Pacific Cafe, Toy Boat among first businesses in city to receive Legacy Business status

Pacific Cafe at 7000 Geary. Courtesy pacificcafesf.com

Legacy business Pacific Cafe at 7000 Geary. Courtesy pacificcafesf.com

Last week, the city announced the first businesses that received “Legacy Business” status in San Francisco. Two Richmond District businesses, Pacific Cafe and Toy Boat Dessert Cafe, were named to the registry.

The Legacy Business program was approved by the Board of Supervisors in March 2015, then by voters as Proposition J (Legacy Business Historic Preservation Fund). The program began accepting applications in September 2015. Businesses can apply, but then have to be nominated by the Mayor or a Supervisor, and then approved by the Small Business Commission.

The program, designed to protect small, legacy businesses in the city, provides grant funds to any business on the registry, as well as to property owners who extend long-term leases to legacy businesses.

To be eligible as a Legacy Business, the business has to be 30 years or older, have contributed to their neighborhood’s history, and agree to maintain their identity, name and craft.

The specifics of the legislation call for “$500 per full-time equivalent employee in San Francisco and grants for landlords that extend real property leases to Legacy Businesses for terms of at least ten years equal to $4.50 per square foot of the improvements in San Francisco leased to the Legacy Businesses.”

The program is designed specifically for smaller, “mom and pop” stores. The program specifically prohibits larger businesses from receiving legacy status: “The Legacy Business Assistance fund will be capped at 100 employees and the Legacy Assistance Rent Stabilization Fund will be capped at 5,000 square feet per business.”

Pacific Cafe has been serving up seafood and free wine to line dwellers for 42 years at the corner of Geary and 34th Avenue. The cafe opened opened on July 4, 1974 when Richard Nixon was president. Many of the staff have been there for decades and the eatery is well-loved by diners for its fresh, no-frills food and atmosphere. Chronicle food writer Paolo Lucchesi called it “the epitome of a great neighborhood restaurant” in 2014.

Toy Boat Dessert Cafe is a hub of the inner Richmond, occupying the southwest corner of 5th Avenue and Clement since 1982, serving up ice cream, milkshakes, sandwiches and desserts. Owner Jesse Fink has been head of the Clement Street Merchants Association, and proudly serves up Double Rainbow ice cream – a company started by his brother Steve Fink. You can even vote in Toy Boat on most election days.

Legacy business Toy Boat Dessert at 401 Clement

Legacy business Toy Boat Dessert at 401 Clement

Seven other businesses in San Francisco made the initial legacy roster – check them out here.

When we first heard the news last week, we wondered why Green Apple Books wasn’t one of the recipients. We got a quick reply via twitter from the venerable bookstore – “Application in process.” 🙂

Congratulations to Toy Boat and Pacific Cafe! It’s great to know they will be in the neighborhood for many more years to come.

Sarah B.


  1. My first thought was also, What about Green Apple? No more deserving neighborhood business! Congrats to Toy Boat and Pacific Cafe. I suppose Gaspare’s wouldn’t qualify because it used to be called Vince’s?

  2. Schuberts Bakery should be no. 1 on that list. For me, it is the pride of the Richmond. Their cakes are the best in Bay Area.

  3. Well deserved Pacific Cafe! Here’s to another 40+ years! And a heck yeah to Schuberts Bakery!

    As for Bill’s – it’s a shame of the changes to the quality following their recent change of ownership. We had to stop going there/ordering from them.

  4. It’s cool we can do this – hard to argue with a little corporate now and then, especially considering TWTR tax breaks and Google bus allowances. Plus, keeps the cost of Sundaes low.

  5. Thank you for mention of Toy Boat’s Legacy status!
    A small addition/correction: Toy Boat is no longer a
    place to vote ….. maybe to many sweet distractions?
    Also, Double Rainbow was founded by Jesse’s brother
    and his childhood friend ,Michael Sachar.

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