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Archive for the ‘Business’ Category


King of Thai Noodle locations on Clement drop their royal monikers

The King of Thai location at 639 Clement, now missing its “King of” from the sign

Reader Maggie N. tweeted us earlier this week, asking “any leads on what’s up with King of Thai Noodle (I and II) covering the “King” portion of their name?”

Sure enough, a drive by the two locations on Clement Street revealed that the signage on both restaurants had the “King of” portions covered up, effectively renaming them to “Thai Noodle”.

We picked up a to-go order on Monday night at the 639 Clement Street location but the staff was tight-lipped on the reason for the name change.

But it’s likely that it has to do with a legal challenge from another King of Thai Noodle House chain in the Bay Area. Which one is the complaintant is anyone’s guess.

A quick Google search reveals another King of Thai Noodle that has two locations, one in North Beach and another in the Financial District.

Head over to Yelp and you’ll see that they have employed a simple ascending numbering on the URL’s because there are so many places named King of Thai Noodle House in the city. #3 is on O’Farrell and has similar purple signage to Clement Street, and calls itself the “first original thai noodle house in San Francisco”. #4 is on Clement, and #5 is on Sloat Boulevard.

In short, there are a lot of Thai Kings serving up noodles in our fair city (not to mention Alameda).

We don’t know definitively why the Clement Street restaurants have lost their royal status, but most likely it’s due to pressure from the chain with two locations.

The good news is that even with its newly shortened name, we still have them in the neighborhood. So when you get a hankering for pad thai, curry or spicy larb, they’ll be there for you.

Long live the King.

Sarah B.

The King of Thai location at 346 Clement, with the “King of” portions on their signs blacked out

5:16 am | Posted under Business, Food | 8 comments

City’s first batting cages, INField, open on Clement Street

“Build it and they will come” was the prophetic declaration from James Earl Jones’ character to Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, in the film The Field of Dreams.

Michael Falzone’s reason for opening INField Batting Cages on Clement near 20th Avenue was not inspired by Hollywood, but instead by complaints from his Little League players and parents about not having easy access to a practice facility.

Falzone coaches his own sons in SF Little League, and decided he would try opening his own batting cages. His full-time job is as a park police officer in the Presidio, where he also lives. He initially tried to open INField in the Presidio, but could not get approval for a space from the Presidio Trust.

So instead he leased a former restaurant space at 1888 Clement that had been vacant for two years. It’s a deep space with high ceilings in the back, which was perfect for two side by side batting cages. There’s also a tee-ball hitting station in the front of the space for younger players.

For now, INField operating hours align with after school and weekend schedules, welcoming swingers in from 4pm to 7pm Tuesday through Thursday, and until 9pm on Fridays. Saturday hours are 12noon until 9pm, and Sundays til 5pm. They are closed Mondays.

You can call in advance for reservations (699-3670) or just drop in. Additional hours can also be arranged by email.

Each cage features a variable speed pitching machine for baseballs. Falzone says the machines have a softball accessory but for now, he’s just offering baseball hitting.

Prices are $25 for a half-hour of pitching machine time for batters age 7 and up ($40 for a full hour). Under 7 can hit off the tee for $10 for a bucket of balls. Special rates are also available for teams.

Each machine offers up a variety of pitches, allowing hitters to refine their swing on just a specific pitch, or get some swings in on all the pitches (fastball, left and right hand curveballs, knuckleball, slider and sinker). Available pitch speeds range from 40 to 90 miles per hour.

If you’re a frequent hitter, INField also offers memberships ranging from $100 per month to $1,000 for the year, which includes five half-hour sessions per month plus discounts on merchandise, clinics and camps.

For now, INField is the only batting cage facility in the city of San Francisco. Falzone says that previously, he was taking his players to Treasure Island or South San Francisco for batting practice.

Blog reader Grace stopped by INField last weekend and said she “had a blast – made me feel like I was in Little League all over again.”

Batter up!

Sarah B.

5:03 am | Posted under Business, Sports | 13 comments

Local links: Food news, gardening classes, stargazing, jazz concert & more

Photo by David Young

Happy New Year, readers! Here are some local links we collected over the holidays. Now go off and have a great start to your 2014! – Sarah B.

  • New biz alert: Bay Chinese Medicine Clinic opened up on the corner of California and 22nd Avenue. Website says owner Heather Shields offers “holistic care and customized treatments for adults and children using acupuncture, Chinese herbal formulas and massage.”
  • News from La Playa… Reader Gabriel tells us that the old Burger King has been bought by a couple who are putting in their own ovens and intend to make it an American-food cafe, with early morning bakery items.
  • Stargazers unite: The SF Amateur Astronomers Club will host a free City Star Party & Telescope Night at Lands End on Saturday, January 11 starting at 5:30pm. Check their website for details on where to meet up.
  • The Richmond District branch library is hosting a free series of Saturday Gardener Workshops starting January 11, taught by San Mateo and San Francisco County Master Gardeners and local arborists. Topics include Growing Healthy Vegetables, Fruit Tree Selection, Life in the Soil, Ornamental Trees and Shrubs, and Growing Vegetables from Seeds.
  • Michael Reddig of the Inner Richmond wrote to the Chron editors about an incident on the 38 Geary that reinforced his “belief in the goodness of people and highlights a part of our Muni system that really does work”. It’s the little things in life, right?
  • Jazz it up: The West Side Jazz Club will play a free concert at The WestSide Art House (540 Balboa) on January 18th from 8pm to 10pm. The quartet “maintains an expansive, ever-changing book of jazz standards, focusing on challenging modern compositions and freshly-updated classics from Monk to Shorter, through Ellington, Rollins and Coltrane.” Concert is free, kids and dogs are welcome.
  • Vegan? There’s a few spots in the Richmond District for you, including Enjoy Vegetarian, Burma Superstar, and Hong Kong Lounge, according to a “100 Vegan Dishes to Try in San Francisco” article we found. Don’t miss the faux fish Sea Bass Eggplant at Enjoy Vegetarian or the infamous Tea Leaf Salad at Burma Superstar.
  • Have some storage or display space challenges in your apartment? These Richmond District apartment inspired shelves made by Carlysle Manufacturing Company are pretty cool. “…After moving into a cramped Outer Richmond studio, [creator John Pemberton] adapted the dated peg concept for San Francisco renters.”
  • Food critic Patricia Unterman revisits Shanghai House (3641 Balboa): “When I walked in I saw my last review, written in 2007, facing me on a cardboard stand. I took it from the counter and used it to order–and sure enough, everything that I had raved about back then pleased me just as much now. I was captivated all over again by a place I had not visited for six years.”
11:39 am | Posted under Business, Classes, Events, Food, Muni | Comments Off

Top 10 Richmond District stories of 2013

It’s time to take a trip down memory lane and check out the most popular stories from this past year. From faery doors to farmer’s markets to sinkholes to human remains – our readers have a wide range of interests! It’s been our pleasure to cover it all.

Thanks for coming along for the ride in 2013! We can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store…

Sarah B.

The original miniature faery door installed near the concourse in Golden Gate Park, filled with offerings from visitors. Photos by Erica Reh

1. The Mysterious Mini-Door in Golden Gate Park
This delightful story captured the hearts and imagination of readers not only in the neighborhood, but around the world. The story was full of whimsy, wishes and even shady politics when Rec & Park decided to remove the door without even serving the faeries an eviction notice. Undeterred, the father and son team behind its creation fashioned another bureaucrat-approved door that they installed in another spot in the park. The faeries even answer their mail from time to time…

2. De Place restaurant on Geary closes after only three weeks
After licking the wounds of Video Cafe closing, neighbors eagerly awaited the new restaurant that would open on the corner of 21st and Geary. It was under construction for months and when it finally opened with the underwhelming name of “De Place”, it sported tv screens, fountains, ample seating and a giant crawfish statue that greeted diners at the door. But after just three weeks, a sign on the door said they were closed, with the vague explanation of “we are not able to enlist the staffs than can assist us with our operation”. Things that make you go hmm.

3. Clement Street Farmer’s Market makes it debut
It took several years to come together but the Richmond District finally made it onto the Farmer’s Market map, debuting the Sunday market on Clement Street between 2nd and 4th Avenues on June 23. The market was an instant hit with shoppers and vendors, and has been approved to run weekly through June of 2014 (and will likely be extended after that).

4. Large HUGE sinkole opens up on Lake and 2nd Avenue
This story brought us one of our best photo ops of the year… Around 5:30pm on a weekday afternoon in May, the road gave way to a huge sinkhole on Lake Street and bungled up traffic for several hours, even attracting news helicopters overhead. The rupture of a 19 inch sewer drain was responsible for the fiasco.

5. Fresh & Easy to close all stores; what will happen to the Richmond District location?
In April, Fresh & Easy’s parent company, Tesco, announced they were planning to close all of the nearly 200 stores in the chain. The Richmond District location on 32nd Avenue and Clement hadn’t even been open two years. In September, we got the news that billionaire investor Ron Burkle was buying the Fresh & Easy chain and that only 50 of the stores would be shuttered – and the Richmon District location is not one of them. Phew!

6. Shooting at 29th & Geary
Thankfully, we don’t see a lot of violent crime in the neighborhood, so when gunshots rang out at 7pm on a Sunday night on Geary near 29th Avenue, it sent a ripple through the neighborhood. A few eyewitnesses left their comments about what happened, and to date, we haven’t heard any news of an arrest of more information about the crime.

7. Bicycle lane on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park cause for concern
We reprinted an article from the Richmond Review (because we agreed with it) about the new, questionable configuration of the bike lanes on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park. Like most cycling stories, this set off a debate in the comments, which had both bikers and non-bikers taking both sides of the arguments. SFMTA, what say you?

8. What (or whom?) lies beneath the Legion of Honor?
Readers seemed to enjoy our Halloween photo special of human remains underneath the Legion of Honor Museum. They were discovered during the 1993 renovation and were photographed extensively by Richard Barnes. And yes, they’re still there.

Photo by Richard Barnes

9. Neighborhood’s first traffic circle installed at 23rd & Anza
Heads were being scratched after this roundabout was installed in January. It’s the only one in the Richmond District and it’s unusual/non-standard because it has stop signs on all sides, making it more decorative than calming. So it was hardly surprising when KRON TV’s Stanley Roberts provided video proof of how badly people navigated the circle. SFMTA is supposedly planning more for the neighborhood, ugh.

10. Haig’s Delicacies closing after 57 years
We do love our businesses here in the Richmond District, so many readers were saddened when Haig’s on Clement Street announced they were closing their doors after a half century. Beloved for the selection of spices and hard to find foods, commenters lamented the loss. A new spot (Local’s Cafe?) is under construction in the space, and it’s from one of the owners of Chomp & Swig. We’ll keep you posted.

4:30 am | Posted under Business, Crime, Golden Gate Park, Traffic | 1 comment

New Yoga Tree on 6th Ave opens Friday; first weekend of classes free

On Friday, Yoga Tree’s ninth studio will open at 182 6th Avenue, just off California Street.

The studio will offer over 25 classes per week of Vinyasa, Hatha, Pre and Postnatal yoga starting on Friday, December 27th.

The first weekend of classes is free to all students, December 27-29. We haven’t been able to find a class schedule online yet, but keep an eye on the website for more information.

The space was formerly home to Brighton Beach Antiques but has been vacant for many years. The interior has been remodeled and features a small reception area and a single workout room, which looks like it will accommodate about 20 people per class.

Yoga Tree offers a variety of rates and packages, ranging from an introductory offer of $20 for 3 classes, 10 and 20 class packs, up to a monthly pass (31 classes max) for $190. Classes can be taken at any of their 9 locations in the Bay Area. You can also just drop-in for a class; rates range from $12 to $18.

Classes can be booked online in advance.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Yoga Tree!

Sarah B.

UPDATE: Yoga Tree confirmed that it is only the first weekend of classes that will be free, December 27-29.

5:02 am | Posted under Business, Recreation | 1 comment

76 station with 7-11 re-opens Wednesday

It’s been 16 months since the 76 station on Geary and Funston closed for a remodel. It will finally re-open this Wednesday, completely remodeled and housing a new 7-11 convenience store.

The remodeled service station has raised the bar for gas station style, sporting slate stones in its facade, a wall fountain, fresh landscaping, and environmentally friendly LED lighting inside and out.

The owners also footed the bill to paint the side of the adjoining building on Geary, which was peeling and cracking.

The station features the latest in gas pump technology, with lighter weight nozzles and ADA compliant controls. The owners also added diesel fuel to the menu.

When we stopped by on Monday afternoon, they were putting the finishing touches on the 7-11 store that is on the property. The franchise’s inclusion is what slowed down the timeline for the station to re-open. 7-11 came to the project late, and then had to go through city channels to get permits and approval to open.

The 7-11 will offer all the usual accoutrements of the franchise, including slurpees and hot dogs. The location just a couple blocks down on 15th & Geary will remain open.

The construction and design at the 76 station were handled by a husband and wife team from Southern California. Luis Herrera of Channel Development has experience with many service station remodels, and his wife, designer Erika Winters, put the final design touches on the corner station.

She also designed the marble tiled his and her restrooms inside the 7-11, and added accents where she could within the 7-11 franchise guidelines.

Herrera and Winters stayed in the Marina District during the remodel, and Herrera says he loved being in the city by the bay. He sounded reluctant to leave it to return to this SoCal homebase. He decided to leave his motorcycle behind with the Piston & Chain motorcycle club that he joined while living here.

“It gives me a good reason to come back for a visit,” Herrera said.

The 76 station officially reopens on Wednesday morning, December 16.

Sarah B.

UPDATE: This article had previously mentioned a promotion for free fill-ups to the first 100 customers, which was confirmed in person to us on Monday by Luis Herrera. This morning we were contacted by John Quintanilla who informed us that was false information. “There must have been a miss understanding. No free gas upon re opening.” Sorry to everyone for the confusion. – Sarah B.

The convenience store on the gas station lot is a 7-11

The wall fountain on the front of the 7-11

5:06 am | Posted under Business | 5 comments

Honors: NEN Award winners, top bakeries in the neighborhood

As we head into the end of 2013, all sorts of awards, top lists, and honorable mentions get handed out for a variety of things in the city.

Last week, two neighborhood organizations received an annual Neighborhood Empowerment Network Award from the city organization of the same name. NEN’s mission is to empower “the neighborhoods of San Francisco with the capacity to steward themselves to a resilient condition”.

Friends of Cabrillo Playground received the 2013 award for Outstanding Park Volunteer Group, and the La Playa Neighborhood Watch group for SAFE received the Outstanding Neighborhood Watch Award.

In food news, three bakeries – one of which will open in the neighborhood nest year – received honorable mentions in SFist’s 12 Best Bakeries of San Francisco list.

Finishing up the roundup are Heartbaker on Clement and 15th Avenue, opened earlier this year by longtime baker Sybil Johnson offering tasty baked goods, a lunch and dinner menu plus nightly happy hours.

Boudin Bakery on 10th Avenue near Geary, founded in the neighborhood and famous for their sourdough, was also mentioned. And Marla Bakery, who will be opening a location at 3619 Balboa next year, also made the list.

Congrats to all of our neighborhood winners and thanks to readers Jean B. and Carl L. for the tips.

Sarah B.

9:30 am | Posted under Business, Community, Food | 1 comment

Shop local & save at the Clement Street Holiday Stroll tonight, 4-9pm

Photo by Tito Perez

Just because it’s Friday the 13th doesn’t mean you won’t have luck finding the perfect gifts!

Tonight, merchants along the early blocks of Clement Street are hosting a “Holiday Stroll” from 4pm until 9pm, featuring special deals, libations and treats for shoppers.

Here’s a list of what you’ll find on Clement Street stretching from Arguello to 6th Avenue:

Ingenious Organic concept salon (389 Arguello): Buy 1 hair product get one 30% off, Makeup Buy 2 get 1 free, makeup touch ups, 20% off future hair cut appointments, 50% off hair cut with any color service, free deep conditioning with color service. Also Snacks and Drinks.

Covet (391 Arguello): Cupcakes, champagne, & a free jewelry gift with purchase of $30 or more.

Period George (7 Clement Street): Sale on all Christmas and holiday candles, 15% off!

The Mysterious Rack (12 Clement): The Mysterious Rack will be offering 25% off all accessories, jewelry, books, magazines, records, & more! Also featuring vintage by Heidi Spanier. Also libations, and live music by Rick Quisol aka the Dimestore Dandy.

Sparky’s Balloons & Toys (115 Clement): Sparky’s will be offering champagne & chocolate covered strawberries.

STORY SF (202 Clement): Story will be offering free gift wrapping, snacks, & hot apple cider.

Kisha Studio (210 Clement): Kisha Studio is offering 10%, a small gift with purchase over $30, and champagne.

Seedstore (212 Clement): Seedstore will be debuting one of their stylist’s Gene Duven and her boyfriend Michael Mapp’s repurposed vintage clothing line, WRN FRSH. Featuring vintage clothing for men as well, two dj’s and libations.

Raissa Bump Jewelry & Knitwear / Anzfer Farms (248 Clement): 20% off all knitwear

Toy Boat Cafe (401 Clement): Ice cream cones of sea salt caramel truffle for $1 between 5-6pm.

Foggy Notion (275 6th Ave): Foggy Notion will be showcasing vintage from Heritage Mercantile Vintage (Robyn Miller of HM was just featured in Refinery 29!) and Our House Vintage & Design, also refreshments and a free tote bag with any purchase over $20.

5:02 am | Posted under Business, Shopping | 4 comments