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‘Heartbreaking’: Restaurant’s debut delayed by $20K theft

The image shows a modern bar with a long marble counter, high wooden stools, hanging glass bubble lights, and shelves stocked with bottles and glasses.
The interior of Xebec as seen Tuesday evening after thieves stole liquor and supplies from the Hayes Valley restaurant. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Thieves used trash cans and a crowbar to smash into a new Hayes Valley restaurant and make off with $20,000 in liquor and equipment—on the same day, the new fusion spot was supposed to hold a soft opening event.

Xebec was due to open Tuesday evening on Gough Street in Hayes Valley. But before owner Georges Hawawini arrived that morning, a chef had already called him to say they’d been robbed.

“He called me and said, ‘Did you take all the equipment to the other location?’ I said ‘no!’” Hawawini said. “He’s like, ‘Oh my God, we’ve been robbed.’”

Surveillance video clips reviewed by The Standard show four people wearing hoodies entering the Mediterranean and Japanese fusion restaurant at 4:35 a.m. The timestamp in the video is three hours later than the time it was recorded.

The opening of Xebec, a Mediterranean/Japanese restaurant and event space in Hayes Valley, has been delayed after burglars stole thousands of dollars worth of liquor and equipment. | Source: Courtesy Georges Hawawini

“They took some stuff, left, then came back later with four people. They used Recology garbage bins to load up all the liquor and duffle bags for smaller equipment,” Hawawini said.

In the footage, thieves can be seen grabbing booze from behind the bar. One uses a stool to reach the top shelf, while another wheels a Recology trash can through the door to get the stolen goods out.

“They didn’t care,” Hawawini said. “It was so funny. When they came back in, they locked the door after themselves. They didn’t want other robbers to come and join them. It’s crazy. The police said they’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Police did not respond to a request for comment by publication time, but city records show officers responded to the restaurant around 9:15 a.m. Tuesday.

“It’s heartbreaking. Last night, we had the last staff meeting. We all left here at 9 p.m. on cloud nine. You walk in in the morning and you’re texting all the staff to stay home; ‘we’ve been broken into.’ They’ve given up other jobs to be here,” he said.

Beyond the loss of product, Hawawini is frustrated with the thieves, as they’ve delayed the restaurant’s opening until at least June 5. He also had to cancel on local Supervisor Dean Preston, who was scheduled to attend Tuesday’s event.

“I mean, you’re opening a restaurant. It’s one of the hardest things to do,” he said. “We were gonna be proud to show [Preston] what we have done in his district.”

According to San Francisco Police Department data analyzed by The Standard, there were 167 reported burglaries in Hayes Valley in the 12 months before May 26. That’s a 10% decrease from the previous 12-month period. Citywide, burglaries are down 12% in the 12 months before May 26, compared to the 12 months before May 26, 2023.

Still, the restaurateur remains optimistic about San Francisco despite the setback.

“We love the city and want to see it grow and get back to its glory days,” he said. “More needs to be done to make it safe again, but I think it’s coming back.”

George Kelly can be reached at
Garrett Leahy can be reached at