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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Jun-2-2014

Q Restaurant closing June 29 after 16 years of serving “funky comfort food”

Late last week, Q Restaurant hung a banner above their front door announcing their upcoming shutdown on June 29. The restaurant has been a Clement Street institution for 16 years, serving up “funky comfort food” ranging from tater tots to duck confit.

Owners Brinn and Andrew wrote a long letter to their customers (full text below), explaining that they are calling it quits after “years of disabling back problems, it is time to give Andrew the opportunity to focus on his health”.

In a neighborhood full of ethnic restaurants, Q was one of the few spots where you could always get a good hamburger, mac and cheese and other American comfort foods. Guy Fieri featured Q on an episode of his “Diners, Drive-ins & Dives” show on the Food Network.

Owner Brinn says that the closing is “definitely a sad thing for us”, but after 16 years she feels good about “the comfort that we brought, the friendliness that we brought to the neighborhood.”

“I’m sad to see that end. It’s an end of an era. It was Andrew’s dream, he worked on this for his whole life. His mom taught him to cook. This was his passion,” Brinn told us.

Much of Q’s staff are long-timers as well. The first employee is still working at Q, and a lot of the kitchen staff have been there over 6 years.

“It is so rare to find such a dedicated, hardworking, and friendly staff anywhere. We became a family. We took care of each other. We are so grateful for the love and tremendous efforts by our amazing staff,” they wrote in their farewell letter.

Brinn said they never dreamed that Q would last as long as it did. “We had no idea we’d be there for 16 years. We were stoked we made it through 2 or 3,” she told us.

And while Q didn’t change much in its 16 years, Clement Street has.

“The street has changed so much in 16 years. We started at same time as April in Paris. Busvan for Bargains Furniture store was open when we first opened! There’s still a lot of diversity, maybe it’s even more diverse now,” Brinn said.

Brinn had no specifics on what their next chapter or venture would be, other than to say that Q is definitely closing and will not be coming back. She says she thinks another restaurant may open in the Q space but doesn’t know more than that.

Q’s last day of business will be on Sunday, June 29.

“We’re hoping people will come in one more time, let’s have one more meal together,” Brinn said.

Sarah B.

===============================================

Q’S LETTER TO ITS CUSTOMERS:

Farewell San Francisco
It is with a heavy heart that after almost 16 years of great food, delicious wine, wonderful people, fun times, hard work, ups and downs, (and a few Hokey Pokeys thrown into the mix), Q owners Andrew and Brinn have decided it’s time to move on to the next life adventure. After years of disabling back problems, it is time to give Andrew the opportunity to focus on his health. This has been a very difficult and emotional decision and we are so sad to say goodbye, but health takes priority.

Q gave us all a place to feel at home. It was the site of first dates, marriage proposals, graduation celebrations, wedding rehearsal dinners, children growing up, epic parties, Q Balls, Crab and Champagne Feasts, Sunday brunch with friends, and many other completely routine and sometimes totally extraordinary moments. Q was the friend you knew would be there when you needed them. Q was comforting. Q was a welcoming, smiling face. Q was home.

Q is greater than the sum of its parts. To make a list of the regular customers would be a 1000 page book. Thank you to all of our customers. We loved taking care of you, and thank you for taking care of us too. The spirit of Q is something we all can keep alive by maintaining the connections of the people we met and grew to love there. Have crab and champagne feasts in your homes at Thanksgiving, say hello when you pass people on the street, share wine with your neighbors. You have the power to keep the spirit alive.

There are no words that clearly express the love and gratitude we feel for our staff that worked so hard to keep the vision alive. Restaurant work is not easy. It takes commitment, thick skin, and a really good sense of humor. It is so rare to find such a dedicated, hardworking, and friendly staff anywhere. We became a family. We took care of each other. We are so grateful for the love and tremendous efforts by our amazing staff. We wish everyone the best of luck in whatever path they chose in their future and look forward to lifelong friendships with you.

Deep gratitude and credit goes to Andrew for creating and developing a vision that supported ours and many other families while serving up over a million delicious plates of Funky American Comfort food. The flavors you created made all of our taste buds dance. Thank you Andrew for the heart, body and soul you poured into Q.

This corner of San Francisco has something special – warm and welcoming neighbors, support for individuality, a comfortable place to nurture ones dreams, dedicated small business owners and a safe neighborhood for families to grow. It has truly been an honor to live and serve here. We sincerely hope the strong sense of community in the Inner Richmond continues and thrives forever.

Q’s last day will be Sunday, June 29, 2014. Please come see us over the next month to get a last few Q meals, share stories, write on our memory wall, and say goodbye.

Thank you for 16 wonderful years San Francisco, we will miss you tremendously. Now, go out and save the world!

4:30 am | Posted under Business, Food | 27 comments
Apr-4-2014

Local links: MUNIhack, Bubble tea wars, hot wings, greenbates & more


Photo by Bolditalic

Farewell Friday, hello weekend! Here are some local links to ease you into it…

  • #MUNIhack – Nope, you’re not seeing things. That is a Prius with trolley poles on its roof so it can run off the power from MUNI lines. Bolditalic got’s the story about the car’s creator, an outer Richmond District resident named Jon. “You know it, dude! 150 miles of free energy courtesy of Mr. MTA!”
  • #Springblooms – The Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park is hosting a Spring Bloom sale this Saturday from 10am to 1pm. Featuring many varieties of Grevillea, Abutilon and the garden’s native Ceanothus, Iris and assorted annual native wildflower starts.
  • #HotWings – Wings fans will be finding their way to Hot Sauce and Panko (1545 Clement) soon after a nice review in the Chronicle. “But it would be a shame not to make Hot Sauce and Panko part of the weekly routine. With a dozen varieties of the handheld chicken pieces at any given time, not to mention a couple of seriously decadent sandwiches, this place is worth a visit.”
  • #GreenBates – The SF Dept of Energy is hosting a Energy Upgrade California workshop at the Anza branch library on Saturday, April 12 from 2-3pm. Learn how to increase your home’s energy efficiency with energy upgrades such as sealing air leaks or installing insulation, a new furnace, or energy efficient window – moves that could yield you $1,000 to $4,500 in rebates. A neighborhood resident will there to talk about his experience in the program.
  • #BubbleTeaWars – Share Tea recently opened on Geary near 18th Avenue in what used to be the Samila Thai restaurant space. They have two other locations in Berkeley and San Mateo. The 5336 Geary location is open Sunday – Thursday from 12noon to 9pm, and until 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights. We may have a bubble tea war on our hands – InfiniTea is just across the street.
11:17 am | Posted under Food, Golden Gate Park, Green, Muni | 11 comments
Mar-27-2014

Local links: Pho closing, Saturday events, Farmer’s Market extended & more


Even the dogs can’t help smiling at Lands End. Photo by Jonathan Fleming

While you’re trying to fathom the litany of charges in State Senator Yee’s indictment, take a moment to check out these less threatening local links:

  • No mo’ pho: Reader Chet informed us that Pho Garden (2109 Clement), home of the infamous (and nausea inducing) Pho challenge, has closed. A call to their business phone number ends in a disconnected message.
  • Looks like Clement Street’s Barley Cafe has met the same fate. Eater SF reports that after only six months, Barley (343 Clement) has called it quits. The cafe has been locked up for the past couple of weeks and a phone call goes straight to voicemail.
  • Good news for fans of the Clement Street Farmer’s Market – The market’s life has been extended for another year until June 2015. The market will also add another block beginning April 6th, so it will run from Arguello Street to 4th Avenue every Sunday from 9am until 2pm.
  • Want to help your neighbors and community in a time of crisis? Enroll in a free NERT (SFFD Neighborhood Emergency Response Team) course on Wednesday June 11, 2014 from 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Richmond Branch Library. Learn skills to be prepared for emergencies big or small, and get to know your neighbors on your block to maximize resiliency after a disaster. Register online – it’s free!
  • A skateboard park at Ocean Beach? Radical, dude. It could happen if the San Francisco Skateboarding Association‘s vision comes to live. They were behind the successful Balboa Skate Park and have set their sights on Ocean Beach. Rec & Park is into it. Might not be Playland but sounds like a fun idea! [CurbedSF]
  • Fredy’s Deli near Ocean Beach has a new owner and a new lease on life. The Ocean Bulletin profiled new owners David “Kawika” Nottage and his wife, Joanne who are “trying to keep the best parts of what made Fredy’s Ocean Beach Deli a neighborhood favorite, while introducing some additions such as gluten-free menu items and an expanded selection of wine.”

FREE EVENTS THIS SATURDAY, MARCH 29

  • Got veggies? Master Gardener Jonathan Propp will be at the Richmond District Branch Library this Saturday from 2-3:30pm to lead a free course on how to grow vegetables in your SF backyard. His presentation will cover selection of climate-appropriate varieties, soil and bed preparation, propagation and planting techniques, and plant maintenance.
  • Walk among the flowers: Wildflowers have started to bloom all over our parks including Lands End. The Parks Conservancy leads free walks every Saturday from noon until 1pm through May 31, including a special Mother’s Day walk on May 10. Info & registration here
  • This Saturday, Supervisor Eric Mar is sponsoring a Richmond District Housing Rights Town Hall from 2 to 4pm at the Richmond Recreation Center (251 18th Avenue). Learn about your rights and obligations as San Francisco tenants and landlords, hear from experts and get your questions answered.
9:25 am | Posted under Classes, Eric Mar, Events, Food, Ocean Beach, Parks, Volunteer | 29 comments
Feb-17-2014

Chapeau! staff secrets revealed on episode of “Mystery Diners”

A couple of weeks ago, the Food Network aired an episode of their show Mystery Diners entitled “Pardon My French”, featuring Clement Street’s Chapeau!, a popular French bistro.

Mystery Diners is a reality show in which a crew goes undercover to find out what issues a restaurant may be having with its kitchen, wait staff or other personnel.

Chapeau! owner Philippe Gardelle, who opened the restaurant in 1996, is known for not only his excellent Southern French cuisine, but also for his warm, effusive manner with his patrons. So we were intrigued when the episode teaser said he was concerned that some of his wait staff were being rude with customers. We have only ever heard stellar reviews from readers who have dined there.

Enter Mystery Diners, who after consulting with Philippe, wired the restaurant with multiple cameras and mics, and focused their attention on a few waiters that Philippe thought might be the issue. The vacant space next door to them on Clement was used as the control center.

The episode was really entertaining because not only did it confirm Philippe’s suspicion, but the secret cameras also uncovered a host of other issues going on in the restaurant.

It turns out that Philippe’s own teenage son, Andrew, who is a busboy at the restaurant, was pulling the teenage hostess away from her station so they could lock lips in the alley. He also liked to take smoke breaks and talk down to the wait staff.

In another alarming scene, waiter Michael brazenly steals a $30 tip from another waiter’s table.

Another waiter proved to be hidden camera gold and the source of customer complaints. Renaud, a French waiter, starts out his shift by shirking off his training duties for a new hire, who is part of the Mystery Diners crew. Strike one!

But Renaud really loses it when one of the mystery diners insists on ordering white wine with her filet mignon.

His reaction? To tell her that it will be horrible and that he is bringing her red wine regardless. Owner Philippe watches the uncomfortable interaction unfold on screens in the control room, all the while swearing in French and pulling his hair out. Strike two!

Renaud then proceeds to the back alley to smoke, pace and vent, mumbling under his breath at the customer’s ridiculous order and how white wine would ruin their filet mignon. Meanwhile the diners have already walked out of the restaurant, abandoning their order. Oh mon dieu – strike three!

The end result? The sticky fingered waiter was fired (go Philippe!), son Andrew got a talking to and promised to work harder, and Renaud, after admitting he was stressed out from trying to quit smoking, was given a second chance.

You can watch the full episode for free via Comcast on Demand, or via Youtube ($1.99) or on iTunes ($2.99).

Bon apetit and thanks to reader Chet for the tip!

Sarah B.


Chapeau! owner Philippe Gardelle (L) watches the drama unfold from the control room

4:45 am | Posted under Food | 6 comments
Feb-13-2014

Local Links: Balboa is 88, museum news, new BBQ, 20 years of LGBTQ & more


Photo by Daniel Hoherd

We’ve been storing up a lot of great linkage for ya! Enjoy – Sarah B.

  • The Balboa Theater turns 88 this weekend and is celebrating on Sunday with a party and screening of Frank Capra’s 1926 silent film The Strong Man. Festivities begin at 7pm and tickets are $10 (online or at the box office). Happy 88th Balboa!
  • New traffic lights are coming to the intersections of 22nd Avenue & Geary, and 26th Avenue & Geary. In a recent Richmond District Transportation Updates email, Supervisor Eric Mar wrote “Located near a Jackie Chan Senior Center, a middle school, and a church, these lights will provide much-needed safety improvements.”
  • We wrote last week about the Legion of Honor’s link to the new movie Monuments Men. The museum now has on display Anthony Van Dyck’s Portrait of a Lady (ca. 1620), one of the paintings that Monument Man and Legion Director Thomas Howe Carr, Jr. discovered with the platoon in WWII. The painting was returned to its rightful owner and then passed through various other hands before being donated to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco by Roscoe and Margaret Oakes in the mid-1970s, just a few years after Howe retired.
  • In other museum news, the new Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George exhibition opens at the de Young this Saturday. “From 1918 until the early 1930s, O’Keeffe retreated regularly to Alfred Stieglitz’s family estate on Lake George in upstate New York, where she reveled in the discovery of new subject matter and found respite in the rural setting without the distractions of city life.”
  • Ireland’s 32 will soon expand their offering to include bites from Baby Blues BBQ. The Geary Street bar is currently renovating their kitchen and Baby Blues plans to take over on Saturday March 1st. Menu items include the Badass Burger (blue cheese, two onions, and applewood-smoked bacon ground into the patty), a “rib tickler” (three smoked pork ribs over coleslaw), grilled shrimp over grits topped with rémoulade and much more. [Tablehopper]
  • Muriel Leff mini-park on 7th Avenue just off Geary is hosting a volunteer day on Saturday, February 22 for cleanup and beautification. The park was San Francisco’s first pocket park, established in the former police horse paddock for the Richmond Police Station. The workday runs from 10am until 1pm; lunch and light refreshments provided for those who RSVP to recparkvolunteer@sfgov.org.
  • This Sunday marks the 20th anniversary of Pine United Methodist Church (426 – 33rd Avenue) opening its doors to the LGBTQ community, the first API church to take this historic step. The church is holding a celebration with potluck lunch, music, sharing, community building, and justice-making starting at 1:30pm. The event is free, but please bring a dish to share.
  • The RDNC is offering free nutritious cooking classes for parents and kids focused on “Cooking with the Five Flavors”. Remaining classes are February 20th – Bitter, March 27th – Salty, April 10th – Sweet, and May 15th – Sour. Classes begin at 6pm and are FREE and open to everyone. To reserve a spot email sarah@rvbeacon.org or call 415-750-8554.
  • The new Yoga Tree on 6th Avenue is hosting a Community Party and Opening Reception this Saturday from 2pm to 4pm. All the details here
5:05 am | Posted under Events, Food, Museums, Parks, Traffic | 4 comments
Jan-21-2014

“King’s Thai Cuisine” is new branding for Thai restaurants on Clement


Photo by Derek

Last week we posted about the two King of Thai restaurants on Clement Street dropping / losing their royal monikers.

We haven’t been able to confirm the reason for the change, but surmised it was a trademark dispute or possibly a business divorce.

This week, the restaurant signs have changed once again. The location at 639 Clement has been relabeled as “King’s Thai Cuisine”. We assume the other location at 346 Clement Street will soon follow suit.

As we said in the last post about this, they can be called whatever they want – as long as they stick around! :) As one tweeter wrote, “As long as I can still get tasty pumpkin curry and pad kee mao in 4 minutes flat, they’ll always be the King of Thai to me.”

Sarah B.

10:43 am | Posted under Business, Food | Comments Off on “King’s Thai Cuisine” is new branding for Thai restaurants on Clement
Jan-15-2014

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
Jan-3-2014

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