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I have a deep appreciation for clean public restrooms.

When you have IBS, you become intimately familiar with all of the restrooms within a 50-mile radius of your home.  You lose all squeamishness about filthy gas station restrooms, or dropping trou on the side of the road. ;)  You also get to know all the grocery store restrooms, since it’s rare that you can make it an entire shopping trip without a pit stop.

I used to make a point of stopping in the AJ’s bathroom on Ray & 56th St, because it was always so immaculate. I don’t know what I liked admiring more — their beautifully arranged produce section, or their shiny bathroom.

Luckily, I’m no longer in “flare-up” mode, so it’s rare that I have to make a mad dash to the nearest commode, but I do still have emergency stops every now and then, usually on road trips. Tony has learned that when I say I have to go NOW, I mean, “Pull this car over right this second at the very next gas station or you’re not going to like the results.” He’s tested me on this. Not smart. Just ask my sister about the time I turned ash white in the middle of a Ross and squeezed her hand in the ultimate death grip. There I was, within sight of the ladies’ restroom, about 20 feet away.  Yet, I couldn’t move. I just tensed every last muscle in my body, hoping for the wave to pass. And somehow, I thought that if I squeezed her hand HARDER I could counteract the wave. Or something. I don’t know, but somehow it worked, and I was able to shuffle to the bathroom without further incident. Verrrry close call.

So, it surprises me that I’ve never heard of America’s Best Restroom Award until now.

As it turns out, Gilbert’s very own Joe’s Farm Grill, was nominated as one of the top ten finalists this year. It apparently has this retro-futuristic design, to reflect the owner’s fascination of the future when he was young. I can honestly say I’ve never seen GI Joe or Barbie dolls encased in any restroom I’ve ever been to.  And it does look very clean (almost sterile).  I must make a point of stopping in to see it, next time I venture over there.

The 2010 Best Restroom award ended up going to The Fountain on Locust in St. Louis, Missouri.

But way to go, Joe’s Farm Grill, for getting AZ on the map!

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