Summer is unofficially here, come this weekend. Another year is flying by, thankfully this one has some great upbeat moments, and the future is looking bright.

As I wander around town I’m seeing more and more businesses starting up. For sure there are still many vacant storefronts, but the wheels of our economy are groaning as they begin to turn again.

The coming rush of tourists will surely help out our local economy and that is welcome news for the many small companies that service the tourist trade. I don’t rely on tourism directly, but there is a trickle down effect, or rather a flow of life, which keeps my dog in kibble.

My family law clients range from small retailers, to restaurant owners, to any of the many business people around town. If they’re not making money, then they cannot afford me, and that’s when the dog goes hungry.

But last week when I was walking down by Big Dean’s I was hit up for information three times in about four minutes for directions and advice on where to go for some good food. I collected two Germans, a Brit, and a fellow American. Paying attention to who is visiting is one way to track what’s going on in the world.

Tourists seem to come in waves, in response to their economies, and by watching who is visiting us we can see how parts of the rest of the world are doing. For example, Germany must be doing well, since I’ve met many guests from there in the past few months. I can tell you that 25 years ago, Tobias was a popular name choice in Germany, as I’ve made two new friends from Germany named Tobias, who were both 26.

I seem to be asked for information often, and I don’t know if it is my appearance, or my dog, that attracts the attention. I’m going to believe it is the dog, as he gathers much love, from little kids to seniors. He’s a favorite on the boardwalk and while he’s busy looking for fallen bits of French fries and churros, I’m being asked if the kids can pet him.

I like to share the city we live in and I’m a big supporter of the small merchant, so I make it a point to refer people to the unique restaurants and non-corporately owned shops and eateries in town. As we all gear up for the summer festivities let’s remember that there are many small, fine places to enjoy snacks and dinners and by supporting the small companies we are in fact supporting ourselves.

The principle of money in circulation is what allows all of us to prosper. I would urge everyone as they go about their day to just think about where they are spending their dollars and sending guests and tourists this summer. We have a choice to send people to a neighborhood spot that is locally owned, or to a corporate megalith, and by helping out our fellow business people, we are building a better city.

We have loads of great restaurants, and depending on what cuisine is being sought we can accommodate the desire; for a great pizza go to Bruno’s and ask for America, she’ll take care of you.

Across the street is local watering hole Chez Jay’s, known for its martinis and steaks. Different Italian style is Fritto Misto, with its mix and match pasta menu. On the far side of town is Lares for awesome steaks with a Latino flair.

Poom Thai on Lincoln Boulevard is a fun place where you can write on the walls and meet Poom, who’s grown up in the restaurant. Try the green curry there, it’s my favorite.

For coffee and snacks, Flying Saucers Cafe is a new coffee shop on Pico Boulevard and Third Street. They have rotating art exhibits and lots of sweet treats. Its owners are lovely young men who are quick with a smile and making a go of it against the giants like Starbucks.

The Montana Avenue stores and restaurants need our support, and we can send tourists and guests there for drinks at Father’s Office, or dinner at Babalu.

For a romantic evening we’ve got Vito in Sunset Park, a lovely neighborhood spot that’s kind of like going to your Italian Aunt Lil’s for dinner.

I could go on, but my point is that we have many great local spots to send our out-of-town guests to, and to visit ourselves. Try some place new, remember that the local economy depends on all of our efforts to keep it going and the more we spread the wealth by venturing out and remembering to share the local favorites, the more we help ourselves.

David Pisarra is a family law attorney focusing on father’s rights and men’s Issues in the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He can be reached at or (310) 664-9969.

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