There’s some good news to report at CAFE FLORE in the Castro, a landmark location that has been hosting guests on its garden patio since 1973. I was happy to hear that owner JD Petras has brought on Stu Gerry and Brett Klinker as managing partners, along with silent partner Pat McKune. Anyone who has ever met Stu during his 16 years at Bix will understand why his involvement is great news—there’s a reason he was one of my favorite servers in the city: he really takes care of his guests. While I was sad to lose Stu from the floor at Bix to the world of real estate not too long ago, I’m glad his touch will be felt at Cafe Flore. (Klinker and McKune hail from the Hi Dive, so now we have some experienced industry folks involved.)
The plan is to restore and rejuvenate the space gradually through small changes, like they are now offering beer on tap instead of just in bottles, and you’ll discover there’s new table service instead of having to wait in line to order a refill of your mimosa at the counter. The liquor and cocktail program is getting an update, the menu (by Shellie Kitchen) is getting tweaked (the Caesar salad is back), and look for things to get cleaned up, adjusted, and refreshed in coming weeks.
Stu and the gang know and respect how iconic the venue is, and are “looking to the past to inform their future changes.” Example: the cafe’s original architect, Alfred Finnila, was the chief iron worker for the Golden Gate Bridge, and designed the Bridge Roundhouse (now the visitor and gift center)—well, guess what Flore’s redesigned DJ booth is going to look like? Yup. What will be projected on the walls? How about Whatever Happened to Susan Jane? a cult film that was filmed at Cafe Flore?! Look for changes like this and more in coming months, which means the location’s 24-hour entertainment license and the fact it’s the only place in the city where you can drink alcohol on the sidewalk are going to be fully realized and appreciated (and many of Flore’s weekly events, like Sunday trivia night, will continue). I look forward to having a reason to come back to Flore’s pretty (and heated) patio and seeing some much-needed TLC in effect. 2298 Market St. at Noe, 415-621-8579.
The sidewalk seating at Cafe Flore. Photo from Yelp.