Closures: Woodward's Garden, Baker & Banker, Empress of China, Drake's Bay Battle Ends

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Exterior photo by Craig Lee.

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The magical view from the Empress of China (never mind what else may be happening in the bar…). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Last week, I was sorry to learn that ~WOODWARD’S GARDEN~ has closed its sweet doors for good, after more than 20 years of soulful cooking for us. In our previous piece announcing the closure, we mentioned chefs and co-owners Margie Conard and Dana Tommasino will be doing some pop-ups, salons, and more while they search for a new location. We’ll keep you posted. Enjoy the break, ladies, and thank you for all the memories and great dates there!

Lori Baker and Jeff Banker have decided to close their five-year-old restaurant, ~BAKER & BANKER~, reports Scoop. The Pacific Heights restaurant will close on Sunday October 19th. The couple cites multiple reasons for the closure, including a desire to spend more time with their two young children and the challenges of finding enough staff. They’ll be back though: after some time off and a chance to ponder their next move, they hope to be back on the food scene, though it is not clear yet in what capacity. As for what will move into the space, negotiations are under way with a new tenant but no word on who that might be.

Chinatown icon ~EMPRESS OF CHINA~ is closing at the end of this year, according to a report from SF Gate. The five-story behemoth, which opened in 1966 and is most famous for hosting weddings, is being sold, perhaps to make room for office space. Damn, one of my favorite “secret” places for a cocktail with a stunning view is leaving us. 838 Grant St. at Clay, 415-434-1345.

This is a sad story. After an ongoing battle with the National Park Service, it appears that Drakes Bay Oyster Company has reached a settlement and will cease operations at the end of this year. The federal government will then be responsible for removing all on- and offshore equipment from the site. Though the farm is no more, the owners plan to open Drakes Oyster House restaurant in the Tomales Bay Resort in Inverness.