Back in 1994, if you wanted to get a pizza, you had to go to Peppino in the Shangri-La. Pizza Hut and Papa John’s only came years later. Before the chain guys came to town, many little places tried to introduce pizza to the tea drinkers. Many came and many failed. One of the first was Harrer. They still have an ice cream shop on Nanshan road, but their original shop was right on the lake. It even opened before Hupan Teahouse, if memory serves correct. That was a long time ago considering all of the changes that have taken place in what used to be our quaint little city full of narrow roads and the occasional traffic light. We went to Harrer on the first night they served pizza in the autumn of ’94, and they did a respectable job. We ate like pigs. But the lake is to be viewed over a cup of tea. Harrer was a little ahead of its time, and it closed a few years later.
Shihan Villa has been hugging the northeast side of the lake for a good 80 years or so (way before our time). It’s gone through a number of changes since its Harrer days, none of which ever became a place of interest. Even green tea drinkers have never seemed to enjoy the place. Maybe the rent was too high, maybe the feng shui was not right. Each and every time we walked by, we wondered if the house would ever become something. This review might be more of a history lesson than anything, but who needs to know what’s inside a Starbucks? This little house on the lake is now trying its hand at coffee, and we do have to say that the Seattle giant has made the place comfy. Now the lakeside has four of these babies. Coffee is giving the tea a run. There is a new KFC on Tiyuchang road, and Wensan road has another McDonalds. Oh, and lest we forget the first McDonalds drive thru that just opened up on Dongxin Avenue in Binjiang. The chains are multiplying and the roads expanding. What has happened to our little town with narrow lanes?