Posts Tagged ‘16thmission’

One man’s trash is another man’s toilet

May 27th, 2018

One man's trash is another man's toilet
 

While on my way to run an errand after the Carnaval Parade wrapped up — more on that later — I spotted a humorously placed toilet seat on a public garbage can at 16th Street and Guerrero. The juxtaposition is so perfect, I’d come up with the title of this blog post before I even finished taking the photo.

Well played, anonymous person with an ugly blue toilet seat.

Manny’s, coming to 16th and Valencia

May 17th, 2018

Welcome To Manny’s
 

There’s a space at the corner of 16th and Valencia I walk past almost every day. For many years it was a sushi restaurant, which was eventually replaced by a different sushi restaurant and an ice cream bar.

Since the end of 2017 it’s been vacant with no signs of activity — until the other day, when a poster appeared in the window. I went to check it out, and it turned out to be a letter with a “Manny’s” logo stamped on it. The text of the letter appears almost verbatim on the website for Manny’s.

Reading the letter left me with more questions than answers; would this be an event space? A neighborhood bar? I wanted to know more. Thankfully the poster included an email address, so I reached out to Manny himself with a few questions on behalf of my little blogging operation.

Here’s full text of my email interview:
 

Eric: Tell us a little about yourself and what made you decide to focus on civic engagement in San Francisco?

Manny: I came to San Francisco after working on President Obama’s re-elect as an organizer in New Hampshire. San Francisco was the promised land for me – a California boy looking for a City with a thriving gay culture and healthy civic life. When I first arrived here I had no money, no place to live, and very few contacts but I had the most amazing first 6 months exploring the City, working as a temp, and meeting people who worked in SF politics. I fell in love with the City again. I had spent a summer here raising money for same-sex marriage as a street canvasser in 2010 and first fell in love with the City then. I found a job working with an immigration reform advocacy group right as comprehensive immigration reform was making it’s way through the U.S. Senate. Fast forward to after working on the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016 I found myself kind of lost. The result of the election shocked and saddened me but also gave me a new sense of drive and purpose. What was I going to do?

I quickly realized that I was living in a once in a generation moment of civic purpose, with so many people, especially young people, feeling called to get involved. Taking part in the first Women’s March and seeing the hundreds of thousands of people in the streets around the world inspired me. The decision to focus on civic engagement in San Francisco came out of the problem that was being presented to me by friends and colleagues in the City who wanted to know where they could go to get more involved and informed. There are some amazing organizations in the City that put on excellent programming in great spaces for folks to become more civically active and have been doing so for decades but I thought the idea of taking that programming and adding in a more neutral social component would help bring in all of the people who might be intimidated at first or not really consider themselves “political”.

Around that time a good friend of mine died tragically. He was 32. After Nico’s death I promised myself that I would not let the fear of failing at something stop me from trying because he would never get a chance to try again. With that guiding me I decided to really research what would be involved in building my own space. That was around February/March of last year and here I am!
 

Eric: The description on your website is a little overwhelming. What’s your plan for the space on the average day?

Manny: Noted. The space is divided into 2 sections – the social space and the programming space with a small civil rights themed bookstand/newstand in between. The social space will have continuous operation from 6:30 AM – 10:00 PM with breakfast, lunch, and dinner served. It’ll be a coffee shop during the day and offer good beer and wine at night with dinner. That space will be connected to but separate from the programming space.

During the day the programming space will feel like a lounge where folks can eat/drink, watch the news (TVs with the news will be playing continuously) and potentially there will be some programming during the day for kids and young adults. For the evening the idea is that every weeknight there will be some offering that is civic in nature, where it’s a talk, documentary screening, open-mic, organizing action night, or discussion. Most of the programming will be put on by other organizations who need good space to do their work or have their speakers speak. About a quarter of the programming will be organized by my staff. There is meant to be wide variety in the programming, just like movie theaters play lots of different kinds of movies, sports bars will have a few different kinds of games on, gyms will have different kinds of classes and machines, I want to built a center of gravity around civic engagement that will have something for everyone. There will likely be themed nights around the different ways folks might want to engage where it’s direct action, learning from speakers, consuming media + art, etc…
 

Eric: The space you’re moving into has had a lot of turnover in the past few years; do you have a secret plan to thrive in that location?

Manny: I think one of the main reasons that the space has had a lot of turnover is that the commercial space has an unsuccessful relationship with the street. It’s hard to know where the entrance is and it’s dark inside. I will be opening up the windows, making the entrances a lot clearer, brightening up the interior, and more directly engaging with the street traffic to welcome people in.

Also – commercial rents are at an all time high in San Francisco so staying alive is hard unless you drive up prices so high that only a certain class of people can participate in what you’re doing. I refuse to create a place like that. In addition to the revenue from the food and beverage my goal is to have a large community of individual sponsors from the City and beyond providing the grassroots funding needed to keep a space like this open and thriving. They will be sponsors and being a sponsor will come with a large set of benefits. I’ve been developing a community around the space for the past six months and will continue to do so for the next six months. I believe that this community will be the secret to the success of the space.
 

Eric: On your website you mention the need to move our discourse from the digital world to in person. Do you have any thoughts as to why personal interaction is important?

Manny: In my lifetime I have seen the move from in person to online civic discourse and I am in shock at how nasty people get online in ways I do not believe would occur in the course of an in person conversation. Because tone is not apparent in an online conversation sometime the worst or most accusatory tone is implied which can lead to defensive angry responses. We do not need the internet to have deep meaningful conversations with people who either agree or disagree with us.

When you interact with someone in person you are able to give many cues including body language and posture, eye contact, tone, speed and deliberateness of language, clear listening, deference, and respect. There are all very important in the course of a complex or even sensitive conversation and are all absent from a conversation online and so, more often than not, the conversation devolves.

This is sad because we desperately need these conversation to learn and grow. None of us has all the answers so we need to bounce questions and ideas of others to get closer to truth.

Just some parrots chilling on 16th Street

August 26th, 2017

Parrots on 16th Street
 

While heading down 16th Street earlier this evening I spotted some parrots; not the wild variety you find on Telegraph Hill but rather the domestic variety. A man eating at Pakwan on 16th Street brought along a few pet parrots. While two of them sat on a tree branch attached to a bicycle (pictured) a third sat with the owner, attempting to open a glass Coke bottle with its beak.

All of this was, of course, surrounded by amused folks taking photos of the colorful birds with their phones — myself included.

Details leaked regarding mysterious new restaurant at 17th and Valencia

August 8th, 2016

Almost a year ago I reported that the team behind Garcon seemed to be quietly working on a new restaurant at the former site of Young’s BBQ in the Mission. Normally restaurant openings involve some press releases and fanfare, but this one seemed to fly under the radar. Naturally, that made it all the more intriguing.

Now new details are slowly starting to emerge in public: namely, the name: “Bayou.” New signage recently appeared above the space:

Bayou
 

Here’s where things start to get a little fuzzy though. A quick Google search revealed a link to Bayou’s website, which is still incomplete. There’s missing information, like the phone number being listed as “(415) XXX-XXXX.”

Other signs that the website is incomplete include the fact that many links go nowhere, and the social media links direct you a brand design agency called The Imagists.


 

Sleuthing a bit further, The Imagists have a page on their online portfolio about Bayou, which includes this description:

A new multi-location concept, Bayou Creole Kitchen & Rotisserie proposes a casual offering of creole and cajun-inspired dishes to the lunch crowd of the Mission and Financial districts [sic] of San Francisco.

The second Financial District location isn’t mentioned on Bayou’s website, nor could I find any reference to it in the California liquor license database. Perhaps that’s intended for the future or was just a bit of wishful thinking. As for the “lunch crowd of the Mission,” that’s not even a thing.

Regardless, the one item on their website that appears to be (mostly?) complete is the menu. As the name suggests it’s focused on the cuisine of New Orleans. It features everything one might expect such as gumbo, fried green tomatoes with shrimp, rotisserie chicken, and po boys. Not much for vegetarians or vegans at the moment.

Perhaps the biggest bombshell on Bayou’s website is bad news for fans of Garcon. Though he’s still listed as the executive chef on Garcon’s website, Arthur Wall’s bio on Bayou’s website indicates he’s moving on:

Arthur Wall is the Executive Chef and proprietor of Bayou Restaurant in San Francisco. He previously spent six years serving as Executive Chef of Garçon restaurant in the Mission district, where he developed a strong, local following and connection to the community.

Obviously I can’t vouch for any information on an unfinished website, but it’s certainly unusual for news to leak like this in the hyper-scrutinized world of Bay Area dining.

I’ll update if I hear more.

Amos Goldbaum’s Clinton St. murals

January 2nd, 2016

Amos Goldbaum's Clinton Park murals

Amos Goldbaum's Clinton Park murals

You know that guy who sells t-shirts with line drawings on the street in the Mission? That’s local artist Amos Goldbaum, who recently did the murals seen above (click for larger) on Clinton Street.

The murals are similar in style and color to his shirts, though the larger of the two also contains bright swirls of color in what appears to be depicting a process of creating artistic homemade goods. The larger mural appears to be a tribute to a family member who recently passed away.

If you want to see these in person you’ll find them at Clinton and Valencia, between Burma Love and the Greek church.

Garcon team apparently taking over Young’s BBQ space

September 14th, 2015

Young's BBQ space Young's BBQ space
 

Young’s BBQ, the (ostensibly) Korean hole in the wall restaurant behind El Toro that you never went to finally closed a few months ago. Recently the space has undergone a soft story retrofit.

Now a new liquor license application has appeared on the window with the name “Jerartdon LLC.” What could it mean?

Two of the names on the license in the state’s liquor license database shed some light on the situation. Jerome Rivoire is the owner of Valencia St.’s Garcon, and Arthur Wall is their executive chef.

What can we expect? So far the Garcon folks have been quiet about the whole endeavor, but it’s safe to assume pot stickers served by a woman who calls herself “Honey” are out.

What’s going on here, Luna Park?

July 21st, 2015

Luna Park foreclosure Luna Park foreclosure

At some point in the last couple of weeks Valencia St.’s Luna Park shut its doors and stopped answering their phone. But that’s not all: two official notices (see above) appeared taped to the building. One is an order of abatement regarding building codes, the other is a notice that the building is in danger of foreclosure. According to the later document the owner of the building is behind on mortgage payments by over $100,000. Yikes!

As you may recall, Luna Park’s owners made some grumblings about labor costs before trying to sell the restaurant to Gavin Newsom’s company. That fell through, so they tried again with the owners of Mission Beach Cafe. (Luna Park’s sister location in LA was sold to new owners years ago.)

Now it’s not exactly clear what will happen. The liquor license transfer is still pending, but who knows what’s in store if the building winds up getting auctioned off by the bank. Either way the sun has officially set on Luna Park*.
 

(* Sorry.)
 

Update: Inside Scoop confirms that Luna Park is closed for good. Still, this doesn’t explain why the building is in danger of foreclosure.

La Cumbre’s new paint job boldly stakes claim to Mission-style burrito’s origin

April 20th, 2015

La Cumbre's new paint job

Recently Taqueria La Cumbre on Valencia got a fire engine red paint job. But far more bold than the color scheme is the claim painted on the building: “Birthplace of the Mission Style Burrito.”

As with any such claim, it’s a hotly contested one. As Wikipedia notes it’s not clear if Mission-style burritos were invented in San Francisco at all. Further adding to the confusion, La Cumbre’s “birthplace” claim refers to the building rather than La Cumbre because the burritos were originally sold there when a meat market occupied the space.

The truth is out there, but until someone invents a time machine we’ll never know for certain where Mission-style burritos came from. If anyone reading this happens to have a time machine and wants to research this, please give me a call — especially if it’s around lunch time.

Mission Workshop coming to Valencia

October 1st, 2014

Mission Workshop
 

Local backpack and messenger bag company Mission Workshop appears to be moving to the old Therapy Furniture spot on Valencia at 16th. But here’s the interesting thing: their old store on Rondel is right behind the Valencia location.

Here’s a map (original) that I’ve colored for you. Mission Workshop’s new location is in orange, the existing one’s in green:
 

Map of the two storefronts sharing a common wall
 

So the old and new locations share a common wall. If they wanted to — and I should stress that no building permits have been filed as of today — they could bust out some axes and make one huge store. It’d be like a hipster version of Jack Nicholson in The Shining:
 

Hipster Shining

“Here’s, uh… John Oliver?”
 

In the end, I can’t really bring myself to say anything too snarky about this particular change on Valencia. It feels like a step sideways; Therapy’s furniture was well made but pricey. Same caveat for Mission Workshop’s bags. At least we can emit a collective sigh of relief that it’s not another overhyped, overpriced eatery.

 
UPDATE: Mission Workshop sent me an email confirming that All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy the new Valencia storefront indeed is connected to the original Rondel location via a shared wall. Of course if you’ve been to the store (it opened recently) you already knew this.

Newspaper box recieves rad makeover

August 29th, 2014

image

The above photo is a newspaper box at the 16th Mission BART plaza, which recently received a makeover. Who needs a boring black box when it can have a painting of what appears to be a girl on Mars pulling constellations out of the sky? More newspaper boxes should be this rad.

(Note: If you know who painted this, please do get in touch so I can update with proper credit.)