When I worked in Oakland in the 80s, the Nick and Gus diner was the best and cheapest place to grab eggs and toast or a cheeseburger with fries. The Greek family run diner had been a fixture in downtown Oakland since 1909 and featured a line cook who remembered every patron's name. In a time when most businesses were fleeing Oakland for the the suburbs, the Nick and Gus diner held steady, dishing out the fries and sandwiches with Hellenic flair and tenacity. The city of Oakland showed its appreciation towards this small, old time business in a very predictable way: the city wanted the restaurant out.
Nick and Gus fell victim to a grandiose re-development plan. The restaurant was to be evicted, the building demolished, and a new hotel built, across the street from a new underused hotel. Even the Oakland Tourist Board could find only one reason for a tourist to stay in downtown Oakland: there was a BART station to San Francisco.
So, the "Save Nick and Gus" movement was born. Their argument was that Oakland had plenty of re-development projects that only resulted in a hole in the ground for 20 years, but "Nick and Gus" was a one of a kind diner (at least in Oakland, this line of reasoning would've been a tough sell in Chicago). I proudly sported a "Save Nick and Gus" bumper sticker on the side of my computer terminal, and we signed endless petitions at work to save this old Oakland landmark.
So what eventually happened? Nick and Gus were forced out (they moved to the suburbs) and their restaurant, formally known as the "Nick and Gus Hole in the Wall Diner" became a hole in the ground re-development project. The latest plan now involves the construction of a University of California office building.