In early August the last traces of Naser Derneika’s Gyro Palace at the Colonnade were being cleared away to make room for Ali Hijazi’s latest Zamaan Cafe. (Hijazi has closed a location on Packard, but still has his place on Plymouth, so the count stands at two.) Mike Ervin, from the Oreck vacuum store a few doors down, had brought over an Orbiter, a whirling, multiple-attachment floor machine. Carpenter Paul Gerard watched as it scrubbed and buffed the grimy grout and tile to shiny newness. (The demonstration of the miraculous Orbiter then moved over to the Oreck storefront, where Ervin whipped out a fat red indelible marker to make a carpet stain that would make any homeowner blanch, and quickly eradicated it with a series of other Orbiter attachments and special products.)
Gerard, who has known both Derneika and Hijazi for years, didn’t know why Gyro Palace closed in June. He scrolled his phone looking for Derneika’s phone number to ask him and seemed relieved when he couldn’t find it. Working for Hijazi on this job he’s looking forward, not back, but he says that with so many restaurants, the Colonnade has a parking shortage at mealtimes. “You know what I’d do? I’d blow out this vacant space next door and build a drive-through window.” Ervin, looking up from his Orbiter, noted that Gyro Palace had been gradually cutting its hours for a long time.