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Archive for the ‘Business’ Category


Richmond District’s third parklet debuts on Balboa near 6th Avenue

Photo by Derek

Last week, a new parklet opened on Balboa Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.

A parklet, also known in city corridors as “Temporary Sidewalk Extensions”, is a small public spaces that take over one or more parking spots in the street. Parklets are privately funded, typically by an adjoining business.

This newest parklet, the third in the Richmond District, sits outside Cinderella Bakery at 436 Balboa. Constructed of wood and a stone tile floor, the parklet features benches and a large communal table with planters on the outside edges.

The parklet was designed by Gehl Studio, a San Francisco division of Gehl Architects in Copehhagen, Denmark.

The other two parklets in the Richmond District are located outside Simple Pleasures Cafe at 3434 Balboa, and Cumaica Coffee at 200 Clement Street. View the full map of San Francisco parklets

Unlike the first two parklets, this new one on Balboa is smaller in size and appears to have only taken over one parking space.

The parklet program, part of San Francisco “Pavement to Parks” initiative, is currently accepting submissions for additional parklet proposals through May 29.

Sarah B.

Photo by Derek

Photo by Derek

Photo by Derek

4:20 am | Posted under Business, Parks | 12 comments

Arsicault Bakery opens on Arguello, offering French pastries with a heritage

Many neighbors were sad to see Blissful Bites close its doors last year. But a new tenant has opened in the space, and they’ve brought delicious, French pastries to the neighborhood.

Arsicault Bakery (397 Arguello) is owned by Armando Lacayo, a first-time merchant with a passion for French baking. Lacayo comes from a legacy of baking – his great grandparents owned Arsicault Boulangerie in Corbeil-Essonnes, France in the early 1900’s.

Inside the bakery are two artifacts from his great-grandparents’ business – an old photograph from 1907 and a delivery cart from the shop.

Arsicault specializes in French pastries. We sampled the chocolate croissant which was excellent. Lacayo also gave us a taste of the raspberry paille (translates as “straw”), which are two light, crunchy pastries with raspberry jam in the center.

The bakery’s specialty is the almond croissant, featuring almond cream made from Madagascar vanilla seed (no extract) and a touch of Meyer’s rum.

“It’s a croissant you can listen to,” Lacayo said as he picked up a croissant with tongs and demonstrated the crackling sound from the flaky crust.

Arsicault Bakery is open Wednesday through Monday from 7am until 3pm (closed Tuesdays); they may extend their hours in the coming weeks. The bakery also serves coffee and has ample indoor seating, as well as two outdoor tables.

Stop in and welcome them to the neighborhood!

Sarah B.

Arsicault staff. L to R: Lisa, employee #1, owner Armando Lacayo, Lacayo’s nephew Raphi

The delivery cart from the original Arsicault Bakery in France

A photo of Lacayo’s great-grandparents outside the original Arsicault Boulangerie in France, circa 1907

5:10 am | Posted under Business, Food | 14 comments

Gourmet popcorn gets its start in the Richmond District; now a national brand

Jean Arnold, owner and founder of 479° Popcorn, at the company’s Richmond District heaquarters

Jean Arnold has always loved to cook. She grew up in Korea, and came to the US at the age of 11. She later pursued a culinary degree at the Cordon-Bleu in London. But rather than cooking up rich entrees and desserts, Arnold turned her culinary passion to an everyday snack food – popcorn.

Growing up, she shared popcorn with her family. Her mom always insisted on organic popcorn made in a sturdy stove-top popper that she’d hand crank until the kernels were ready.

In 2003, Arnold moved to the Richmond District and took over the kitchen in her home’s in-law unit to start experimenting with high quality, flavored popcorns. She sourced organic, heirloom corn from a family farm in Sacramento and began creating popcorn that was delicious enough to be given as gifts.

In the fall of 2008, she launched 479 Degrees online and a few orders came in from friends and family. The company’s numeric name comes form the optimal temperature at which to make popcorn.

“And then Christmas rolled around and we started seeing names on the orders we didn’t recognize,” Arnold said. “It was really exciting.”

The following February, Arnold heard from a food writer at the New York Times who was fascinated with the trend of gourmet popcorn. That led to notice from Oprah herself, who named 479 Degrees on her “O List” that spring.

Arnold was still making popcorn out of her basement kitchen with a couple of employees, but within the first year, the company had already reached revenues of $1 million. She had just become a first-time Mom as well.

Even though 479 Degrees has since moved out of the Richmond District basement where it all started, the company’s headquarters, which employs 7 people, are still in the neighborhood on Geary Boulevard.

The company currently sells 11 flavors year-round including a basic Sea Salt, a cheesy Asiago, Parmesan + Cheddar, and a more unusual Toasted Sesame + Seaweed which is a nod to Arnold’s Asian heritage.

They also offer two specialty flavors during the holidays – Dark Chocolate + Bing Cherries and Pumpkin Pecan Praline.

“If I had my way we’d have 30 flavors,” Arnold told us during an interview at the company’s “annex” conference room a.k.a Coffee Break cafe. She says Sea Salt Caramel and the Asiago cheese flavors are the best sellers.

479’s manufacturing moved to Colorado about two years ago but Arnold still uses her own kitchen to experiment with new flavors. And the company has not strayed from its original, small batch process and organic, non-GMO ingredients.

“The seaweed and toasted sesame flavor took 45 iterations before it was ready,” Arnold said. She says that since the beginning, the White Cheddar + Black Truffle has been her favorite.

479’s revenues today are $10 million annually, thanks to shelf space in some of the nation’s leading food retailers including Whole Foods, Kroger and Target. Here in San Francisco, you’ll find 479 Degrees popcorn at Andronico’s, Mollie Stones, Birite, Whole Foods and the new Target Express in the Financial District. You can also buy it on their website.

Arnold is now a mom of two children, ages 4 and 6, who can’t help but notice Mom’s success. While on a Virgin Airlines flight, her son noticed bags of 479 popcorn on the food cart as it wheeled past him in the aisle.

Besides being close to home, Arnold says she likes having her headquarters in the Richmond District because “it’s a foodie area and I love to eat”. Some of her favorite spots include Y&Y Vietnamese, Daigo Sushi, Chapeau!, Heartbaker for brunch, Pizzetta, Kappou Gomi for Japanese, and Aziza for cocktails.

So what’s next for Arnold and her flavored popcorn empire?

“We’ll keep making great popcorn and hopefully become a household name. We’d much rather see people reach for popcorn than chips. It’s an inherently healthier snack.”

Sarah B.

The secret to 479’s success? Some offerings outside Arnold’s office.

4:15 am | Posted under Business, Food | 7 comments

Local links: Police forum, driver arrested, new GGNRA chief, auctions & more

Land’s End

Happy Friday Richmond folk! Here are some local links for your almost-weekend.

  • There’s a Police Community Forum meeting this Sunday at 11:30am, hosted by St. James Episcopal Church (4620 California St. at 8th Ave.). SFPD Richmond Station Captain Simon Silverman will be there and the forum us designed to discuss public safety, community relations, and the Captain’s priorities after one year as our local station chief.
  • It’s auction time for a couple of neighborhood organizations. Argonne School has an online silent auction that includes VIP passes to Outside Lands, Giants stuff, kids camps, and hotel stays. The Richmond District YMCA is holding their annual silent auction on Thursday, April 2 from 6pm to 10pm. Tickets to the event, which will feature catering by Burma Superstar and BStar (and free childcare!), are available online.
  • The Chronicle’s “City Exposed” column has an interesting article on the keeper of the Land’s End labyrinth. “I didn’t choose the place. I think it chose me,” she said. “I didn’t even know what a labyrinth was. It just felt good.”
  • The driver who fatally struck an 87-year old man in the crosswalk at Geary and 26th Avenue last week has been arrested and charged with felony vehicular manslaughter. Investigators determined the victim, Alfred Yee, was walking north across Geary Boulevard in the crosswalk when the driver, Daniel Schultz, 40, made a left turn from 26th Avenue and struck him. Schultz stopped at the scene but was not arrested until this week. [SF Bay]
  • Foggy Notion owner Alissa Anderson was interviewed recently by the SF Etsy blog. Anderson talks about opening her business, how she finds products, her additional sewing business, and her participation in the merchant community of the Richmond District. Foggy Notion is now open 7 days a week, 275 6th Avenue.
  • The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which includes the coastline in the Presidio, Land’s End, Sutro Park and Ocean Beach, has a new chief. Christine Lehnertz, a biologist and regional manager for the National Park Service, will become superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in May. [SFGate]
  • The YMCA’s Presidio Trail Run on April 26 is looking for volunteers from 6:45-10:45am as course monitors, support at water stations and race bib/t-shirt pick up. If interested, contact Lindsay at lindsay@alittlemighty.com.
4:45 am | Posted under Business, Crime, Lands End, Parks | 6 comments

Past Perfect furniture store coming to Geary & 25th

Reader Ben L. snapped this pic which announces the upcoming arrival of Past Perfect, a store selling antique, vintage and modern collective furniture and antiques.

Past Perfect currently has two locations in the city on Stanyan and Lombard. The Lombard Street location will be closing and relocating to the new location at 6101 Geary. Lombard closes on April 15 and it’s estimated that the new location will open in late April.

From their website: There are approximately 9,000 square feet of selling space between both stores, operated by 30 plus independent dealers selling unique, quality merchandise. Furniture ranges from antique to midcentury modern. Our lighting selection includes table and floor lamps as well as chandeliers both modern and antique. Past Perfect also carries original art and prints, sculpture and accessories including china, silver, crystal, glassware and even cufflinks.

The space used to be home to Avetex Furniture, who expanded into the space in 2011. Avetex still has their original location across the street at 6114 Geary.

Sarah B.

4:45 am | Posted under Business, Shopping | 10 comments

Food news: Shimo, Blissful close; Nourish Cafe, The Flame, Dragon Beaux open

Loosen (or tighten) your belts Richmond District folks, because there’s lots of restaurant changes happening in the neighborhood of late:

Reader Adriana reports that sushi favorite Shimo (2339 Clement) has closed their doors. A note on the front entry said they are closing due to [personal] health issues and thanked customers for their long time support and loyalty. “Sushi life in the richmond will never be the same!” Adriana said.

Blissful Bites Bakery (397 Arguello) also closed. We have not heard why, but we know many people will be sad about that.

On the opening front, three new spots threw open their doors recently:

Nourish Cafe (189 6th Avenue), a plant-based eatery featuring salads, sandwiches, juices, smoothies and baked goods opened its doors last week. This is one of our personal projects so thank you to all the neighbors that came out to support us in our first week!

The Flame (Hot Pot) opened on the corner of Clement and 19th Avenue. They’re putting a personal spin on the hot pot concept. “Instead of sharing with other people like traditional hotpot, you get your mini pot served on a box with a live flame,” writes one Yelper.

What was formerly, albeit briefly, De Place at 5700 Geary is no longer empty. Dragon Beaux, a new spot from the owners of Koi Palace, opened just last week. They serve morning dim sum and evening hot pot and shabu-shabu according to EaterSF.

Bon appetit!

Sarah B.

Photo by Adriana G.

4:30 am | Posted under Business, Food | 25 comments

Local Links: Mescolanza / Luna Rossa shuffle, Oscars at Balboa, Fulton speeds reduced

Photo by Eugene Kim

Happy Friday, Richmond District! Here are some local links to ease you into the weekend…

  • Mescolanza recently closed which saddened some fans, but a new, nearly identical concept called Luna Rossa opened in its place. It’s no accident – the owners of Luna Rossa were the original owners of Mescolanza back in the day and sold the lease, and the restaurant’s name, to an employee. But now they’re back, and after displacing their tenant, Mescolanza, have opened Luna Rossa. Reader Boots says the same Mescolanza server is even working there, and the menu is nearly identical. Boots also said word on the street is that the Mescolanza chef is planning to reopen near 2nd and Geary in the future.
  • And the Oscar goes to…The Balboa! They’ll be hosting an Oscar viewing party on Sunday starting at 4pm. Host Reed Kirk-Rahlmann will be on hand with his irreverent Awards Party mudslinging which begins at 7pm as the ceremony commences. Tickets are available online or at the Balboa box office (it usually sells out so get ’em quick).
  • Mind your accelerator when you’re driving on Fulton as the speed limits were recently reduced. Reader Steve informs that new speed signs have been posted: “30mph westbound from Stanyan to 36th (down from 35), 25 from 36th to 38th (in front of the Senior Center), then 35 from 38th to the beach; eastbound it’s 35 from the beach to 38th, 25 from 38th to 36th, back up to 35 again from 36th to 25th, then 30 from 25th to Stanyan.”
  • The Jiu Jitsu Academy (710 La Playa) is offering a free self-defense class for women on Monday, February 23rd. To register, email Info@csjiujitsu.com.
  • Pretty alert! Check out the video below for some stunning night views over San Francisco in super super hi definition.

4:15 am | Posted under Business, Events, Food, Traffic | 10 comments

Sustainable boutique William the Beekeeper opens on Clement

We’re a couple of months behind with this one but a new boutique opened late last year called William the Beekeeper at 55 Clement Street. They moved from their former location at 2036 Polk.

The store describes itself as a “sustainable and socially responsible concept store”, and features local designers and artisans, decor and home goods, and organic honey.

We haven’t had a chance to visit in person but found photos on the store’s blog that include shots of desk accessories, women’s clothing, bags, blankets, jewelry and decorative items.

According to the website, the store also donates a portion of their profits to the local community.

William the Beekeeper is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11am until 7pm. Stop in and welcome them to the ‘hood!

Sarah B.

4:15 am | Posted under Business, Shopping | 1 comment