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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.

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 10:43 am | Posted under Business, Food | Add comments
Jan-21-2014

Photo: “My Richmond District Home”


Photo by phoca2004

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 10:34 am | Posted under Photos | Add comments
Jan-20-2014

Washington High students get a lesson in manufacturing with Eric Mar, SFMade


George Washington High School students get hands-on experience in manufacturing at TechShop

Last Friday, a group of Washington High School students visited TechShop, a fabrication and protoyping studio located South of Market.

The students are all enrolled in an Automotive elective class at Washington High, and their visit is part of a new pilot program funded by Supervisor Eric Mar’s office called Inside Manufacturing. The goal of the program is to expose students to local manufacturing careers, enabling them to meet entrepreneurs and explore ideas through hands-on workshops and technology.

SFMade is a partner in the Inside Manufacturing program as well. The organization is focused on developing the local manufacturing sector by building and supporting the community of entrepreneurs, and promoting locally made products and businesses.

During their trip to TechShop, the students made customized tool racks using acrylic and metal, using the nearly $1 million worth of equipment that sits in the TechShop workspace.

The students also received a demonstration of 3D printing from Type A Machines, a local company that is working to build affordable 3D printers.

The visit to TechShop was the culmination of the pilot year of the Inside Manufacturing program, whose long-term goal is to create sustainable, long-term employment opportunities for youth in local manufacturing – as employees and as entrepreneurs/business owners.

Sarah B.


George Washington High School students talk with Supervisor Mar about the Inside Manufacturing program

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 11:18 am | Posted under Eric Mar, Schools | 1 comment
Jan-17-2014

Police Blotter – January 17, 2014 | Message from new Captain

MESSAGE FROM CAPTAIN SIMON SILVERMAN
My name is Simon Silverman and I am excited to be taking over as the Captain of Richmond Station. I’d like to congratulate Sharon Ferrigno who has earned a well deserved promotion to Commander. I have big shoes to fill and I promise to carry on the great work that Commander Ferrigno and the members of the station have been doing. Since Commander Ferrigno will be my new boss, she will still be involved in the district with us. I’m honored to have been entrusted with the care of the Richmond District and I look forward to working with the community to keep the district safe.

The SF 49ers are playing in the Divisional Championship on Sunday, January 19th. We are asking our residents and merchants, especially those along Geary and Clement Sts who have garbage pick-up on Monday morning to place their bins out either very late Sunday night or early Monday morning. This can help alleviate trash being thrown or bins being knocked around in the event of spontaneous celebrations or mourning.

Our next Community meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 6pm. It will be in the Community Room, here at Richmond Station, 461 6th Ave.

NOTEWORTHY ARRESTS
On 01/13/14 at 9:45pm, officers were called to the area of Parker and California on a report of a male digging through resident’s trash bins. They located the male rummaging through the cans and scattering garbage onto the sidewalk. The male told the officers that he was homeless and looking for recyclables. He also informed the officers that he was on probation for narcotic violations. Officer located a flashlight in his pocket and a sparkplug in his backpack. He informed the officers that he uses the sparkplug to break out the window of vehicle to steal items from inside. He does this to support his drug habit. The male was charged with possession of burglar tools.

On 01/14/14 at 5:50am officers responded to a call of a male who tried to force entry into an apartment building on the 700 block of the Great Highway. The caller initially came across the suspect as she was walking her dog and he asked if she knew where San Jose was. He then asked if she had any cigarettes or a CD. She replied no and then believing he was under the influence, quickly left the area. She checked to see if he was following, but he was gone. She then got to her front door and was cut off by the suspect who put himself in between the victim and the front door. The suspect asked if he could come to her apartment as he needed a place to sleep. She told him no and was able to slip by him and get the front door open. When she started to close it, he tried to push it open from outside. After several minutes of back and forth the victim was able to get the door closed and locked it. She then contacted 911 and officers located the male near the building. The suspect told the officers that he had been doing drugs and just wanted a place to sleep. The suspect, a 20 year old male, was charged with burglary and being under the influence of narcotics.

On 01/16/14 at 3pm, officers were traveling on Fulton and observed the suspect cross Fulton St on the red light. The officers stopped to speak to the male and had him sit on the curb while attempting to identify him. He originally told the officers he was 34yrs, but gave them a date of birth that made him 30. When the officers questioned this, the suspect got extremely nervous and began to look around. Suddenly he stood up and ran eastbound on Fulton. The officers caught him and he tried to break free of their grasp. They finally got him to the ground and were able to handcuff the male. They were finally able to determine his true identity and discovered he had to outstanding warrants for his arrest for possession of stolen property from Placer County. The 36 year old was charged with resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and the warrants.

NOTEWORTHY INCIDENTS
Between 01/10/14, 730am and 01/11/2014, 10am on the 200 block of Anza St, a suspect entered a residence, possibly through an unlocked window. The suspect took a laptop and ipad mini.

Between 01/11/14, 3pm and 01/12/14, 12pm on the unit block of Manzanita, a suspect entered a shared garage by unknown means and took a bike.

Between 01/11/14, 4pm and 01/13/14, 8:30am on the 5600 block of Geary, a suspect entered a business by kicking in a side door. The suspect then entered an office and took cash and credit cards.

Between 01/11/14, 5:30pm and 01/12/14, 9:40am on the 600 block of 12th Ave, a suspect forced open a door to a home under construction. The suspect took tools.

On 01/13/14, between 11:30am and 6:50pm on the 300 block of Maple, a suspect forced open the main door to an apartment building. The suspect then pried open the door to one of the apartments and took an iPad. The suspect then entered the garage and broke the hasp on a storage unit and took a bike.

Between 01/13/14, 4pm and 01/14/14, 7am on the 2600 block of Pine St, the suspect pried open a door to a home under construction and took numerous tools.

On 01/14/14, between 5am and 5:45pm on the 800 block of 28th Ave, the suspect pried open the front gate to a residence. The suspect then went through the front door and took a bike that was in the front entry way.

Between 01/15/14, 5:20pm and 01/16/14, 6:45am on the 2000 block of Scott St, a suspect entered a home under construction by unknown means. The suspect took numerous tools.

On 01/16/14, between 8:20am and 8:40am, two different residences were broken into on the 700 block of Arguello. A caller reported seeing a man reaching into an open window of her neighbor’s home. The male was talking to someone else who the caller could not see. She called 911 and reported the incident providing a description of the suspect as a black male with short hair wearing a gray tank top. As the officers arrived, the residents of another home on the block were out in front as they had just chased a white male from their home. Those residents were asleep and one of them heard a noise and went into the hallway and saw the male with their backpack. That resident started yelling which woke up the rest of the roommates. When the suspect fled the home, he dropped the backpack which contained a laptop and fled south on Arguello. The white male was 28-35yrs, wearing a gray military style cap, black jacket and dark pants.

The home where the caller saw the black male was also burglarized and officers spoke to those tenants when they returned home later in the evening. From that home a laptop, e-reader, jewelry and an iPad were taken.

On 01/17/14 at 2am, a resident of a home on the 100 block of Ewing Terrace awoke to the sound of the garage door opening. She had been asleep in a bedroom off of the garage. She then heard two voices whispering and footsteps. She called her roommate who was asleep upstairs to see if it was him in the garage. He told her that he was in his room and to call the police. The upstairs tenant then looked out the front window and saw a bicycle in front of his garage and also called 911. The suspects fled the scene and when the officers conducted a search, the victims told them that two of their bikes had been stolen, but the two bikes out in front had been left by the suspects. There were no signs of forced entry into the garage.

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 5:30 pm | Posted under Crime | 5 comments
Jan-17-2014

Latest updates on La Playa Safeway remodel; targeting completion in 2017


Rendering of the new Safeway entrance at La Playa and Fulton

At Wednesday night’s general meeting of the Planning Association for the Richmond (PAR), Safeway Real Estate Manager Natalie Mattei was in attendance to provide updates on the remodel project for the Safeway store located at Fulton and La Playa near Ocean Beach.

The planned remodel, which will expand the store’s footprint from its current 40,000 square feet to nearly 59,000, has been underway for several years. The project is currently in its environmental review phase, and expects to be in front of the Planning Commission for final approval by the end of 2014.

In addition to a completely new store, the remodel will also include 40-45 residential units on the north end of the property along Cabrillo and La Playa.

STORE MAY CLOSE DURING RECONSTRUCTION
Mattei says the original plan was to keep the store open during construction, however the new design may make that more difficult than originally anticipated. The new design includes an underground loading dock, which during construction would require that the store entrance and temporary loading dock be one and the same, posing potential safety issues.

If Safeway closes the store during construction, the store could open sooner than anticipated by speeding up construction by 6-7 months. With a store shutdown, construction would last about 15 months.

If the store were to close, the closest supermarkets for outer Richmond residents would be Fresh & Easy on 32nd and Clement, Grocery Outlet on 28th and Geary, and Safeway at 7th Avenue and Cabrillo. Mattei said they are still debating whether to close the store during the remodel and have not reached a decision.

STUDY REVEALS HIGH RATE OF PARKING “POACHING”
Part of the environmental phase of the project includes a traffic study. Mattei says cameras were placed around the current parking lots to measure “poaching”, or when non-shoppers take up parking lot spaces. Results showed that on the weekends, 30-40% of the 215 parking spaces were taken by poachers which could be beach-goers, residents, or visitors to nearby homes or Golden Gate Park.

As a result, Mattei says they are considering a gate setup where shoppers would take a parking card on entry which they could validate in store for free exit. Safeway would provide up to 2 hours of free parking to customers. In the new design, there will be a two level parking structure with space for 200 cars.

RESIDENTIAL UNITS
As has been the plan since the beginning, Safeway will sell off some of the square block that they own for the development of residential units, mainly along the north end on Cabrillo and La Playa.

Right now Mattei estimates that 40 to 45 units will be built and include studios (450 sq. ft), 1 bedrooms (680 sq. ft.) or 2 bedrooms (850 sq. ft.). Some units will have balconies and parking.

Safeway does not develop residential real estate so they will put out the parcels for bid to developers for the project. Mattei estimates that the residential units will begin construction once the new store is re-opened.

RECYCLING UNIT WILL BE ELIMINATED; POSSIBLE COFFEE AND BANK SUBTENANTS
Mattei said the current recycling unit will be removed from the new Safeway, due to limitations in the design that will not accommodate the type of truck that is used for pickup. She also said that a coffee and a banking subtenant are likely to be part of the new store.

Currently Safeway partners with Starbucks and US Bank or Wells Fargo, but says partnership deals change periodically. So by the time the store is slated to open in 2017, they may be different companies.

CHANGES TO MUNI STOPS ON LA PLAYA
Currently there are two Muni stops on La Playa – one at the corner of Fulton, and another at the corner of La Playa and Cabrillo. The latter stop overlaps with a parking lot entrance to the new residential units, so project planners are likely to ask the SFMTA to reduce the Muni stops to just one on La Playa, in front of the store’s main entrance at Fulton.

STORE COULD REOPEN IN 2017
Mattei expects the project to be in front of the SF Planning Commission by the end of 2014 for review and hopefully a speedy approval. Assuming that goes well, the project would go out for bid and permit applications would be filed, which would take another 12 months. At the earliest, construction would begin in 2016, slating the re-opening for sometime in 2017.

For more information and the latest updates on the Safeway La Playa remodel, visit the project website at safewayonlaplayasf.com. You can also download the latest drawings here.

Sarah B.


Rendering of the new Safeway from Fulton Street


Plans showing the layout of the new Safeway which includes the store (pink), 200 parking spaces, and residential units (yellow).

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 4:15 am | Posted under Business | 20 comments
Jan-16-2014

It’s all about the blooming magnolias at GGP’s Botanical Gardens


Photo by James Gaither

While the rest of the country is bundled up, we’re enjoying record high temps and blooming magnolia trees at the SF Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park.

Mid-January through mid-March is the best time of year to see the magnolia trees in bloom, and the gardens have a few events to showcase the magnificent flowers.

On Saturday January 18, take the Magnificent Magnolia Tour which includes a tour of the collection in the company of a magnolia expert. The tour runs from 1pm until 3:30pm, and admission is $20, $10 for members. Purchase tickets online in advance. Additional tours will be offered on February 15, March 8, and March 9.

The following Saturday, January 25, the Botanical Garden will host a Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration, featuring lion dancers, lively folk dances, tai chi performances with dazzling sword forms, children’s activities and more. It’s a great chance to see all of the gardens and take in the magnolias. The celebration is free and the full schedule (9am – 3pm) is online.

If you can’t make an organized tour to check out the magnolias, the Botanical Garden also offers a self-guided tour. Pick up a free Magnolia Highlights map at the ticket kiosks.

There are also free docent tours of the magnolias every Saturday, January 18 – March 15, at 2pm, departing from the North Gate.

The Botanical Garden’s magnolia collection includes 51 species and 33 cultivars, including many prized examples from Asia. The collection began in 1939 with Eric Walther, who planted the very first magnolia in the Garden and continued to introduce species and cultivars throughout his tenure as the first Director.

One of the most famous species he planted was the cup and saucer magnolia or Magnolia campbellii, the first of its kind to bloom in the United States in 1940, attracting huge crowds of excited and curious visitors who stood in long lines to see the magnificent large pink blossoms of this lovely magnolia that still stands in the Garden today.

C’est Magnifique!

Sarah B.


Photo by
LVFotos


Photo by
P Gonzales

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 4:41 am | Posted under Events, Golden Gate Park | 1 comment
Jan-15-2014

Mayor Lee wants to eliminate Sunday meter parking – should we?

It’s been a full year now that parking meters have been in effect on Sundays between 12noon and 6pm. When the SFMTA put the new policy in place, they claimed it was “to make sure that motorists can easily find a place to park in commercial areas, which is currently very hard on Sundays.”

At the time, their FAQ about the new policy didn’t say anything about increased revenues for the SFMTA, but we all knew that was really the reason.

And yesterday, Mayor Ed Lee confirmed that, but at the same time said he wants to eliminate the year old program.

“I’ve always felt uncomfortable with it, but Muni was suffering and we needed the money,” Lee said.

The SFMTA estimated that charging for meters on Sunday would bring in a little under $2 million which would help fund a struggling MUNI system. But how much did they really pull in during the first year?

Closer to $6 million according to Matier & Ross.

That’s because about half of the revenue on Sundays is coming from tickets when people forget to pay their meters or let them expire. The ticket for an expired meter can run as high as $72.

Now Lee says they’ve found other ways to finance MUNI so he’s gun-ho to rollback Sunday meter parking (he’s planning to ask voters to approve a $500 million bond in November to fund transportation).

I bet his colleagues at the SFMTA are thrilled with Lee’s desire to rollback the program and strip $6M out of their annual budget!

When we posted about Sunday parking last year, comments were mixed. A lot of people liked the idea because they would be able to park more easily when visiting commercial districts in the city on Sundays. But others were tired of the city’s nickel and diming.

What do you think? Should Sunday meter parking stay as is, or be eliminated again? Take the poll below and leave us a comment with your thoughts. Merchants, we especially want to hear from you!

Sarah B.

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 12:17 pm | Posted under Transportation | 31 comments
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

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