Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hook & Ladder Serving the West Side for 40 Years - Congratulations Van Turner!

Van Turner with his son Devin.  Two Generations keeping
this great Gem alive on the West Side of Salt Lake City
 Today, while out running some errands with Cathy, we decided to stop in at the Hook & Ladder and get some Fish & Chips and visit my good friend Van Turner.  I had the pleasure and honor of serving next to him on the City Council for 12 years.  In his usual friendly way, Van informed me that 40 years ago today, they opened the Hook & Ladder for business.  Located at 1313 West California Avenue, "The Hook" as it is known by his friends, serves the west side residents and employees of nearby businesses six days a week and is filled with nostalgic memorabilia depicting some of the history of firefighting in Salt Lake City.  Van frequently has one of his fire trucks parked in the parking lot, and it continues to be a mainstay of the Glendale neighborhood.

The Hook & Ladder was rated in the top 10 burger places for Utah by the Salt Lake Tribune and you can pick up one of the yummiest combo meals at a very reasonable price.  My favorite was always the double bacon cheese burger, but with my recent weight loss efforts, I've had to choose other options!  Having said that, I still indulge on occasion.  As it transitions to a second generation, Van has involved his sons and you can frequently see them working side by side.

You can't beat the Hook's specials!
 The Hook will be the host of this Tuesday's Night Out Against Crime for that neighborhood.  Van has faithfully supported the neighborhood in hosting the event and makes sure everyone feels involved and fed!  I'm always amazed at the many acts of genuine kindness showed by Van.  I always tried to get Van to take more credit like a good politician, but he always wanted to do what was right for his neighborhood and frequently the credit went elsewhere.   The real Van is what you see!
Firehouse Floral is a also one of Van's
investments in the community and a great
service to many.
In a period of time when many small businesses have not succeeded or migrated to more heavily visited commercial areas, Van has held on and kept this vital core alive for the Glendale Community.  In addition to his restaurant and his floral shop, he also rents out the corner parcel to beauty salon operators and as he will point out, that's the location where he grew up working side by side with his father, who ran a grocery store on the location.

I've never seen Van hold a grudge and he turns the other cheek much easier than I could ever do.  A political opponent one day to him, is a friend the next day after the election.  I was always frustrated that the Salt Lake Tribune would frequently not endorse him, yet he still won, without spending the money that many of us have spent, proving them and us wrong.  I often smile when I'm browsing the Tribune on my iPad and it sends a message asking us to use their app.  On that advertisement is a picture of Van next to his business, one of the few times I felt they gave him the respect he deserved.  While probably not following you on Facebook or Twitter, Van with his wife, Wendy is busy being a true friend to all.  You just have to attend one of their children's wedding receptions to know of the diversity and commitment of their friends are as far as you can see.  And in a way that only Van could do, he serves his church helping those who are spending time in a halfway house, encouraging them in their desire to change their life.

I'll never match the qualities of Van Turner, but it's a huge honor to call him friend!

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