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Let’s look at the facts: The emperor Augustus found Rome a city of brick and left it a city of marble.

Ryan Brinkerhoff City Set printSimilarly, I can say that found Randy’s Diner a cheap greasy spoon with threadbare gingham tablecloths and tomato sauce dispensers shaped liked huge tomatoes.

I made it a gleaming Carlo’s Panini Pavilion franchise featuring Carlotta’s Gelato Annex. Some local residents bemoaned the bulldozing of Randy’s, calling Carlo’s “the Starbucks of Italian-style toasted sandwiches.” Apparently they thought that paying fifteen bucks for a Tuscan Turkey Melt with romaine lettuce, sun-dried tomato, honey mustard and your choice of three cheese toppings on ciabatta was an insanely outrageous expense. Well, an old-fashioned, four buck club sandwich from Randy’s might fill people’s stomachs, but could it fill a full-color center-spread in Happenin’ Around Town with a starred review and arty lomo photographs? No, because a trendy magazine like Happenin’ Around Town wouldn’t bother going to a dreary dump like Randy’s in the first place.