you.

What's it like?

Laurenzo's is a large Italian Market in North Miami that specializes in authentic Italian ingredients, like in-store cured meats, imported prosciutto and porchetta, rare mushrooms, wines, as well as top-quality meats, fish, cheeses, fresh pastas, breads, cookies, imported canned goods and more. There's also a cafeteria located in the main store which offers delicious, authentic Italian-American foods and a fresh produce stand in the plaza across the street from it.

While the store itself is a gourmand's paradise, the bathrooms here aren't much to look at or experience -- and in many ways they feel like an afterthought, something that was tacked on long after the nearby meat lockers were put in place. (You can hear people working feverishly while in here, it should be noted.)

They are small, crammed and a little dingy. White tile covers the floor and walls. The sink and toilets are of the no-nonsense white porcelain variety. The mirror is nailed bluntly to the wall, without much afterthought or even a frame. A red stall door separates the toilet from the rest of the room. Cleanliness-wise: It's a mix-up. On the whole, it's clean (and I suppose this is expected, considering the utilitarian nature of the place), but there's also some grime settled into the grout, which is quite noticeable against the white tile.

Also worth noting: The soap dispenser has been installed at an angle. Not sure if it was supposed to be this way or not, but it's stuck that way (I tried straightening it and it didn't budge). Furthermore, In addition, a sign offering meticulous step-by-step instructions on how to wash your hands hangs beside the sink. I always thought this process was pretty self-explanatory, but I guess for some people a little extra help is needed.

Marks out of 10:

6. The tight quarters and grime-covered tile mar the score here.

Comments to the Management:

While I doubt nothing can be done about the size of the place, it could still use a serious scrub down -- and maybe consider straightening that soap dispenser.

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