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Popular San Francisco Japanese cafe teases comeback after summer shuttering

people walk past a coffee shop on the sidewalk
People walk past Stonemill Matcha on San Francisco’s Valencia Street on Monday. | Source: Gina Castro/The Standard

A popular Japanese cafe in one of San Francisco's shopping districts could be making a comeback just months after announcing its closure in summer.

A sign in Stonemill Matcha's storefront on Valencia Street between 16th and 17th streets was spotted over the weekend. The sign read, "We will be back soon! We are looking forward to serving you again with 'Matcha LOVE!"

Speculation on Reddit also followed, with comments about staffing levels, profitability and menu changes, and memories of long lines stretching out the door and down the street. 

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A similar sign on the store's website Monday said, "Progressing Towards Reopening: Timing Still to be Determined." 

The tea house and cafe, which sells matcha beverages alongside various delicacies and baked goods, opened its doors in May 2018 in the former Bar Tartine space. The cafe announced its closure in an Instagram post on July 31 and served its final customers in person on Aug. 27.

"After five amazing years of operation on Valencia Street, we will soon be closing our doors for good," the post said.

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In a follow-up Instagram post days after the closure on Sept. 2, the shop thanked its regular and new visitors for their support.

"When we opened in 2018, we weren’t sure how a Matcha cafe would do in such a big coffee city," the post said. "We wanted to share the Matcha tradition and push it forward so that Matcha can be your daily ritual, helping to preserve its history. We hope that your relationship with Matcha will continue. The cafe is closed but we hope to serve you again somewhere and someday soon."

the door of a coffee shop shows a sign that signals the store will reopen soon
Months after its August closure, a sign in a Valencia Street storefront door Sunday at popular Japanese tea house and cafe Stonemill Matcha offered hope of its imminent return. | Source: Gina Castro/The Standard

But a Nov. 17 Craigslist job post seeking a pastry chef offered at least one positive sign boding well for a return.

"We will reopen the Stonemill Matcha in the heart of Valencia Street soon! Our vibrant bakery seeks a creative and skilled pastry chef to join our team," the job post read. The position asks for "proven experience in a pastry kitchen" and "knowledge of baking techniques, pastry decoration, and dessert presentation."

Requests for comments to Stonemill Matcha were not immediately returned on Monday.

George Kelly can be reached at gkelly@sfstandard.com