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Arts & Entertainment

Family-owned SF restaurant chain The Grove shutters Design District cafe

A Google Street View of The Grove's Design District location at Townsend and Division in San Francisco.

The Design District location of the Grove, a family-owned neighborhood cafe beloved for its homey interior and reliable comfort food, has permanently closed. An announcement posted outside the restaurant explained that the Grove was not able to recover its pre-pandemic customer base.

“We have fought valiantly to survive and outlast the moment… Alas, time has run out,” the announcement read. The owners of the restaurant could not be reached for comment.

Ken Zankel, a New York native, and his partner Anna, a fourth-generation Californian, have operated several locations of the Grove since 1999. When they met, Ken owned Zinzino in the Marina. He hired Anna’s North Beach design firm, and four years later, they collaborated on the first iteration of the Grove, a small coffee shop near Zinzino. The Grove - Design District opened in 2017.

During the pandemic, the Zankels concentrated their Design District location on outdoor dining, attempting to leverage a 2,000-square-foot heated patio that could accommodate more than 100 diners.

The closure of the Grove in the Design District comes amid news that Downtown San Francisco’s post-pandemic recovery is trailing all other major cities in North America.

On the closing announcement that was posted outside the restaurant, one customer hand-wrote a message lamenting the closure and called the Grove “a neighborhood institution.” 

The Grove at Yerba Buena will remain open.