At the beginning of the year, there’s always a slew of restaurant closures, many of them downright unfortunate. Here we go.
A reader let me know that THE BUTLER & THE CHEF BISTRO officially closed over the New Year, and owner Joël Martin has served his last pain perdu and eggs Benedict in that beloved location with the sunny yellow exterior. Many of his loyal guests and friends who did not get a chance to say goodbye will be happy to know there is a “New Year’s barbecue and potluck” this Saturday January 13th from 1pm-5pm at the bistro for “staff, family, customers, and vendors all welcome to join us to close a chapter of life with sharing food, drinks, stories, and hugs together.” Awwwww. And so, another longtime South Park business has shuttered. 155A S. Park St. at 3rd St., 415-896-2075.
Nearby, another café I remember from the days when I worked in SoMa, PRIMO PATIO CAFÉ, has closed after 25 years. Hoodline reports owner Noel Kelton struggled with the rent, but didn’t want to raise prices further, so she decided to close. It’s sad news for the tight crew they had working there and all their regulars. Best wishes to all. 214 Townsend St. at 3rd St.
And another quirky SF classic has closed: THE RED DOOR CAFE. Some folks loved the chef-owner’s over-the-top antics, including sexual innuendo on everything from the menu to the dickorations to how he flirtatiously served you your brunch. Others never made it in because they broke the rules, like no wearing sunglasses while in line because it’s shady. Literally. I have been tracking the location for a couple of months since an ABC license transfer was under way, but could never get anyone to pick up the phone on the weekends to confirm the impending closure. Eater noted it appeared to be finally closed over the holiday—and so another part of freaky SF is gone.
A business called 1608 Bistro appears to be moving in (from the owner of the Filipino AJ’s BBQ & Cafe), but I haven’t been able to get a response from them, so we’ll just have to see. 1608 Bush St. at Franklin.
And yet another classic only-in-SF spot is closing: WICKED GROUNDS, the kink/fetish/BDSM café, boutique, and community space in SoMa is having a tough time with their business and has decided to close. Those who want to help can read more on their site. Hoodline mentioned they are having a clearance sale, in case you want to get some new gear or books. 289 8th St. at Clementina.
Also in SoMa, I received a tip from a longtime reader that BIG CHEF TOM’S BELLY BURGERS closed over the New Year, and it looks like owner Tom Pizzica has headed back to Philly. Thanks for all the pork belly burgers over the years, Tom! 1550 Howard St. at 12th St.
Also closed: SHIDO SUSHI BAR AND GRILL, the casual Japanese place that opened in the former Buck Tavern a couple of years ago, has served its last rock ‘n’ roll. 1655 Market St. at Brady.
It’s rough out there, right?
The New Fillmore announced that Monetta White and David Lawrence of the former 1300 on FIllmore and BLACK BARK BBQ are going to be relocating their barbecue joint—they did not reopen after the holiday. They cite the lack of foot traffic (due to the beleaguered Fillmore Heritage Center) as a primary impetus for them to move. It sounds like they have a location lined up and plan to reopen in the spring, so stand by for some confirmation on the where. 1325 Fillmore St. at Ellis.
SFWeekly reports FRJTZ will be closing and serving their last fries on Sunday January 28th. But the 13-year-old spot is “currently in negotiations with a smaller venue in the Mission District that will require a complete build-out so stay tuned.” 590 Valencia St. at 17th St.
Now this isn’t a permanent closure, but Eater writes the MINA TEST KITCHEN has closed for now since they don’t have a restaurant lined up just yet for their incubator, and besides, chef Adam Sobel is busy with Cal Mare in LA, plus other big openings in the Mina Group. Stand by for what’s coming next in the space in about four months or so (btw, it’s a great private event space).
And we knew this was coming but it still sucks: Temescal’s ~JUHU BEACH CLUB~ has closed (via East Bay Express). Owners Preeti Mistry and Ann Nadeau sold the location and are focusing on their other restaurant, Navi Kitchen, and their recent cookbook launch. We’ll have to see what’s going into the space and what’s next for Juhu (it was reportedly coming back in some other form).
Whoosh, that was a lot. Sorry, everyone, it’s tough out there. Thank you for all your efforts to feed us!
The sunny yellow exterior of The Butler & the Chef. Yelp photo: Andrew D.