June 11, 2020

June 11, 2020
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Chubby Noodle in North Beach will open for outdoor dining on Monday June 15th. Photo courtesy of Chubby Noodle.

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The beginnings of a feast at Sam’s Grill. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Starting Friday June 12th, a big change is coming to our local dining landscape: after three months of takeout only/no on-premise dining service, SF restaurants are allowed to reopen for outdoor dining only. It was originally going to be Monday June 15th, but Mayor Breed decided to give us a present for the weekend (while causing yet another scramble for restaurants to figure something out quickly). Further safety guidelines from the Department of Health will be released this week as well, but do know you will need to wear a mask upon arrival to the restaurant, and when you get up from your table or go inside for any reason (bathroom, to order, etc.). The plan for indoor dining in SF is to reopen on July 13th, but that is TBD for now.

And yesterday, the city of San Francisco finally opened up their Shared Spaces application program for temporary permits to seat dining guests on sidewalks, in parking spaces adjacent to the restaurant, and to apply for street closures for seating (that will take more time). It’s going to be interesting to see how our city adapts and changes in coming weeks. Gold Street in front of Bix is going to have outdoor dining (and string lights) starting June 18th, and I have dreams of Rose Street alley behind Zuni being closed to traffic, and Valencia Street, and 24th Street, heck, streets all over the city.

I’m posting updates in my Instagram Stories and Highlights on who is opening for alfresco dining service (including 54 Mint, Maybeck’s, Piperade, Pier 23 Cafe, Zeitgeist, and more—and Montesacro is taking over the upstairs terrace at Dottie’s True Blue Cafe)! Restaurants, feel free to tag @tablehopper in your posts.

Here’s a fun teaser: ~SAM’S GRILL AND SEAFOOD RESTAURANT~ has reopened for takeout, and they’re opening their spacious patio this Friday! Their hours are Wed-Fri 12pm-7pm (with happy hour 5pm-7pm), and not only can you enjoy some shrimp cocktail and a Louie salad, but you can also pick up some fresh fish to go. They’re going back to their fish market roots in 1867, and offering petrale sole, salmon, cioppino, crab cakes, and more to take home. (It will also help support their supplier, A. LaRocca Seafood, who suffered a hit to their business in the recent Pier 45 fire.) Welcome back, Sam’s! 374 Bush St. at Belden.

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The iconic It’s Tops exterior and neon sign. Yelp photo by Fakename D.

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The exterior of Destino. Here’s to its future destiny! Instagram photo via @destinosf.

As many of you know, I’ve been posting in my Instagram stories when restaurants have been reopening or expanding their hours or deliveries, and the flip side of all this are the restaurants that have sadly decided to close permanently.

I was reading a newsletter last night from SF Neon News, which mentioned the iconic neon sign for ~IT’S TOPS COFFEE SHOP~ has been taken down, and the knotty pine diner (since 1935) is permanently closed. Noooo! I tried reaching out to the owners via phone (disconnected), email, and Facebook (no reply); I will update this piece if I hear back. I would hope they would try to sell the business—it was such a slice of true vintage SF charm. Taking down the sign frankly feels wrong and pretty bleak. And then I just looked at these pictures on Hoodline of the booths being taken out, and I just can’t believe what I am seeing. Truly gutting. 1801 Market St. at McCoppin.

More sad news in Hoodline: ~ANGKOR BOREI~, the 30-year-old Cambodian restaurant in Bernal Heights, has decided to close after coronavirus-related challenges, from diminished sales to not receiving a PPP loan. Many locals are saddened with the news—you have until June 15th to get one last spinach leaf appetizer, pumpkin curry, and ahmohk for takeout. Thank you to the sweet owners, Tom Prabpan and Chin Han Yat, for all the heartfelt meals. Wishing them a happy and well-earned retirement. 3471 Mission St. at Cortland.

After 20 years on Market Street, chef-owner (and native San Franciscan) James Schenk is closing his modern-Latin restaurant, ~DESTINO~, but the good news is he plans to move to another location in the neighborhood or nearby (he’s considering where right now). The plan is to open up a primarily to-go business—which is definitely our upcoming future—focused on healthy Latin food (bring on the ceviches and empanadas), and he has held onto his liquor license, so there will be pisco. But the big question is… when. In the meantime, he has found another kitchen for his catering business when that kicks back in, hopefully soon. And when his new location opens up, we all need to show up for the big 20th birthday party that didn’t happen (no thanks to Miss Rona). Keep up with updates from James at @destinosf. 1815 Market St. at Pearl.

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