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Biz updates: New shops, restaurants along Balboa

Inside Cafe Sis. Photo by May G.

Inside Cafe Sis. Photo by May G.

There has been a lot of business turnover on Balboa lately, both inner and outer. Here are the updates, moving east to west:

Cafe Sis (402 Balboa) opened last month and reviews are strong on Yelp. Serving up coffee, pastries and Korean sandwiches, the spot is owned by two sisters, hence the name. “Perfect for hungry college students and individuals who just want to eat at small, comfortable and calm setting.” Plus free Wifi.

We’re not sure what’s happening with the space on the northeast corner of 6th & Balboa (452 Balboa). It was a print shop that had a fire in 2012, and in December 2014 a change in use permit was filed to change it to a full service restaurant. And we saw a bar, tables, and lighting going in and if memory serves, it was going to become an Asian restaurant. A couple of other permits were filed, the most recent for a hood to be installed. So perhaps they’re getting close to opening. UPDATE: A liquor license application reveals it’s a “BISTRO COFFEE & OYSTER BAR” filed by Chi Su Fong Chien. Status is still pending.

Just down the street, d.zelen (interiors – gardens – shop) opened in the old Frankenart Mart space (515 Balboa). According to their website, they “source and create items that are the fine details to a home. Vintage or new, found or created in our studio these are items that add a sense of life and living in a space, a home.” Looks like they used to be located at 1228 Sutter. Thank you Marianne for the update!

The oft-greasy but loved Jook Time has closed (3398A Balboa), putting an end to cheap dim sum on Balboa. According to one Yelper, the owners sold the restaurant and the new owners are already moving in and getting ready to offer Northern Chinese food.

Better; For Living owners Danielle Gaito and Giffen Clark Ott

Better; For Living owners Danielle Gaito and Giffen Clark Ott

A new lifestyle boutique opened at 3425 Balboa called Better; For Living. According to their website, “We stock select contemporary and vintage items for life, appreciation, and use. Focused on the longevity of craft, ethical sourcing, localized manufacturing, and understated design, we aren’t the best; we make things (Better), and you can too.” The shop is owned by Danielle Gaito, a fashion stylist, and Giffen Clark Ott, an architect and fabrication designer. “A brick and mortar for daring emerging labels.”

April Calf (3528 Balboa) closed and is now Kio Ramen. It appears that the old spot had a very poor food score from the SF Health Dept (64/100) in April 2016; the 7 violations were corrected the following month. The old April Calf website redirects to the new Kio Ramen site so it looks like the same owners just reopened with a new concept. This is a commonly used loophole for getting around poor health scores that NBC uncovered earlier this summer. As a new entity, they wipe their food score history clean.

The word from our commenters here is that the former Victoria Pizza spot will become Mr. Banh Mi (3605 Balboa), being opened by the adult children of the owners of Kim Son, the Vietnamese restaurant directly across the street.

Sarah B.

19 Comments

  1. Any leads on what’s going in to the spot where Victoria’s Pizza was?

  2. Anyone know what’s going on at 200 Balboa Street? Looks like the tenant moved out and is doing construction for something new.

  3. “We stock select contemporary and vintage items for life, appreciation, and use. Focused on the longevity of craft, ethical sourcing, localized manufacturing, and understated design, we aren’t the best; we make things (Better), and you can too.”

    Give me a break…This is exactly the ethos that ruined the rest of SF. Stay out of the Richmond.

  4. I believe the building is undergoing a seismic retrofit, @N. When that occurs, ground floor tenants typically have to move out for a bit.

    UPDATE: Yes, it’s permit 201604285939, soft story retrofit. Technically the address of that building is 595 03RD AV

  5. @Liz – We haven’t heard anything. Grinder’s Pizza sent us a note about it some months back, but I don’t know if they pursued it or not.

  6. @Liz, rumor here on Outer Balboa is that the adult children of the owners of Kim Son, the Vietnamese restaurant across the street, are opening a bahn mi/Vietnamese sandwich shop in the former Victoria’s space.

  7. Jook Time will be missed. Their dim sum was amazing and included some items not found in other places (the shrimp cakes with egg, the fried curry wontons, the drum sticks). It was also less greasy than any place I’ve tried on Clement Street. Years ago another favorite Richmond Restaurant, Dragon House (Geary bet. 17 and 18) closed to “remodel”, never to be seen again. Now it happened to Jook Time. Very sad news.

  8. Thanks for the updates on 3605 Balboa, I added it to the post.

  9. +1 on missing Jook Time

    odd b/c they seemed to be doing fairly robust business

  10. I can’t believe Jook Time is gone!!! A huge link to my childhood and amazing memories of going there after school before sport practice. I’ve been coming for Dim Sum on this corner since I was 12 years old. I must have spent thousands of $$$ in that shop seeing as I’m 28 now. Best, to-go Dim Sum in the city, and so affordable. Jook Time wasn’t there the entire time, but before Jook it was another Dim Sum joint that was just as great, if not greater. I’m so incredibly sad to hear this.

    I really hope Dim Sum stays there with a new owner and it won’t be turned into yet another restaurant.

  11. Jook Time was a great little hole-in-the-wall; good variety of dim sum without a prescription. Hard working folks. An update on two recent openings near 18th and Balboa – Hawker Eats now has a $10 weekday lunch special (same big bowl of ramen plus 2 sides). At their annex, Hawker Express, when the door is open you’ll find 2-3 kinds of freshly prepared sushi/sashimi and bento boxes, to go; pay in the restaurant. Orson’s Belly has expanded their afternoon menu from coffee and pastries (and sangria and beer) to include tasty, Turkish-style mezze plates.

  12. Here’s the Business name listed on the Public Notice of Application to Sell Alcoholic Beverages at 452 Balboa: “Bistro Coffee and Oyster Bar.” I hoping for champagne and oysters!

  13. Any word on what is happening wit Cam’s on Balboa? U-Lee was going to move in there at one point.

  14. Re: the space at 3rd & Balboa, the florist had to move temporarily for a soft-story upgrade. He said at that time that he’s expecting to be back by the end of summer, but the construction seems to be going slower than expected. The folks who park in the building’s garage were recently told not to expect their parking spaces for likely another 2-3 months.

  15. Oyogu Sushi bet. 41 Ave. and 42 Ave. on Balboa opened a couple of months ago. It is now getting strong ratings on Yelp from what appear to be unbiased customers.

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