Closures Include Cockscomb, Alfred's, Nick's on Mission; Fire at The Argentum Project

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A look into Cockscomb, with the communal table to the left and wood-burning oven in the open kitchen. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Calm in the Alfred’s dining room (just before we took it over for our Blue Fox dinner!). Photo: Blair Heagerty Photography.

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The swanky bar at Selby’s (with green mohair underneath). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Ugh, writing about these closures is just the worst. I’m keeping these brief, we all know why everything is closing. How can restaurants be expected to survive this impossible business climate without federal assistance? The Senate has gone home and failed to pass the $120B restaurant revitalization fund. It’s infuriating.

Last week, chef and co-owner Chris Cosentino took to Instagram to announce the closure of ~COCKSCOMB~ in SoMa, after opening six years ago (and suffering through that endless Central Subway construction mess on Fourth Street). They tried to survive with takeout pizza, meal kits, and provisions, while cooking for World Central Kitchen, Frontline Foods, and other aid organizations. But, Miss Rona racks up a huge bill everywhere she goes, making it impossible to keep things going. As winter approaches, things will only get worse.

After Al Petri came out of retirement and took ~ALFRED’S STEAKHOUSE~ back over from Daniel Patterson at the end of 2018, SF’s oldest steakhouse (92 years!) has closed yet again, this time permanently. As tablehopper readers well-know, it was once the location of the famed Blue Fox, and I held a fabulous vintage homage dinner event a few years ago! Funnily enough, all the pics in the SFGate story are from my event. I really hope this red-walled vintage palace reopens once again… 659 Merchant St. at Kearny.

In North Beach, chef-owner Joe Lin of ~PESCE E RISO~ has made the hard decision to close his restaurant—he opened this charming spot in the summer of 2017 with his wife, Sherry. Best wishes to them both. You can read his thoughtful farewell note here. According to ABC license activity, it looks like a sushi place is opening in its place, Sancha Sushi, from a sushi chef from Elephant Sushi (Enerel Erdenebat). 1224 Grant Ave. at Columbus.

Over in the Filipino cultural district in SoMa, I was sorry to hear chef and co-owner Reina Montenegro had to close ~NICK’S ON MISSION~, SF’s first and only fully vegan Filipino restaurant (Nick’s on Grand in South San Francisco has also closed). But she is now launching a new and rebranded, delivery-focused business out of a ghost kitchen, Chef Reina, where folks in the Peninsula/Daly City will be able to order vegan Filipino dishes, meal kits, and her vegan meats for delivery and pickup Wed-Sat 5pm-8pm.

This is a temporary closure, but I was terribly sorry to see that ~THE ARGENTUM PROJECT~ in SoMa suffered significant damage from a fire on October 17th. This Greek café, bakery, and market is such a special business—owners Catherine and Dimitrios Kalessis put so much heart into it. It’s looking like they will be closed through the busy holidays, so a friend launched a GoFundMe to help them get through this challenging time until they can reopen. Best wishes to them, here’s hoping they can reopen as soon as possible. 47 6th St. at Market.

Another unfortunate temporary closure is the glam ~SELBY’S~ in Atherton, who has decided to pause their takeout and delivery model until spring 2021 since they can’t offer outdoor seating and indoor seating would be extremely limited. (But they are offering a special Thanksgiving feast to go.) In the meantime, Selby’s team members will be supporting sister restaurants The Village Pub in Woodside, and Spruce in San Francisco.