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Video: Yet another reason not to camp in the Park Presidio greenbelt: coyotes

Reader Simon L. shot this video at 6am on Saturday morning of a coyote scrounging for scraps near the corner of Funston and Clement.

And yes, that is a homeless camper just a few feet away, completely oblivious.

Sarah B.

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 11:15 am | Posted under Video, Wildlife | 21 comments

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.



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!

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

Planning Dept pursuing enforcement actions against Alexandria Theater owners

On May 19, city officials were taken on a walk-through of the Alexandria Theater property by building managers. We did not receive specific details about what was seen during the inspection, but based on the flurry of improvements that took place just prior to May 19 (like removing all the graffiti after 90+ days), the management probably cleaned up as much as they could.

An important goal of the walk-through was also to assess the condition of the historic art deco murals inside the building.

The building continues to be a source of blight and vandalism. Earlier this week, someone broke into the theater, smashing a glass panel and a display case inside. Police responded to the late night break-in and searched the building with a police dog, but no suspects were located.

Since the May 19 walk-through, the city has continued pursuing possible actions they can take against the Alexandria ownership group, known as Alexandria Enterprises, LLC, as a result of their negligence in maintaining the building.

In April, 2013 the building owners received approval from the Planning Department for their proposed development, consisting of a small theater and commercial spaces in the main building, and a new residential apartment building on the back parking lot.

A requirement of their approved conditional use permit was that the owners “provide strict security and regular maintenance of the parking lot site and the theatre building to prevent any vandalism of the theatre interior, and to protect its resources (i.e., architectural features and details) until such time the Project is completed as designed,’ as stated page 27, section 23 of their Planning Department Conditional Use Permit.

In addition, the building owners are required to appoint a Community Liaison “to deal with the issues of concern to owners and occupants of nearby properties.” In other words, if neighbors are distraught about graffiti, trash or other maintenance with the property, they have someone to work with on the issues. To date, no liaison has been identified.

And lastly, the ownership is required to “maintain the main entrance to the building and all sidewalks abutting the subject property in a clean and sanitary condition.” Anyone who walks by the theater can see that is not the case as trash, broken glass and other debris accumulates in the main entrance behind unattractive cyclone fencing.

It’s the possible violation of these requirements that the Planning Department is looking into.

“The Planning Department is currently still working with the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) to pursue enforcement actions against the property owners of the Alexandria Theatre regarding maintenance and upkeep of the building,” according to Gina Simi, Media Liaison for the Planning Department.

Supervisor Eric Mar is also involved in the investigation and enforcement actions. Nickolas Pagoulatos in Mar’s office told us he is trying to arrange additional inspections for DBI and the Fire Department. Pagoulatos noticed on the May 19 walkthrough that the interior “looked like it had a lot of water damage”.

If Alexandria Enterprises, LLC is found to be in violation of these requirements, their conditional use permit may be amended or revoked, or the value of their property could be reduced as a penalty.

The theater is currently for sale on some obscure real estate websites. The owners are attempting to sell the building and the approved conditional use permit for the new development as a whole package.

So far the owners’ efforts to sell have been in vain, and their lack of action makes it very clear that they don’t have much interest in keeping up the property. Let’s hope that the city takes swift action to improve the situation.

In the meantime, if you see graffiti, trash or other damage to the building, call 311 or use their mobile app to report it.

In related news, the permit for Express Parking, which operates the back parking lot at the Alexandria, is up for renewal next month. On June 18th, they’ll go before city planning to request a temporary extension on their operating permit.

As reported in the recent KTVU news story (video below) and here on the blog, people camping in their RV’s in the parking lot is not uncommon, and the lot is not well secured or kept clean. Captain Simon Silverman of the Richmond station has asked the Permits section to attach the following conditions on the temporary permit extension:

    – Comply with all relevant laws and rules.
    – An attendant or security guard must be on the premises at all times while the lot is open.
    – When closed, the lot must be secured by a gate or chain lock.
    – Keep the parking lot clear of any drug activity.
    – Not allow people to reside in vehicles on the lot.
    – No mobile homes to be parked overnight on the premises.
    – The parking lot must be clean of all litter and debris.

Sarah B.

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 9:44 am | Posted under Real Estate | 17 comments

Congratulations to the Class of 2014 at George Washington High!

Photo by @sfturkeytrot

You can’t beat that backdrop for a graduation ceremony! Congrats to the Class of 2014.

Sarah B.

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 4:50 pm | Posted under Schools | 3 comments

Police Blotter – May 29, 2014

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of May 29, 2014. To be added to the station’s mailing list, email sfpd.richmond.station@sfgov.org.]

On June 25th at 5:30 pm the Police Commission will hold a public meeting in the Richmond District at Presidio Middle School (450 30th Ave). This is an opportunity for the commissioners to hear directly from residents of the district. I will also give a brief report about Richmond Station. This takes the place of our regular monthly community meeting, so we will not meet on June 17th as we usually would.

On 05/24/14 at 5:54pm, numerous officers responded to a call of a naked male walking in the lanes of traffic. The officers located the 18yr old male and immediately noticed he was under the influence of an unknown narcotic. When the male saw the officers he tensed his body and clenched his fists. The officers attempted to detain the male who continued to fight and tried to break away. At one point he stood up and with his full body weight slammed an officer into a nearby parked semi-truck. Other officers arrived on scene to assist and after a violent struggle; they were able to detain the male. An ambulance was called for the male and he was transported to the hospital for a mental health evaluation due to the fact that he was a danger to himself and others. Several hours later an acquaintance came to Richmond Station to report that the male was missing. She was informed of his whereabouts and the acquaintance told the officer that the male had taken 3 hits of acid earlier in the day.

On 05/25/14 at 9:50pm, officer s were driving on Geary at Presidio when the observed the suspect doing graffiti on the bus shelter. The officers detained the 29yr old male who told them he was doing mathematical equations. The suspect was charged with vandalism.

On 05/25/14 at 10:45pm, the victim was walking on Lyon towards Washington. A suspect came from behind him and grabbed him by his neck. The suspect then struck him in the side of his head with a heavy object and told him to get down on the ground. The suspect demanded his property while pushing a metallic object at the side of his head. The suspect took the victim’s wallet, cell phone and bag. The suspect who was described as a black male wearing a ski mask, fled south on Lyon. Officers were able to track the victim’s cell phone to the gas station at California and Steiner Sts. They observed three males standing outside a black Toyota Camry at the gas pumps and detained them. The officer who was still with the victim “pinged” the victim’s phone, which sounded in one of the suspects pockets. The officers located the victim’s driver’s license and debit card in the waistband of another suspect. The suspects were filling up their vehicle with the victim’s debit card. All three males, 21yrs, 22yrs and 24yrs were all charged with robbery, aggravated assault, possession of stolen property and fraudulent use of a credit card. Two of the three suspects were also on felony probation and were charged with a violation of probation.

On 05/29/14 at 3:30am, officers were called to a vehicle accident at 24th Ave and Geary. It was determined that there was a male in the gas station who was intoxicated and stumbling around. A passenger in a vehicle that was in the station reported to the attendant that the drunk male had fallen and 911 was called. The vehicle that had been at the station was putting air in a tire that was flat and when they were finished went to back out. At this point the drunk male had fallen behind the rear of this vehicle and he was run over. The driver of the vehicle, a 32yr old was also intoxicated and charged with driving under the influence, causing serious injuring.

On 05/23/14 at 5:53pm, the victim had parked his car on the 800 block of Clement St and was putting money in his meter. He heard the suspect say “What’s up homie?” The victim looked towards the suspect who then punched him in the face. The victim fell to the ground onto his back and the suspect kicked him in the face. The suspect then went through the victim’s pockets and took his cell phone and keys. He then threw both items into the street and fled east on Clement St. The victim was transported to a local hospital. The suspect was described as a white male, 18-35yrs of age, wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, gray baseball cap and dark pants.

Between 05/23/14, 10:30pm and 05/24/14, 6:30am on the 300 block of 14th Ave, a suspect broke out the windows of a least 6 vehicles. Some of the cars had been rummaged through, but nothing appears to have been taken.

On 05/24/14 at 12:45am, a caller reported seeing two males breaking out the windows of vehicles parked along Fulton between 38th and 39th Aves. The caller did not know what they were using to break the windows and lost sight of the suspects as they fled north on 38th Ave. Officers located 10 vehicles that had broken windows. Of the registered owners they were able to contact, none reported a loss. The suspects were described as unknown race males, 25-35yrs, both wearing dark clothing. One had a gray backpack, the others was black.

On 05/28/14 at 5am, the caller was awoken to the sound of breaking glass on the 700 block of Arguello. When he looked out his window, he saw a male with a metal bar in his hand attempting to gain access into a business. The suspect apparently gave up and fled to an awaiting U-haul truck being driven by a second suspect. The truck fled north on Arguello Bl. The suspect was described as an unknown race male wearing a gray sweatshirt.

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 2:13 pm | Posted under Crime | 12 comments

Strange pedestrian accident at Chevron on 24th & Geary early this morning

Around 3:30am on Thursday morning, a car pulled into the Chevron gas station at 24th & Geary to attend to a flat tire. The two men in the vehicle began a conversation with an older man, 40 to 50 years old, that was loitering in the station.

After about 20 minutes of conversation, the older man collapsed. The car’s passenger exited the vehicle and asked the attendant to call 911 to help the man.

Then things got very strange. The driver in the car, in what appeared to be an attempt to leave the station, put his car in reverse and proceeded to run over the older man, pinning him under his back tire.

Police and fire responded, and had to jack up the rear end of the car to free the man’s head from under the tire. He was trapped under the car for approximately five to ten minutes.

The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with severe head wounds. He remains in critical condition but is expected to survive.

The driver was taken into custody and will be interviewed to determine if alcohol was a factor in the incident. The passenger is also being detained for questioning.

The Chevron station has also provided the police with surveillance video from the incident.

UPDATE 2:15pm 5-29-14: In the May 29 police blotter, Richmond station reported that the older victim was intoxicated. “There was a male in the gas station who was intoxicated and stumbling around.”

Sarah B.

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 9:20 am | Posted under Crime | 3 comments

Neighborly salute to the Class of 2014 at 15th & Cabrillo

Photo by @SteveSnyderSF

A house on the corner of 15th & Cabrillo is known for dressing up its stone lions in seasonal attire. We saw it during Easter and now, they’ve dressed the Leos in graduation caps complete with tassels and small diplomas hanging from their paws.


Sarah B.

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 11:25 am | Posted under Photos | 7 comments

Hi-Five Sports Zone grand opening on May 31; enter to win a birthday party

CEO Ryan Tuchman (L) and General Manager Chris Tabarez stand on the Hi-Five court with Murphy the mascot.

For several months now, Hi-Five Sports Zone has been building out the former Walgreens space at 5411 Geary. The 5,000 square foot sports facility, designed to host sport classes, camps, leagues and special events, opens this Saturday with a special grand opening celebration.

This is Hi-Five’s first brick and mortar location. It started as a family business in Chicago in 1990. The company also offers its programs, designed for kids age 2-10 years, in Menlo Park, Atherton and Scottsdale, AZ.

Hi-Five chose the Richmond District for their first location because they “wanted to build a unique family sports entertainment destination for the city,” Hi-Five CEO Ryan Tuchman told us.

“It’s in a residential part of the city where families live, and there is a lack of indoor sports facilities there. And the space was perfect for what we needed.”

The large basketball court inside Hi-Five features 6 hoops which adjust in height for different age groups and skill levels. The large court can be used for basketball, flag football, volleyball, turf indoor soccer and more.

The building also includes restrooms, bleacher seating at one end, TV screens and a sound system. Tuchman said that for birthday party rentals, they can create photos collages of the birthday boy or girl and play them on the screens during the party.

Hi-Five’s mascot is Murphy, based on the family’s first French bulldog who passed away recently. You’ll see him featured around the court inside Hi-Five, and for certain programs, kids can collect Murphy Coins for various achievements which can then be redeemed for small prizes.

Chris Tabarez will be the General Manager for the Geary facility. Tabarez taught PE just down the road at Lafayette Elementary School and Brandeis School in Marin. He is also a former San Francisco State Gator and played professional basketball in Mexico.

This Saturday, May 31 from 10am to 2pm, Hi-Five is hosting their grand opening celebration. Stop by 5411 Geary to check out their new facility, meet Murphy the mascot, play games, win prizes and more.

Hi-Five has also established a charitable relationship with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco. They’ve pledged to donate one dollar for every child that registers for its youth sports programs throughout 2014 and will raise money for the hospital during Saturday’s grand opening event.

In honor of their opening, Hi-Five is also giving away a birthday party booking for up to 24 children ($399 value) to a reader of the Richmond Blog. To enter, fill out this short entry form. A winner will be chosen by the Hi-Five team at the grand opening on May 31, but you do not have to be present to win. Deadline for entry is Friday, May 30 at 5pm.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Hi-Five!

Sarah B.

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 9:50 am | Posted under Business, Kids, Sports | 5 comments