The sidewalk on Franklin just north of St. John's grows ever smaller, squeezing pedestrians between the Scylla that is Skywatch (it could be a mythical beast--just squint a little when you look at it) and the Charybdis of construction at Nam's Green Market.
Nam's, which made waves when it went organic about fifteen months ago, is one of the staples of my ongoing love affair with Franklin Avenue. It's open 24 hours. They take credit cards over 10 bucks. They have tons of fresh produce and great deals, such as enormous bunches of basil for two-fifty or four limes for a dollar (I realize I'm painting myself as a hopelessly bourgeois gentrifier here. To invoke the reflexive property, it is what it is). They have all manner of organic items and products, including a new line of tasty prepared meals for $4.99. They've got flowers for your lady. The staff is friendly. Did I mention that they're open twenty-freakin'-four hours a day? These guys are the best.
The one slight issue with Nam's, which simultaneously lends the place charm and renders it almost impossible to navigate, is it's teeny-tiny aisles, and it looks likes more narrow straits are on the way as the outdoor produce section, previously open-air, gets boxed in by metal and glass. When I spoke with the guys there today, they informed me that the motive for the renovation was both increased space (they're extending their outdoor bays on either side of their corner, both north on Franklin and east on St. John's, as visible in the first and third photos above) and reduced shoplifting (the occasional enterprising young'un makes off with a peach or a bouquet, as I learned). In addition, they'll be adding an entrance on the St. John's side of things, which will be accessed through the double doors that sit right on the corner. I have no idea where the register will go, and neither do they, from the sound of it, but as their renovations thus far have been impressive, I'm not doubting them. Besides, some of the friendliest interactions I have on the avenue are the bits and pieces exchanged as I try to slide past someone for a block of tofu.