January 28, 2017
By Laura Wenus : missionlocal – excerpt
Activists who have long tried to fight gentrification by opposing market-rate development and upscale businesses are now targeting new restaurants on Mission Street.
The latest focus is a tea restaurant planned for the site of the former Sapphire Photo store at 2761 Mission St. between 23rd and 24th streets.
A frequent opponent of new developments in the Mission has filed a request with the city to delay its conversion – one of nine similar applications for conversion to restaurant use along the Mission Street corridor.
“All parties should be aware at this point that the Mission community does not wish to see any more restaurant conversions on Mission Street,” wrote Rick Hall, an activist, in the discretionary review application he filed January 5…
It’s not that he believes that all restaurants contribute to gentrification – though the organizers do worry about over-saturation of restaurants on business corridors.
Hall said in an interview that he and other activists from a group of organizations called “United to Save the Mission” have dropped their opposition to some restaurants after meeting with the owner and determining that they will not be forces of gentrification. Usually, that determination depends on how expensive the menu will be, he said… (more)
As you can see by earlier posts, the restaurant business is fraught with problems regardless of the price level. Avoiding over-saturation of eating establishments could be an important component in maintaining a healthy environment for established places, while keeping the competition from wasting time and money on a losing proposition. Maintaining a balance could be the best way to protect all concerned.
January 25, 2017
By Annie Sciacca : eastbaytimes – excerpt (includes video)
While new restaurants have further solidified the Bay Area as a foodie destination in recent years, many others have succumbed to a perfect storm of economic challenges that shows no sign of abating.
Upward of 60 restaurants around the Bay Area have closed since the start of September alone, with many citing difficulties like the cost of finding and keeping good employees, rising rents, new requirements for providing health care and sick leave, and doing it all while competing with the slew of new dining options.
The restaurant industry has always been among the most competitive and challenging to navigate, and failures are nothing new, but the current struggles have left some wondering if the traditional dining model might be headed for an overhaul.
“We’re at this precipice where the model of the full-service restaurant is being pushed to the brink,” said Gwyneth Borden, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association… (more)
This article pretty well sums it up. The new economic model does not support a robust food culture in America or many other artistic or creative endeavors. The constant disruptions of construction and noise are sucking up all the air and money anyway. Watch for the return of speakeasies and other underground forms of entertainment. If you can’t cook it is almost cheaper to have a personal chef come to you and cook your mean than eating out these days.
Can Prop X and Calle 24 save the arts and culture in San Francisco? The voters clearly want to preserve the culture, but the money behind the destruction is overwhelming efforts. There is a major shift in artistic expression as logos and product hype is popping up everywhere.
If the “entertainment” at the Warriors ground-breaking ceremony are any indication of where public taste is headed we don’t need to defund arts and education grants programs to change the aesthetics of our society. We have already done that. Whether or not Melania really plans to sell her jewelry out of the White House, art in America has lost its heart.
January 4, 2017
By Justin Phillips : sfgate – excerpt
2017 has started with another San Francisco mainstay saying goodbye. Restaurant Lulu on Folsom Street has shut down operations after 24 years.
Lulu special events manager Darla Parks told Scoop that the restaurant’s ownership made the decision to close on New Year’s Day, effective immediately. And it came without any type of warning, she said.
“It’s just a sad day,” Parks said.
Hoodline first posted the news after a tipster shared an image of a sign outside the restaurant that thanked customers “for 24 wonderful years.”
Lulu’s might be the most notable early year closure in Bay Area dining. The news just continues a common theme from 2016: older institutions are struggling survive.
When LuLu opened in 1993, the restaurant pioneered family style dining, along with many other trends, from the signature iron-skillet roasted mussels to communal seating to the South of Market location. In 1993, Examiner critic Jim Wood described the ground-breaking nature of the restaurant: “But it’s the food that’s a shock: a new, original style. There’s nothing like it in San Francisco. ”
“When it opened, the location at Folsom and Fourth streets seemed like a detriment, but the concept was so exciting,” wrote Chronicle critic Michael Bauer in a 2014 review. “I can’t think of another restaurant that better created and foreshadowed the trends we see now.”… (more)
Being on the edge of the construction zone on 4th Street can’t be that much fun.
December 29, 2016
By Justin Phillips : sfchronicle – excerpt
Lori’s Diner, the popular San Francisco spot known for cheap food and vintage decor, is closing its original location at 336 Mason St., where it opened three decades ago. Its ’60s-era aesthetics of vintage cars, pinball machines and bright red booths, along with American diner fare, made the place a San Francisco staple. Its last day will be Monday…
November 28, 2016
By John King : sfchronicle – excerpt
High above the entrance to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in Guerneville, off a twisting road and through a gate that’s usually locked, stand Pond Farm’s two old houses and a stark wooden barn.
Between the barn and one decrepit house, long empty, there’s also a moss-blotted boulder topped by a formal bronze plaque: a memorial that reads in part “Marguerite Wildenhain … Artist, potter, friend.”
The plaque hints at a slice of Northern California cultural history, in which a short-lived artist colony left behind a determined ceramicist who shaped a legacy of her own in the decades that followed.
It’s the sort of place that until recently would have been torn down, consigned to memories. Instead, it’s a freshly preserved marker of how our region has and hasn’t changed — and how preservation itself is being redefined…(more)
Pond Farm – Saving Historic Places