When a friend sent me the SFGate story that the VILLA D’ESTE in Lakeside Village was closing after 44 years of serving Hollywood levels of glam drama and veal parm, we had to go out and pay our respects to the interior (you can read more about the restaurant’s history here—it originally opened in 1942 as the Townhouse Restaurant). I swear, if someone takes over the place and doesn’t leave this epic time capsule intact, I’m gonna cut somebody. It’s enough to make me want to go into the restaurant business to have my dream Regency restaurant—but no, never. Maybe some employees will take it over and preserve it. Anyone? Best wishes to owner Ramon Oropeza Sr. and his family on his retirement. 2623 Ocean Ave. at Woodacre.
I am sorry to see that one of my Thai favorites, DERM on Geary, has closed. Seems like customers have been confused for the past month, making reservations and then finding a closed restaurant. D’oh. Derm opened in 2017, and I have a tablehopper reader to thank for turning me on to this tasty place. 3226 Geary Blvd. at Spruce.
SF oldtimer CHA CHA CHA in the Mission has closed after 25 years, which has been a dinner party headquarters (fueled by pitchers of sangria) for so many folks over the years. Owner Irfan Yalcin is keeping the Haight Street location open, so you can still get your spicy shrimp and patatas bravas fix. As for the Mission location, the SF Business Times reports new owners are opening Kuba in the space, and will be keeping things mostly the same. 2327 Mission St. at 19th St.
I noticed a cryptic farewell post from Giulietta Carrelli of TROUBLE COFFEE on the gram, and it ends up she is closing the trailblazing Outer Sunset café after 15 years. (But Build Your Own Damn House is forever!) She is credited with starting the toast trend in SF, and you really should read this incredible story about her (and the toast) in Pacific Standard, which ran in 2014.
The owners of DamnFine pizza are going to be opening DAMNFINE COFFEE in the space—Giulietta reportedly reached out to them about taking over the location (they’re longtime customers). This piece in the Chronicle mentions DamnFine Coffee will have the same hours as Trouble (daily 8am-5pm), but the toast will now be focaccia. It looks like you can still order Trouble Coffee for delivery, maybe (I reached out for confirmation but didn’t hear back). Thanks for being such a spark plug in our local coffee scene, Giulietta. [Cue My Way.] 4033 Judah St. at 45th Ave.
After almost 40 years in business (since 1984!), GOURMET CAROUSEL, a neighborhood staple for family-style Chinese food in Lower Pacific Heights, has reportedly closed (no one picks up, and they are not available for delivery or on OpenTable anymore). You have definitely seen the sign for this restaurant at the busy intersection of Franklin and Pine. But, here’s something: according to an ABC license transfer, it looks like someone named Rui Sen Zhou is going to take over and reopen it as Gourmet Carousel, so stand by. 1559 Franklin St. at Pine.
Over in the Lower Haight, FORT POINT BEER announced the closure of their Lower Haight taproom, which originally opened as Black Sands in 2015. Their parklet has been a popular spot in the neighborhood during the pandemic, hopefully the next owner can offer a similar gathering space. Fort Point mentions in their post, “While it’s bittersweet to say goodbye, this means we can devote more time, effort, and resources into our Ferry Building Beer Garden and Valencia Beer Hall (just a mile away) - and we’re excited to make these spaces even better experiences for all of you.” 701 Haight St. at Pierce.
The busy dining room of the Villa D’Este during its final week. Photo: © tablehopper.com.