GRASSHOPPER FOR GRANDPA (SHORT DOCUMENTARY 2015, USA. 28 min) is the story of Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens, a celebrated restaurant and bar in Santa Barbara, CA for more than 60 years before closing its doors in 2006 with the retirement of owner Tommy Chung. Opened in 1947 by Tommy’s father, James Yee Chung, it’s now the last visible remnant of Santa Barbara’s Chinatown. During the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century, the area in and around the Santa Barbara Presidio District on Canon Perdido St. was considered Chinatown.
The film is a portrait about Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens and explores why the place was so special to so many people. Also, why the special few who made Jimmy’s possible, like owner Tommy Chung and 30-year bartender Willy Gilbert, had that effect on so many patrons and passersby. In September of 2013, the bar reopened after being beautifully restored to its 1947 form by longtime happy hour regular and patron, Bob Lovejoy, and his son, Clay.