Best Repurposing of a Crap Mall (2006)

Olla Podrida Turns Into Hebrew School, Seriously

Olla Podrida closed down exactly 10 years ago this summer, and if you're not from around these parts, let us explain how much of a heartbreaker that was for some of us natives. See, it was an oddball mall at Coit Road and LBJ Freeway built, from what we hear, out of abandoned airplane hangars. Best we can recall, the inside was wood, wood and more wood; our hazy memories recall the place looking like a pirate ship. And it wasn't your average mall, but one filled with artsy-craftsy kiosks--glass-blowers, landscape artists, people who made things with rope, candy-makers--in other words, everyone who sooner or later wound up at the West End Marketplace till it shuttered earlier this year. Well, Olla Podrida is now the home of Akiba Academy and Yavneh Academy--schools for the Chosen People, as opposed to, oh, the Da Vinci Academy, which is a school for the Accepted People, and there's a big difference. The Hebrew learnin' facilities purchased the mall three years ago, tore the place down and built in its place some fancy new kosher digs. Oh, but Olla Podrida lives: There's a band from Austin with the same name (more or less--it drops one "l") featuring David Wingo, who writes the music for the movies of David Gordon Green, who's from Dallas. And the circle is complete.