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Downtown San Francisco: Korean taco shop closing, blames ‘perfect storm’

Owner David Lee announced he will close his Mexican-Korean fusion restaurant Tacorea on Nob Hill in San Francisco on June 30. | Lea Suzuki/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Nob Hill Korean-Mexican fusion restaurant Tacorea will shut its doors on June 30, owner David Lee told The Standard.

Lee blamed his restaurant’s demise on low tourism rates and offices that the work-from-home movement has left empty.

“It’s just like a perfect storm of everyone leaving, tourism down, working from home,” Lee said. “I think it’s a good time to close shop.”

Lee said nearby business closures in Union Square have also been demoralizing. Westfield recently announced it is giving up the San Francisco Centre, and the mall's anchor Nordstrom has joined a laundry list of other businesses leaving the Union Square area.

READ MORE: Westfield’s San Francisco Centre Mall Lost 46% of Its Stores Since 2020

Lee had previously complained about the requirements to renew his restaurant’s parklet, taking to Twitter to air his grievances about City Hall bureaucracy. 

“Three years later, they’re saying, ‘You need to fix this, and do that, and go to the fire department,’” Lee said when reached by phone. “It’s like, 'Come on, you couldn’t have told us that in 2020?'”

The outside of Tacorea in Nob Hill | Courtesy David Lee

Tacorea previously had a Chinatown location, but it closed about a month ago, Lee said.

“It’s now basically just an extension of our kitchen,” Lee said.

Lee and his restaurant have made news before. In a February incident that went viral, he sent a tweet to Mayor London Breed after his restaurant was broken into.

“Mayor Breed, what is happening with our city? When are the residents going to be protected? My car windows been shatter multiple times and my restaurant got broken into today. There is absolutely no protection for us in this lawless city. Why must we experience this everyday?” the Feb. 27 tweet read.

Originally from Burlingame, Lee moved to San Francisco in 2010 and opened Tacorea in 2016. 

He said that running a restaurant has burned him out, and he said he plans to move to Las Vegas by December.

“I just want to work for a hotel or something—just be an employee, so I don’t have to worry about running anything,” Lee said. “I love the hospitality industry. I love interacting with people—just not the restaurant world.”

He did entertain the possibility of reopening Tacorea in Las Vegas, but for now, fans of kimchi burritos and "California burritos" stuffed with tater tots have only a couple of weeks.

“At the end of the month, it’ll all be gone,” Lee said.