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Oct-24-2011

Former cafe on Geary & 21st undergoing major renovations

Several readers have written in to ask what’s happening on the corner of 21st Avenue and Geary, former home to the Video Cafe which closed a year ago after 25 years in business.

Over the summer there was a brief flurry of demolition, and recently, crews have returned to commence work.

Cub reporter David stopped in last week and took the photo above. Contractors are gutting the interior to build a Chinese restaurant, according to the plans.

One permit quotes $150,000 for an interior remodel that includes new kitchen equipment, a bathroom remodel, adjustments to the entryway, a new second exit in the dining area, and a rebuilt mezzanine and stairway.

The extent of the renovations is not surprising since it was the need for ADA upgrades to the restrooms and entry way that closed down the previous cafe. The owners were unable to afford the renovations.

No word yet on what the new restaurant will be called or when it will open. As we learn more, we’ll keep you posted!

Sarah B.

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11:05 am | Posted under Business, Food | 26 comments
  1. Seth said (10/24/11; 12:37 pm):

    I’m thrilled to hear that something is going in there but another Chinese restuarant? There is certainly no shortage of Chinese (or Japanese/sushi, for that matter) when it comes to the Richmond district. Thankfully we have have a huge diversity of other cuisines to choose from as well!

    Now, if only something could be done with that old DeLano’s location. Seems like a very tall order though.

  2. Ron K said (10/24/11; 1:15 pm):

    The name of the place is printed on the liquor license application that is posted on the geary facing wall. I glanced and it but don’t remember the name.

  3. nancydrew99 said (10/24/11; 4:27 pm):

    Man, I was seriously hoping for a taqueria or something other than Chinese/Japanese/Korean. Oh well.

  4. mel said (10/24/11; 5:58 pm):

    That would be pretty close to Tommy’s. Although, I would love me some nearby Tex-Mex or some BBQ… Besides my family and friends, basically the only things that I miss from Austin.

  5. Caden said (10/24/11; 6:37 pm):

    I’ve passed by a few times since they started renovations and read the posting. Apparently the people building it are under the name of Vidio Fusion Cafe Inc. which gives me hopes that a new and improved Video Cafe will return. With that being said, my soul feels so let down that they are putting another Chinese restuarant in that place. It seems like an injustice to have a different business there especially one that isn’t “new”. Nothing can be done with that DeLano’s location to be honest. I pass that thing everyday and it’s a giant eyesore. They can’t put another grocery store in and it’s way too big for one buisness. I say they should tear it down and put housing there. It’s the most practical use of such a large property.

  6. Stacy said (10/24/11; 8:08 pm):

    How can you tell it’s a Chinese restaurant from the plans?

  7. Jeff said (10/24/11; 11:13 pm):

    Disappointed enough that it will be another Chinese restaurant to chime in and agree with everyone else.

    So utterly disappointed.

  8. mel said (10/24/11; 11:47 pm):

    I echo Stacy’s comment. If it is a Video Cafe redo, wasn’t that restaurant an American diner/Chinese blend?

    As to the old Delano’s, it would be great if a home goods or clothing store (for women, men, and children) went in there.

  9. Jommy Cross said (10/25/11; 9:07 am):

    Quick, tell Supervisor Eric Mar that the Richmond district is about to be invaded by yet another Chinese Restaurant. This will create unbearable competition for the hundreds of other Chinese Restaurants.

  10. steve said (10/25/11; 10:08 am):

    @jommy: my thoughts exactly – if we can block PETCO from opening on Geary because the district is already well served by other pet stores, how is this OK? Isn’t the area already well served by plenty of other Chinese restaurants? Won’t the established restaurants suffer under the increased competition?

  11. J said (10/25/11; 10:42 am):

    Actually, just to clarify, the previous owners were actually Thai, and it was a Thai-American fusion place. I spoke to the managers all the time about food in Thailand; they had Thai recipe books at the front and were always happy to share their knowledge of Thai cuisine with me. They just happened to make most of their money selling greasy American food, with a few Thai dished thrown in for good measure…nothing Chinese about it.

    I hope that if they put anything in there its a good Thai restaurant. You can never have enough of those.

  12. Paul C. said (10/25/11; 11:40 am):

    Seriously? Another Chinese restaurant. This neighborhood needs something that isn’t the same crap over and over again. I’ve already got probably 20 Chinese restaurants around me that I can go to. Why do we need another one? As someone else said, where is Supervisor Mar in this whole thing? Doesn’t he know that this will create competition and put another Chinese restaurant out of business? It would be nice if something a little more midscale went in like a tapas bar or maybe some Greek food. It’s amazing that you can go to the inner Sunset and it’s such a vibrant district and you get over here and it’s a wasteland.

  13. mel said (10/25/11; 12:02 pm):

    To reiterate, has anyone confirmed that this is in fact a Chinese restaurant?

    Paul, competition is a good thing, especially since you are characterizing the Richmond as a “wasteland.” Sure it would be grand if the restaurant offers up something different, but the supervisors should not be involved in deciding which types of restaurants do or do not go in. If this place is a Chinese restaurant, feel free to not patronize i;t and the lack business on a wide scale will cause the restaurant to fail. Or, perhaps it will be a better place than what is currently offered in the Central Richmond and it will up the game of other restaurants or cause those that are sub-par to fail instead.

  14. Administrator said (10/25/11; 1:20 pm):

    My cub reporter, David, had a look at the plans when he stopped by and from discussions, confirmed it will be a Chinese restaurant. But I have no other information beyond that (what type of Chinese, hours, etc.)

    Sarah B.

  15. Paul C. said (10/25/11; 3:01 pm):

    @Mel Sorry my response about getting the supervisors involved was meant as sarcasm. I agree with a free market that’s why I’m still mad about the PetCo thing.

    Competition is great but it really makes me wonder why someone thinks that another Chinese restaurant in the Richmond is the right answer. I would love someone to come open a great place for breakfast. When Big Heart closed it left a void of any breakfast places in the central Richmond. I guess nobody here eats breakfast or brunch?

  16. mel said (10/25/11; 4:01 pm):

    Thanks for clarification Paul. I too am not happy about the Petco thing. And in the immortal words of Homer Simpson…. mmmm breakfast…. mmm brunch. The closest place I can think of is Americana Grill and that is pretty greasy. Since the Video is only about 4 blocks from my house I am very curious as to their ultimate menu.

  17. Paul C. said (10/25/11; 4:27 pm):

    @Mel, the Video is 3 blocks from my house so it was nice to be able to take a guest to breakfast once in a while if they don’t like dim sum. I honestly don’t know of a breakfast spot in the central Richmond within 15 blocks which is a shame.

  18. mel said (10/25/11; 4:42 pm):

    Yeah, I am with ya. Closest place is on the other side of the park at Crepevine… back to your comment about Sunset.

  19. joshua said (10/25/11; 10:58 pm):

    Tong kiang, now that place has some good chinese food. As for another chinese place in the area what else is new, for that location to succeed it has to separate itself from the others. A chinese resturaunt is a horrable idea, on just about all sides it would be surrounded by long time standing chinese resturaunts so I dont think it would last very long.

  20. SusanR said (10/27/11; 1:25 pm):

    @Paul – it’s a hike for you, but I ate at Eat on Clement this week & it was very delicious for breakfast!

  21. Cass Phillipps said (10/28/11; 4:35 pm):

    I hope that since the owners name includes “Fusion” it will be some neat new thing. The neighborhood lost one of the only good American-Diner style places, especially for breakfast. What are our options now? Bills doesnt open until 11am, and Joes Coffee Shop has all of 15 seats (15 incredibly tasty seats, of course, but super crowded usually.)

    If it’s *just* Chinese I’ll be disappointed. But if it’s neat new-fusion, I’m game to try it out.

    And PS: Yep, ditto on everyone comparing this to the Petco thing and getting mad again. Ugh. So stupid.

  22. Jacob said (10/28/11; 7:50 pm):

    I just want my E-burger back.

  23. J said (10/18/12; 2:36 am):

    Why is everyone so bummed that it might be a Chinese restaurant? At least there is a business going in the space instead of some eyesore like the Petco space. It would have been better to have a Petco there than to have the eyesore that it is now. At least someone would take responsibility for keeping the sidewalk there swept and clean. All these little stores and restaurants don’t take any pride in keeping our neighborhood clean. Corporate/box stores at least have some standards for their stores. Yes, agreed some variety would be nice. We should be glad anyone wants to open a new business in this neighborhood. And all of you who complain about the selection, either open your own restaurant serving the cuisine you like or want, or move down to the Marina where you can have more selection!

  24. J said (10/18/12; 2:40 am):

    Why is everyone so bummed that it might be a Chinese restaurant? At least there is a business going in the space instead of some eyesore like the Petco space. It would have been better to have a Petco there than to have the eyesore that it is now. At least someone would take responsibility for keeping the sidewalk there swept and clean. All these little stores and restaurants don’t take any pride in keeping our neighborhood clean. Corporate/box stores at least have some standards for their stores. Yes, agreed some variety would be nice. We should be glad anyone wants to open a new business in this neighborhood. And all of you who complain about the selection, either open your own restaurant serving the cuisine you like or want, or move down to the Marina where you can have more selection! If you don’t like Chinese, then don’t live where there are a lot of Chinese people!

  25. Food news: Perilla changes course, Cafe Europa coming, what’s at 21st & Geary? | Richmond SF Blog said (11/13/12; 12:27 pm):

    […] know yet! But we are looking into it and as soon as we have some details, we’ll let you know! Last we heard, it was to be a Chinese […]

  26. kim said (12/16/12; 4:57 pm):

    i would have preferred a bookstore.

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