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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Sep-19-2013

Barley cafe opening Sunday on Clement near 5th Avenue

We mentioned earlier this week that a new cafe was opening up in the former Java House space on Clement near 5th Avenue. Reader Derek saw the doors open on Tuesday and stopped in to get the scoop and snap more pics.

Derek talked to Asher, one of the owner/operators who is also a Richmond District resident. The cafe is called Barley and they’ll start with a soft launch this Sunday, serving just coffee and beverages initially.

Once they get rolling, Asher says they will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner and highlighted some dishes including vanilla bean French toast, on-site roasted chicken, soups and “Smashburgers”.

“The Smashburgers sounded like a twist on sliders consisting of 3 patties grilled with spices and carmelized onions squished together!” Derek said.

Once Barley gets their liquor license, they’ll also be serving beer and wine.

Thanks to Derek for the scoop and the pics. We look forward to trying it!

Sarah B.


Interior seating


The planted wall on the covered front patio


Seating on the covered front patio

4:30 am | Posted under Business, Food | 14 comments
Sep-17-2013

New bizness: Three Bees buzz back, LOLA Clothing, and two mystery cafes


Some of the new finishes going in at the former Java House on Clement near 5th Avenue. Photos by Derek

There’s lots of business activity happening in the neighborhood! Thanks to everyone for sending in your tips.

  • We hear that Three Bees Nursery (1921 Clement) has finally re-opened as Clement Nursery after a closure and remodel. You can find them on Facebook, where they mention “the new nursery yard is teeming with interesting new flowers, grasses, vines, shrubs and trees”, “the dairy barn is restored and introduces garden antiquities, soaps, candles, jewelery, art and more”, and “the 1904 cottage at the rear of the nursery has been uncovered, restored, and fitted with a new arbor to finally give a home to our 40 year old wisteria”.
  • LOLA Clothing opened in the former April in Paris space at 55 Clement Street. We peeked in through the window on Sunday and the clothes are lovely – high end, custom designs from beautiful fabrics. Owner and designer Lola grew up sewing with her mother and says on her website that “fashion runs in my blood”.
  • Construction is underway at the former Java House location on Clement near 5th Avenue (they moved to a smaller space at 2nd Ave and Anza). What was once a dilapidated, slightly scary coffee shop is getting new wood paneled walls, subway tile and a big cleaning. We still don’t know what it’s going to be, but definitely something cleaner and friendlier we hope. :)
  • The former Haig’s Delicatessen on Clement Street near 8th Avenue is still papered over but there’s a liquor license application notice posted in the window for “Locals Cafe”. We can’t find anything about them online, so their concept, menu and opening date are still a mystery…

Sarah B.

10:59 am | Posted under Business, Food | 32 comments
Sep-2-2013

Local links: Sparky’s afterschool, Paul’s Hats expands to KY, Bernice Bing & more


Traffic backed up on 25th Avenue this weekend. Photo by David H.

Here’s a smattering of local links spanning from a fun, afterschool program to a Kentucky expansion of one of our oldest businesses!

  • Even “all the way out here”, we’re feeling the effects of the Bay Bridge closure. All arteries leading to the Golden Gate Bridge have been a parking lot this weekend, including Park Presidio and the 25th Avenue entrance to the Presidio. Good news – the bridge is due to open on time tomorrow morning!
  • Last year, Paul’s Hat Works on Geary launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for a new store in New York City. After further evaluation, the business, owned by four women, has decided to instead open their second store in Louisville, Kentucky. Paul’s has had great success selling their hats in a “pop-up” fashion during the derby – “the foremost hat event in the United States” – for the past few years. “This will be the first “second” Paul’s Hat Works since its founding in 1918. We will take custom orders at this new store, sell straw and felt hats, do hat cleanings, and hat finishing at this new store… We are very excited, a little nervous, but mostly grateful, to all of you who have made this possible for us.”
  • Sparky’s Toys & Balloons at 115 Clement Street has launched a new afterschool art program in partnership with Oflauer Design for kids age 6.5 up to 13 years old. The 6 week, $510 program promises to be “filled with Crafting, Drawing, Painting, Gardening & Floristry” and takes place at Sparky’s store. For more info, visit the Oflauer website.
  • On Friday, September 13 the de Young Museum will screen a new documentary short, The Worlds of Bernice Bing, about the life of San Francisco artist Bernice Bing. The Worlds of Bernice Bing illuminates the life and times of Bernice Bing – artist, Chinese American, lesbian, and activist. The powerful story of a woman who used color, paintbrush, and canvas to speak from her heart, this film promises to energize and inspire viewers with the resilience of a unique American icon. (Facebook). Admission is free and tickets will be available at the event beginning at 6pm; the film is at 7pm.
  • Amphawa Thai Noodle House on Geary near 14th Avenue was featured by SFGate as a Bargain Bite last week. “Amphawa doesn’t have the style of hipper counterparts in the Tenderloin, but it serves home-style Thai food with fresh ingredients and deep flavor, and without backing down on the spice level.”
4:23 pm | Posted under Business, Food, Golden Gate Park, Kids, Movies, Museums | 3 comments
Aug-31-2013

E. coli outbreak at Burma Superstar; restaurant voluntarily closes for weekend

On Friday, the Health Department released a statement confirming an E. coli outbreak that sickened 14 people in San Francisco, many of whom had eaten at Burma Superstar around August 16th or 17th.

It’s the first such incident for the popular Clement Street restaurant, which has been in business for 17 years and always has a long line of customers waiting for a table.

The restaurant voluntarily closed on Friday for the weekend, and posted a letter on their windows for customers.

The letter includes a statement from Burma Superstar owner Desmond Tan, saying “we are confident any exposure has been eliminated”. Tan goes on to say that he voluntarily decided to close the restaurant for Labor Day weekend, but will re-open on Monday, September 2.

Alongside Tan’s statement is one from Tomas J. Aragon, a San Francisco Health Officer. In it, he wrote “Based on our current investigation, our preliminary conclusion is that there is no ongoing risk to the public’s health”. He also said the restaurant will remain open.

According to Aragon’s statement, the strain of E. coli found in those who became sick was E. coli O157, which can cause severe illness, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. E. coli, formally known as Escherichia coli, is typically transmitted through contaminated water or food, or through contact with animals or persons (Center for Disease Control).

Burma Superstar has two other locations in the Bay Area – Oakland and Alameda – and owner Desmond Tan also owns and operates two other restaurants just down the block on Clement Street – B Star Cafe and Eats.

Sarah B.


A passerby stops to read the E. coli notice posted on the windows of Burma Superstar

1:31 pm | Posted under Business, Food, Health | 14 comments
Jul-25-2013

Cassava Bakery taps the community to fund a new outdoor patio

It’s been just over a year since Cassava Bakery opened on Balboa near 36th Avenue, but the small cafe, owned by married couple Yuka Ioroi and Kristoffer Toliao, has already expanded.

The cafe has been popular since it opened, offering up a unique Japanese breakfast, tasty cafe bites from chef Kris, great coffee, and pop-up dinners on Friday nights with gourmet menus.

But the real reason it’s popular is its atmosphere and neighborhood feel. Yuka and Kris know their customers, and make them feel at home and comfortable. I remember stopping in early on and having to sit outside because their few inside tables were full. Yuka came out with warm blankets to put on us to weather the Richmond fog.

Earlier this month, “Cassava 2.0″ re-opened after completing construction to expand into the space next door.

That expansion, coupled with a larger restaurant menu and future bar service, is inching Cassava closer to the vision Yuka and Kris have of bringing the Parisian cafe experience to the outer Richmond District. A place where neighbors can come together, enjoy good food and drink, discuss the issues of the day, or just relax.

To keep going, Cassava is turning to the community via Kickstarter for help with bringing their next vision to life: an outdoor patio featuring an edible garden that chef Kris can cook with.

It’s not the first time a local business has turned to its supporters for financial help. In Late 2011, the Bazaar Cafe on California Street revealed that they were struggling financially, and would have to close. Customers and community members stepped up and donated $20,000 to keep the cafe in business.

Check out Cassava’s video above, and if you’d like to contribute to their vision, visit their Kickstarter page. As with most Kickstarter projects, different levels of contribution to Cassava’s project comes with a bonus like an e-book of Chef Kris’ favorite recipes, invitation to a private thank you party, 3-course meals prepared by Chef Kris, and even a 1 on 1 cooking lesson.

Every Kickstarter contribution is a pledge – if Cassava doesn’t make their goal, no one contributes. Their goal is to raise $20,000 by August 2, and they’re over halfway there.

Good luck Cassava!

Sarah B.

1:50 pm | Posted under Business, Food | 13 comments
Jul-22-2013

Ro Cafe brings Turkish coffee, baklava and other Kurdish delights to 5th & Calif.


Owner Havin Gavgasi stands outside Ro Cafe on 5th & California

Tucked on the southwest corner of 5th and California is the new Ro Cafe, a Kurdish cafe that has been open for just over a month.

Owner Havin Gavgasi, who came to the U.S. four years ago from Kurdistan, took over the lease from the previous cafe. She worked in cafes previously in her career and said she’s always wanted to open her own place.

Ro Cafe serves Graffeo Coffee from North Beach, and offers a Turkish version for those who like a good punch in their cup. The menu features many traditional Kurdish dishes including Kurdish Baklava and Kurdish flatbread, which Gavgasi says is a favorite.

She prepares the flatbread fresh when you order, rolling out the dough and preparing it on a hot flat grill, similar to a crepe cooker. But the final result is a thicker bread, like a thin pizza crust.

The Kurdish Flatbread Panini ($7.25) on the menu is a mix of feta cheese, chopped Italian parsley, and cooked onion placed between two thin layers of fresh dough and baked on the hot grill. It’s served with a side of sliced tomatoes and homemade sauce. You can add chicken to it for an additional $2.

The Kurdish style couscous is another item that Gavgasi says usually surprises people because it’s a little different than other couscous they’ve had before. Her recipe combines couscous with mixed tomato paste, parsley, green onion with Kurdish spices, served with fresh tomatoes and lemon on the side. She says several customers have been happily surprised with her version, and have come back into the cafe to order it again.

The menu also includes a few other sandwiches including a Veggie Sandwich ($5.25), a Chicken Breast Wrap served on Middle Eastern Pita Pita Bread ($6.95), and a Feta Beef Roll, which is oven baked.

If you’re stopping by in the morning, order a Corek (pronounced Chorek), a traditional Kurdish breakfast pastry. One variety has pesto and cheese inside. The cafe also offers a Kurdish Veggie Omelet with a side of ciabatta bread toast.

We tried the baklava while we were there and it was delicious – light, very flaky and sweet. You get two small slices (egg roll size) for $3.25. The other dessert on the menu is Kurdish pudding, served cold.

Gavgasi called her new business Ro Cafe because Ro means “river” in her language, and her native Kurdistan is criss-crossed with them. Cafes in her home country make tea and coffee with water from the rivers, and believe its clean properties make the beverages taste better.

“And Ro is easy to say,” Gavgasi said, laughing. “I also really like the neighbors – they are friendly and come shop here to support my business.”

While we were there, local resident Patricia was enjoying the free Wifi, and eagerly awaiting her flatbread. She lives on Geary and 2nd, and said she escapes to Ro Cafe for good food, as well as some peace and quiet.

Ro Cafe is located at 195 5th Avenue on the corner of California, and is open from 7am until 7pm every day. Stop in to try some Kurdish delights and welcome them to the neighborhood!

Sarah B.


The baklava pastry was very tasty!

5:25 am | Posted under Business, Food | 5 comments
Jul-16-2013

Bizness: Poppy coats, Foggy online, Murasaki closing, My Thai opens & more


Poppy von Frohlich owner Trudy (R) poses with Seedstore owner Cynthia Huie
in her “Lumber Jane” coat

Just like a hyperlocal Wall Street ticker, here are some updates on a few neighborhood businesses. Have a good Tuesday! – Sarah B.

  • We got word on a new cottage business here in the neighborhood called Poppy von Frohlich, specializing in outerwear for women. Owner Trudy tells us, “I design and pattern and sample sew everything in my outer richmond home and then all of my manufacturing is done in down town SF.” She comes out with a new design every 6 weeks and produces a limited amount of each design, offering free fittings and alterations to her local customers at her in-house studio. Check out her designs online at PoppyvonFrohlich.com or stop in Seedstore (212 Clement) to check out some of her designs.
  • Foggy Notion Boutique on 6th Avenue was selected as one of the first businesses to be in Square’s new marketplace, Square Market. So when you can’t make it into the store, or want to show off a cool neighborhood store to your out of town friends and fam, point them here.
  • Some sad news from inner Clement: The owner of Murasaki Sushi (211 Clement), Toshi Sasaki, passed away earlier this month. The restaurant had been closed for a few weeks with a sign saying that the owner was sick. Cynthis Huie of Seedstore wrote to us and said, “He was an amazing sushi chef, who kept my family and I well fed and a really nice man.” Sasaki was born in Hokknido, Japan, and was in the restaurant business for 28 years.
  • A drive down Geary on Monday night reminded us that we never posted about a new doggy boutique and grooming business, Top Dog Boutique Grooming, open at 5050 Geary and 15th Avenue (looks like it used to be Hollywood Dog Grooming in Laurel Heights?). Bring Fido by for a Bath & Brush ($45), and extra $10 gets his teeth brushed too (lots of other services too). The shop also sells premium natural dog food and natural shampoos.
  • We’re a little late with this news but a new restaurant, My Thai has opened up at 908 Clement. Previously it was Zaab Thai Cuisine so we’re not sure if this is a re-branding or new ownership altogether. Their awning promises “Authentic Thai Food & American Breakfast”.


My Thai restaurant at 908 Clement

5:13 am | Posted under Business, Food | 2 comments
Jun-27-2013

Balboa Food News: Shanghai Dumpling re-opens, Hockey Haven does BBQ, Cassava almost ready to re-open, new Marla Bakery in 2014


Artists HsiaoChi Chang and Alex Lee stand in front of their chalkboard mural of Balboa Street inside Cassava Bakery

Lots of food tidbits to report on for outer Balboa this week!

Shanghai Dumpling (3319 Balboa) closed a few months ago for renovations, but reader Steve tells us it is finally back open for business. So if you’ve been jonesing for their dumplings, General Tso chicken or sugar egg puffs, get out there.

I am carnivore, hear me roar… We got a note from Erin at Hockey Haven (3625 Balboa) who tells us that they’ve teamed up with The Boneyard Truck (BBQ), who will be serving from the HH kitchen on Friday and Saturday nights from 6pm until 10pm, and serving Sunday brunch from 11am until 3pm. “Our meats are smoked and roasted to succulent perfection every day. Paired with fresh homemade breads and seasonal side dishes, we create exciting flavor combinations that are sure to awaken your inner carnivore.” Brisket chili nachos, anyone? Erin says Boneyard will also take over the Monday Night Football steak dinners starting in August.

The much beloved Cassava Bakery (3519 Balboa) closed a couple of months ago so they could expand into the space next door. We stopped by last Saturday for a sneak peek and it’s nearly done. They hoped to open this week but next week is more likely. In addition to having a beer and wine license, the “new & improved” Cassava will have seating for roughly 25 inside and 20 outside, an expanded menu, and plans to serve their popular Japanese breakfast every day of the week. They will also continue to offer pop-up dinners on Friday and Saturday nights. Follow them on Facebook for the latest updates.

Speaking of pop-ups – one has decided to commit and settle down on Balboa Street. Tablehopper reports that Marla Bakery plans to open in the former Crown Lock space (3619-21 Balboa). “They will be open for breakfast and lunch daily, plus Sunday suppers, and eventually dinner too (the space will initially be used for pop-up dinners and cooking classes in the evenings). You can also come by to just pick up bread and pastries.” Targeting a Spring 2014 opening.

Bon Appétit Balboa!

Sarah B.

5:01 am | Posted under Business, Food | 2 comments
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