With its delicate French decor, sunbathed windows and hot crêpes fresh off the griddle, Le Marais Bakery is well worthy of the Parisian neighborhood for which it’s named. The San Francisco patisserie and cafe, located between the Castro and the Mission at 18th and Sanchez streets, would be the ideal setting for a meet-cute or an Instagram story—if it weren’t for the shattered, boarded-up door out front.
Patrick Ascaso, the owner of Le Marais Bakery and La Grande Crêperie, recently posted a letter outside his business explaining why he hasn’t fixed the eyesore—the remnants of a burglary in December—and expressing his frustration that he has yet to receive support from the city to do so.
In the letter, Ascaso wrote that the door to his Sanchez Street location was smashed last Christmas and explained his decision to not have the door repaired.
Ascaso wrote that he has applied for the city’s Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant program seven times and received one response that his application was incomplete due to a lack of proof of damage.
He refuted that claim, noting that he submitted proof of damage following the incident, and that the burglary was covered by numerous news outlets. The Standard reported the vandalism following the December robbery, which, according to manager Stéphanie Faurax, resulted in thousands of dollars in damages.
The vandalism relief program’s website details a process for receiving up to $2,000 for broken windows and doors, graffiti and other forms of vandalism. The program’s office did not respond to requests for comment by publication time.
The Standard observed that the glass door, which is boarded up with plywood, has a large crack across it and is missing a piece of glass.
At the time of the burglary, Faurax told The Standard that it had left her with serious safety concerns about conducting business in San Francisco.
In Ascaso’s letter, he claimed that he has spent $27,000 repairing windows at his San Francisco cafes since the beginning of the pandemic. He added that replacing the 18th Street door was estimated at over $8,000. Ascaso also operates locations in the Ferry Building, Lower Nob Hill and Mill Valley.
“I am not a spokesperson for what is wrong with this city I love and my family calls home,” Ascaso wrote. “But that said, we pay some of the highest small business taxes and fees in the nation. Our elected officials promote this grant as a solution for local small businesses. We deserve some response and assistance from them.”
Ascaso concluded the letter by noting that the door will remain broken until his business receives support from the city.