Local links: Cassava asking for donations to stay open, King Willow sings among the stacks at Green Apple, Pretty Please’s cake lady to the Warriors + more

Cassava Bakery restaurant at 3519 Balboa has launched a $50,000 GoFundMe campaign to keep its doors open

Here are some local links to start off your Thursday:

  • Running a restaurant in San Francisco is no easy feat. The popular Cassava Bakery restaurant on Balboa just celebrated their 5 year anniversary. So neighbors and patrons were surprised to see owner Yuka Ioroi launch a GoFundMe campaign to try and raise $50,000 to keep the cafe’s doors open. “Last 6 months or so we’ve been experiencing a slower time and now we are completely strapped for cash and facing the biggest challenge of Cassava’s 5 year time to stay in business.” So far the campaign has raised nearly $8,000. You can donate here; rewards like gift certificates and discounts are being offered.
  • After a fire on Monday night, six people and two dogs were displaced from a building at the corner of 5th Avenue and California. The Red Cross and city services have both been notified, according to the SFFD, and will be handling the assistance effort for the victims. [SFist]
  • Some of the cakes Pretty Please Bakeshop has created for the Warriors team

  • What do you get for the NBA star that has everything? A cool birthday cake, that’s what! Our own Golden State Warriors rely on Richmond District cake guru Alison Okabayashi of Pretty Please Bakeshop on 3rd Avenue to whip up some amazing creations. She’s known as the “cake lady” at Warriors HQ. “These cakes are the result of an elaborate process – many hours of researching, planning, baking, cooling, decorating and sitting in traffic – that makes them impossible for even megastar Stephen Curry to forget.” [Wall Street Journal; subscription required]
  • It’s always fun when your local shop is used as the backdrop for a film or music video, right? The charming sisters of King Willow (one ukelele, one guitar) filmed their latest video for “Settled” along the stacks of Green Apple Books on Clement Street (with some unintentional cameos by customers lol). Beware – it’s a bit of an ear worm! 🙂 “Part of me wants to be 40 and settled, part of me wants to be already dead.”

  • Looking for good Russian eats in the city? Look no further than our neighborhood. EaterSF has a nice guide for where to find “the best borscht, pelmeni, caviar, blinis, and more”. All but two on the list are in the Richmond District. [EaterSF]


  1. Maybe we need a GoFundMe campaign for Safeway to help them stay open 24 hours at all of their SF locations.

  2. Using the GoFundMe approach vs. an investor is interesting, though it makes me skeptical of their business model. If this is a one time thing, I guess it is what it is……I just get the sense that they may go back to the well again when having financial issues, which is not a sustainable business model. It seems like any issue that arises would have the potential of shutting the doors for good.

  3. @Keith I dunno. The SF Legacy Business fund provides on-going funding to businesses. A business can be economically sustainable as long as its revenue sources are on-going and sufficient, regardless of where they come from. Some businesses are “hobbies” funded by the owners for their personal enjoyment. In the economy today there are many on-going funding sources that don’t come from direct sales. In this case, I think the crowdsource funding well is very deep and enduring.

  4. @Billtaplin Absolutely valid points, but I feel like success via this route is more of the exception vs. the rule. The success of a business should not rely on handouts, and should be focused on providing value to customers, creating longtime relationships and producing good product. I understand the “hobby” approach, but I tend to think that doesn’t apply to a business that expanded so rapidly, like Cassava. It’s possible they were a little too aggressive, and if this one-time Band-Aid helps move forward, so be it……..I just hope they’re not relying on this route going forward, because I’m sure the amount they raise will dwindle in each subsequent attempt.

  5. Cassava really needs a vented hood over their kitchen prep area. Went there a few times for dinner and left smelling completely of cooked food / burnt oil. Really like the place and wanted to go more frequently, but the smell was just overpowering.

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