Nothing like starting the week (and Lunar New Year) with the horrible news (via KRON) that longtime, family-run SAI’S VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT in the Financial District was being pushed out by their landlord, SHVO, after 37 years in the location, with just 30 days of notice. Vile!
You can read more details in this follow-up piece in SFGATE: owner Inmy Chi says, “They emailed us on Jan. 5 and asked if we wanted to renew the lease. We emailed them back on Jan. 20, but we didn’t hear from them. We called and called and on Jan. 25, they answered and said they wanted us to leave. I still have to process this. I think it unethical.”
So much for giving them time to find another location and keep their staff employed (why not give Sai’s a month-to-month lease while trying to relocate?), after suffering through two abysmal years of the pandemic in a ghost town part of the city. Sai’s has been a favorite of many a downtown worker since 1985, and they deserve much better treatment and respect than this, from a developer who is probably going to leave the space vacant for months before trying to push through their plans for the location (SFGATE mentioned: “developer Michael Shvo bought the Transamerica Pyramid for $650 million, which is just around the corner from Sai’s”). Based on this Instagram post, Shvo owns the entire block. Come on, Gordon Gekko—why not let the business exit in a way that doesn’t destroy the livelihoods of everyone working there?
Was happy to see supervisor Aaron Peskin’s tweet: “Truly awful. Thanks to @sfgate reporting + elevating the plight of Inmy Chi. I’ve now been able to connect with Inmy as a result of @SusyGuerrero3 help, and my team and I are working on resources to help where we can. First up: nominating Sai’s to the Legacy Business registry!”
In the meantime, the family launched a GoFundMe to help raise funds to support their staff and move, hopefully to another location in the neighborhood. Will keep you posted on what’s next. For now, Sai’s has to vacate by February 28th. I really hope this date gets pushed. 505 Washington St. at Sansome.
GREAT NEWS/UPDATE 2-2-22: After Supervisor Peskin got involved, the landlord (SHVO) is now going to assist Sai’s with their relocation, and allow them to stay open and operate in their current location for now. Even better: according to a tweet from Peskin, they get to stay rent-free until it’s time to vacate the space (for demolition)! Big sigh of relief all around.
Was sorry to read on Instagram that the couple behind SHLAP MUAN, the awesome Cambodian fried chicken wing joint in the Crocker Galleria, are closing the restaurant on February 25th. It ends up they have a baby coming, awwww, that’s great news, so they’re going to be moving to Southern California. Stock up on one last wing order, their hot sauce, and Cambodian Dirt pepper (which was in the recent hopper holiday gift bag!) before they leave! Best wishes to their new family. 50 Post St. 65A at Kearny.
The longtime Sai’s Vietnamese Restaurant in FiDi (since 1985). Yelp photo by Michael M.