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Open and Shut: New Restaurants Spring Up, Even As Others Close for Good
Sunday, August 07, 2022

Open and Shut: New Restaurants Spring Up, Even As Others Close for Good

Not all SF openings can attract Ellen DeGeneres, Bella Hunter, and Steve Kerr. But after a pandemic that took out hundreds of eateries citywide, the March premier of RH’s Dogpatch showroom and dining room raised hopes that SF’s restaurant business may be looking up.

Indeed, the latest data show 4,000 SF restaurants survived the pandemic, even though several longtime favorites met their demise in recent months, including Dottie’s True Blue, Universal Cafe and Coi. 

The good news? A restaurateur is born every minute in this city, with Japanese and Korean cuisine appearing to be especially on trend.  

As San Francisco’s Restaurant Week kicks into high gear, we assembled a list of notable SF eateries that have opened and closed over the past few months for the non-foodies who may have lost track of the latest shutdowns and grand openings in the restaurant world.

OPENINGS

Assembly Cafe and Beer Garden - Civic Center

Serving food and beverages from a handful of local purveyors, it will feature morning brew from Sightglass Coffee, freshly baked items from Panorama Baking and cold beer from Anchor Brewing among other food and drinks in the former home of Bi Rite’s Civic Center cafe.

Bansang - Japantown

Daeho, a Korean "powerhouse" restaurant group, will be backing two highly rated fine-dining chefs: Jin Lim and Ethan Min. Bansang is slated to open in April 2022.

Birch and Rye - Noe Valley

This highly anticipated modern Russian kitchen opened in February. Anya El-Wattar, who was born in Russia but has lived in San Francisco for decades, put a modern twist on Russian dishes.

Chuck’s Takeaway - Mission

Renowned for his Slanted Door restaurant in the Ferry Building (a pandemic survivor slated to reopen in fall), Charles Phan opened Chuck's Takeaway in February to serve authentic banh mi sandwiches to hungry customers.

Fort Point Valencia - Mission

One of San Francisco’s biggest brewers is serving tasty beers from its extensive menu, along with small plates and sandwiches.

Good Good Culture Club - Mission

In February, Liho Liho Yacht Club owners debuted Good Good, an Asian, Filipino, Lao and Hawaiian fusion joint with multiple dining options—indoor, rooftop garden and sidewalk—for customers. 

Grand Crêperie - Ferry Building

Serving artisan French crepes to Ferry Building comers and goers, Grand Crêperie offers buckwheat galettes along with its delicious crepes made using local ingredients.

Jinkasei Mensho - Civic Center

Focused on miso broths and takeout, Jinkasei Mensho opened in April to serve vegan miso ramens to Mid Market noodle lovers.

Key Klub - Nob Hill

Behind the original neon-glowing sign, the Key Klub boasts over 24 beer taps along with natural wine and a food menu featuring grilled cheese on thick fresh bread to brick oven chicken.

Mixiote - Salesforce Center

With seed and support from La Cocina, the restaurant incubator for women-run businesses, this mother-and-son duo from Mexico City now serve the traditional flavors of Mexico—with a twist all their own. 

Moku Yakitori-Ya - Inner Richmond

A nod to local favorite Halu, which shuttered in late 2021. The Chen brothers opened Moku Yakitori-Ya earlier this year.

‘Napizza - Marina

Opened in January, ‘Napizza serves panino, casatiello salato, pizzelle fritte, marinara, magarita, and mortaza/vegetali pizzas. Be sure to save room for waffle sundaes. 

RH SF - Dogpatch

After purchasing the Bethlehem Steel building in 2016, the brand new RH (formerly known as "Restoration Hardware") finally held a buzzy "VIP Event" in March. The Palm Court restaurant, adorned with chandeliers and palm trees is slated to open soon.

Seven Fishes - Mission

Water2Table Fish Company owners, Joe and Andi Conte, opened a new restaurant highlighting fish unloaded at Pier 45.

Sura-Gan - Japantown

Intentionally named after the kitchen for the king of Joseon Dynasty in Korea, Sura-Gan offers a high-end Korean fare.

Taksim - SoMa

This new Turkish restaurant opened in March and serves authentic Mediterranean cuisine with a modern twist in a spacious SoMa outpost.

Wabi Sabi - South Park

With room for just 12 customers at a time, Wabi Sabi's owner Toey Ti has been serving affordable sushi for lunch and dinner since opening in February.

Yakiniku Shodai - Civic Center

Bringing authentic “yakiniku” Japanese barbeque to the Mid-Market area, Andy Chiang, chef and owner offers his expertise and experience in an effort to share an authentic yakiniku experience.

See Also

SAVED

Sai's Vietnamese Restaurant - Financial District 

A staple Vietnamese restaurant across from the Transamerica Building, Sai’s owners were sadly and unexpectedly evicted by their landlords in February after nearly four decades in business. The owners bowed to pressure from politicians and the public and are now allowing Sai’s to stay open until they find a new space. 

CLOSED

Benkyodo Company - Japantown

Opened just after the 1906 earthquake, temporarily shut during the Japanese internment camp round up of World War II, BenkyodoCo, a family-run monju and mochi shop closed its doors after 115 years in Japantown.

Cento Osteria - South Beach

The spacious Italian restaurant disappeared during the pandemic and was replaced by Socialite Crafthouse & Kitchen. 

Coi - North Beach

Daniel Patterson's Coi closed permanently as another Covid restaurant casualty after 16 years in business.

Dottie’s True Blue Café - SoMa

Despite pre-pandemic lines that wrapped around the building, Dottie's closed after 30 years in business due to Covid in December 2021. Owners are hoping to pivot and create a cookbook.

Magnolia Brewery Company - Dogpatch

The Third Street branch of this local beermaker closed in February after failed negotiations with the landlord for a new lease. The Haight Street location remains open.

Tart to Tart and Mexican Grill

Two businesses (coffee/tea, Mexican food) operating under one roof are set to close on April 7 after 45 years in the business. Covid impact and rising San Francisco rents are to blame for the closure.

Thailand Restaurant - Castro

After 30 years in family ownership and operation, Thailand Restaurant closed due to pandemic challenges.

Universal Café - Mission

Unsuccessful lease renegotiations combined with pandemic financial-related losses to shutter Universal Café in December after 27 years of serving San Franciscans brunch.

Shelley D. Fargo is a freelance writer for the SF Standard. Click here to contact The Standard’s research team about this story.

Contributor: Michaela Neville.

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