“…San Francisco banned new restaurants on Noe Valley’s 24th Street because residents felt they were losing local shops to eateries that drove up rents and caused traffic jams. Now, with nearly 15 vacant storefronts, there’s a push to get the restaurants back.”
Blocks hungry to fill storefronts with eateries [SFGate]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Dan

    Contigo, the first new restaurant to open up after there was a small loosening of the restaurant ban on 24th St, is one of the best, and most popular restaurants in Noe Valley.
    The new restaurant bans in Noe Valley and the Castro caused a stagnation in both areas (though the Castro finally has a couple of excellent new places), that has allowed mediocre restaurants to persist well past their shelf lives. Castro and Noe residents have had to go elsewhere, like Valencia St and the Guerrero/18th St area, to eat at new restaurants. New restaurants should be allowed to open up in other storefronts, and provide the competition necessary to make vital the food scene on Noe’s 24th St and in the Castro.

  2. Posted by two beers

    San Francisco has been in a “food bubble” for years now. We’re just now seeing it pop, with the dramatic surge in restaurant closings.
    Our economy has been running on fumes, gas range range fumes in fact (mmm…delicious..). Rents are higher for restaurants than they are for most other street level commercial spaces, so land pirates love chasing out the mom n pops, the little shops that cater to and a neighborhood and make it unique.
    But as should be obvious now, we built too many houses, too many condos, too many office spaces, and too many restaurants. THEY AREN’T COMING BACK.
    Land pirates were able to massively overcharge for their properties for so long. THOSE RENTS ARE UNSUSTAINABLE, and again, the restaurants are not coming back in droves.
    So, the land pirates need to face reality, and lower their rents so that the regular old mom n pop type businesses that THRIVED for decades can make a comeback, and save our neighborhoods before the land pirates’ greed destroys them for good.
    Of course, I don’t expect the land pirates to dramatically alter their rents, because the “free market” apparently only works on the way up, not the way down.

  3. Posted by jamie

    Come on over to Rincon Hill .. we’re in need of some restaurants that don’t require a corporate expense card to afford. 🙂

  4. Posted by Dan

    Some newer restaurants are doing very well, despite (or because of) the economic downturn. Contigo, Limon Rotisserie, Beretta, Starbelly, Flour + Water, and Frances are just a few of the restaurants in the Mission, Castro, and Noe Valley that are packed night after night.
    People are still seeking out high quality at fair prices.

  5. Posted by jamie

    BY the way, there’s an article on page 32 and 33 of today’s Examiner talking about entrepreneurs seizing the opportunity presented by cheaper rents to open up small eateries. It references DPH licenses to say that 388 eateries opened in 2009 and 377 shut last year … whereas 303 opened in 2007 and 490 closed that year. And then there’s all of these food carts tht keep popping up …
    The most intriguing place I’ve run across so far is Sight Glass on 7th near Folsom … kinda like a barista in an auto body garage that’s getting remodeled. :)_

  6. Posted by Legacy Dude

    Oh boy…again with the pirates? I guess we should all stop eating out and line the city’s streets with print shops and carburetor rebuilders. Nevermind that the world has gone largely digital and most cars now use fuel injection. How about a farrier workshop? Get your horse shoed here!
    Anyway, these NIMBY morons are getting exactly what they deserve. Their junkyard dog mentality is, predictably, turning the environs into a junkyard.

  7. Posted by ex SF-er

    these restaurant bans are ridiculous. I see no reason why the local govt needs to dictate how many and what type of restaurant can open up in a certain area.
    My BIL lived on Church and 24th for the longest time and it got tiring for him to go to the same restaurants year after year, some of them mediocre.
    SF may be a foodie city, but it won’t remain so with restaurant bans. last I heard it wasn’t only tourists who ate out.

  8. Posted by Fishchum

    “what’s so great about a Mom and Pop store? Let me tell you something. If my Mom and Pop ran a store, I wouldn’t shop there.” – George Costanza

  9. Posted by Willow

    This may be one reason for the thriving restaurant scene in Glen Park. (BTW, Red & White Wine Bar just opened on Chenery…) Outer Noe (around 30th and Church) have a few cool eateries too so 24th St no longer has the drawing power it once had.
    Jamie: If you haven’t done so already you should check out Local in RH. Great pizza/pasta/wine bar.

  10. Posted by two beers

    yeah, legacy dude, OVERPRICED restaurants, empty dotcom lofts, and cyber cafes…that’s a great economic model!

  11. Posted by DanRH

    15 vacant? that seems too high. I assume you’ve taken off the place that the bank is going into.
    btw, i would add two things:
    – agree with the removal of the ban
    – I can easily say that I haven’t seen 24th this busy with street traffice in over 2 years. I think it’s partially due to WFs and that Boulange place opening up. I think if you asked anyone walking around 24th regularly, 90% would say foot traffic is up in the past few months. I know that ‘foot traffic’ doens’t directly = $$ in store pockets, but it probably can’t hurt.
    I’m willing to bet that 6 months from now you’ll see less, not more, storefronts occupied.

  12. Posted by Dan

    two beers– Note Jamie gave statistics– restaurant openings in 2009 were up about 25% over 2007, and closings were down about 25% in 2009 versus 2007. This past year actually was a great year for new restaurants. Restaurants for which quality does not match price are closing, but many excellent new places are opening up. People are delaying buying new cars, expensive vacations or home renovations, but are still eating (and drinking) out.

  13. Posted by DanRH

    (correction: sorry, SS, didn’t mean to point at you on the 15, meant to say ‘they’ ie, SFGate).
    two beers:
    – there’s hardly any dotcom lofts on 24th.
    – a ‘cyber’ (who uses that word anymore? if you added ‘information superhighway’ i would have loved it) cafe would surprisingly do well I think..Bernies is always packed with laptop bearers.
    – overpriced restaurants…as compared to other parts of the city? i don’t think so.
    I do think restaurants may still stay clear of racing into 24th even with this ban – Noe doesn’t have the nightlife / eating out crowd like the Mission, Pac Heights, Polk/Russian Hill, etc. Just doesn’t have the ratio of young folks.

  14. Posted by Legacy Dude

    two beers: If restaurants are overpriced vs. the food they serve then they generally tend to go out of business, and pretty quickly. The free market you seem to hate so much dictates it, and the article referenced above punctuates exactly that concept.
    Empty dotcom lofts will fall in value until a buyer is found. Cyber cafes will close if people don’t frequent them. Wouldn’t you agree that resources sitting idle should be repurposed to be put to a new productive use or meet some real need? I don’t think anyone wants a city with an Aqua on every block, but how many dry cleaners and shoe repair stores can SF really support?
    To get to the heart of the issue, this is no longer a city of stevedores and beatnik poets, and it likely never will be again. Sorry. People need to realize that and let the city evolve naturally.
    Only in “liberal” and “progressive” San Francisco do we seem to need laws governing every nuance of human existance, from regulating the facades of our homes to centrally planning our retail storefronts. It’s ridiculous. And it’s obviously not working.

  15. Posted by anonn

    The picture the Chronicle is using to anchor the story is actually depicting an existing restaurant space. It’s one that is being expanded, excavated, and added onto. I hope the next thing that goes in there is as good as what was there before, namely Mi Lindo Yucatan. That place had great food, and they were way ahead of the “nicer sit down Mexican” craze that’s underway too.

  16. Posted by EBGuy

    Preach it two beers. It’s hard to believe no one is coming to your defense. As for cyber cafes, well, I’ll side with two beers (from the Chron a couple of days ago): For owners – some whose stores flourished from the tech boom and crashed when it busted – the latest wave of business can be too much of a good thing. Their tables are full of customers nursing the same latte for four hours, placing owners in the delicate position of playing coffee cop. The real crime of bubblenomics (which two beers rants against) is the unsustainable business practices that arose in that environment. Sure, the system eventually comes back into equilibrium, but at what cost to the community damaged from reckless speculation (aka land pirates).

  17. Posted by anonn

    Yeah but the guy was talking about a “food bubble.” As if dining out is not deeply ingrained into the culture of this region. You might see the style of restaurants change, grow cheaper, a shift to ethnic styles or comfort food for example both happened, but a “food bubble”? Where everyone in the Bay Area all of a sudden says “no more restaurants for me” or something? Come on. He sounded like the boy in the bubble when he said that. No looking around at the world he lives in firsthand.

  18. Posted by Legacy Dude

    Although I do have to admit I’m seeing a FroYo bubble forming now….seems like there’s a new frozen yogurt place popping up on every block. Does a city with no summer and an average temp of 57 degrees need this many gelaterias? We’ll see how these dairy pirates make out.

  19. Posted by sleepiguy

    Same problem with Union, the stores are too small and “boutiquey” to sell anything useful. It would take a cultural shift to bring back the “mom and pop” type shops on these blocks, and that probably won’t happen for decades. Seriously, even with insanely cheap rent, name something that would be successful at this moment in time.

  20. Posted by CSK

    How is opening a local eatery not a neighborhood friendly, mom and pop-esque,or at least pop and pop, endeavor?

  21. Posted by REpornaddict

    Off topic slightly, but linked to NV, and close to my own heart at the moment…
    I am amazed there are no day care centers in or around Noe Valley – at least that I am aware of (having been looking).
    seems like there would be serious demand for one.

  22. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    There are actually a number of day care centers in or near Noe Valley:
    Katherine Michiels School at 25th and Guerrero
    Littlest Angel (St. Paul’s ) at Valley and Church
    St. Nicholas on Diamond Heights Blvd
    Children’s Day School on Dolores and 16th
    That is just off the top of my head. I think there is another Church run day care near Diamond and 25th, but the name escapes me at the minute.
    There is also a Montessori School in Glen Park.
    There are also a number of family day care centers.
    It is true that they all have waiting lists. The joke goes that you have to reserve a spot in day care before you get pregnant.

  23. Posted by two beers

    Thanks everyone for takinf my argument reduction ad absurdum.
    I’m not saying people shouldn’t go out to eat. Sheesh, I love the food in this town. And I think the ban IS stupid. But l.dude, you want to know how many cobblers and auto repair shops this town can support, well they’re being squeezed out, enjoy your trip down the peninsula. And how many &^%$( damn RESTAURANTS can this town support? THAT is my point.
    Landlords won’t lower their rents enough for the little repair shops you despise with all your soul, so the only thing left is restaurants, ’cause who else will pay that much rent? And most restaurants are going to fail, so that’s just wonderful for the a sense of community and continuity.
    All I want to see is some balance, where you elite real estate snobs don’t do everything you can to chase everything out of town that doesn’t appeal to your sense of decorum and propriety.

  24. Posted by two beers

    ahem, and furthermore, it’s absurd to base your economy on restaurants. But even so, restaurants provide much more value to a community than do used house salesmen, landlords and ladies, and banksters.

  25. Posted by two beers

    EB Guy, of course no one (except you, thanks) takes my side, because this site is mainly used visited by those who make their living hustling property. They hate it when a lowly outsider questions their world view or social utility!

  26. Posted by anonn

    There’s a hardware store, a cobbler, an eyeglass shop, several bodegas, coffee shops, a grocer two or three toy stores, several boutiques and probably some other things I’m forgetting on 24th st. What it noticeably has lacked, for such a foot trafficked area, is restaurants. So what about people on the internet without reasoned opinions? Used house salesman are more valuable to society, surely. They help add tax revenue to the coffers. People who just say random things on the internet, like “food bubble,” then back off their intentionally provocative statements, they don’t really do anybody any good. They just make actual contributors to society waste time.

  27. Posted by two beers

    anonn, what provocative statement did I back off of?

  28. Posted by anonn

    Um, I said it? The “food bubble” has popped? Admit it. You said that to rile people up. Then later on you said you love to go out to eat, nobody shouldn’t go out to eat, and that the ban is stupid.

  29. Posted by EBGuy

    How is opening a local eatery not a neighborhood friendly, mom and pop-esque,or at least pop and pop, endeavor?
    Of “higher profile” places, the Tartine mini-empire is about the only one I can think of that is “mom and pop” (I remember reading about them when they made bread in Point Reyes). Bubblenomics demanded Pat Kuleto and passel of investors… Not that I’m complaining, as the East Bay is benefiting from the exodus of restauranteurs.

  30. Posted by anonn

    You have got to be kidding. Mom and pop-esque gets parsed into literally husband and wife? NOPA is one. Not mom and pop. Like, three dudes. LOL.

  31. Posted by two beers

    Thanks for putting words in my mouth. I said “nobody shouldn’t go out to eat?” Really? ARe you a child?
    How are my statements ontradictory? I like to eat out, but I’m conscious enough to realize we place way too much emphasis on food in this town. I like to eat, but I don’t fetishize it, f’crying out loud. Food is, uh, like, wonderful, and like really nutritious and tasty, but you can’t base your economy on it, unless you want to live in an amusement park.
    There are too many restaurants here, possibly more per capita than any other city, and it’s taking the oxygen out of the air. It’s inhibiting other businesses from thriving.
    I don’t like bans on something as innocuous as restaurants, but because they are the primary drivers of high street-level commercial rents, and because landlords don’t want to give up their golden goose, and let to dirty workmen who bring down the values of their perceived palaces, we are in a difficult situation.
    Yes, food bubble, dammit.

  32. Posted by anonn

    Am I a child? No. Are you one? So quick to the abusive language. LOL.
    Too many restaurants here. They’re closing like crazy. The economy is based upon them. Food bubble. Starting to pop. Inhibiting other businesses.
    Whatever. You can prove none of that.
    You’re talking out your ying yang, my son.

  33. Posted by Misha Weidman

    I’ve been a Noe resident since 1991 and I think the moratorium is ridiculous. They’re just a windfall for the businesses that were there first. There must be 5 or 6 nick-knack stores on 24th. Why not a nick-knack moratorium too? Parking? It really can’t get any worse, and it’s certainly no worse than any other area of town. I don’t see why others should decide how many restaurants (or nick-knack stores) are enough for my neighborhood. Too many and the ones that aren’t fulfilling the customers’ needs will perish.
    If they lift the moratorium, I’m leaving real estate and getting back into the restaurant biz. You heard it here first.

  34. Posted by anonn

    I paraphrased your “I’m not saying people shouldn’t go out to eat” into “nobody shouldn’t go out to eat.”
    My bad. Soooooo egregiously different, surely.
    Am I a child? no. Is it tough for you to follow a double negative?
    Sure looks like it.

  35. Posted by Agent415

    Good christ two beers, you’re all over the place here. And it doesn’t help that the actually stats provided are showing *OPPOSITE* everything you’re saying, lol.

  36. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    twenty buck tiny pasta
    need more clown alley

  37. Posted by anonn

    That’s pronounced dev oh lu shee own ?

  38. Posted by ex SF-er

    all this talk of cyber this and cyber that makes me think of this:
    “Next door, the home of Cyberarts, you see. And now that the block is re-zoned. Our dream can become a reality. You’ll see boys. You’ll see boys …”

  39. Posted by two beers

    Agent415, what stats?
    The article in the Exam clearly says shows that cheaper joints are replacing the overpriced spots. So, a dozen more Fro-yos opened last year, while the Conduits are dropping like flies.
    There’s your boom economy.

  40. Posted by anonn

    What Examiner article? You mean the Chronicle article? A dozen fro-yo’s opened last year? What year is it again? 1998? You should change your name to 14 beers, bro.

  41. Posted by two beers

    sorry anonn. here you go:
    And thank you, but doctor’s orders: 14 beers is now two beers.

  42. Posted by Dan

    There’s not a “food bubble” popping: Overall, more restaurants are opening up, and fewer are closing. Many restaurants close after a year or two, but SF has always been a fiercely competitive place for restaurants, so this is nothing new. Overall, 2009 was one of the best years to eat in San Francisco in memory (aside from having no local salmon).

  43. Posted by Legacy Dude

    Ha ha…too funny. Reminds me of that thread on what to do with the empty lots in Soma. The consensus answers were either 1) more condos, or 2) anything but more condos.
    Apparently what SF really needs is more automobile repair shops, despite the fact that 1/3 of us don’t even own cars while nearly every family on the peninsula has like 2. Oh, plus we need a law stating that any new business must be jointly owned by one straight male and one straight female who have successfully procreated with one another (i.e. mom and pop). But only if it replaces an existing business. While we’re at it, let’s make it illegal for people to have kids unless they’re replacing somebody else in the neighborhood who recently died or moved away.
    To be serious, two beers, I actually enjoy your comments and think you have one of the few original viewpoints here. And for the record, most of us are not land pirates, nor do we “hustle property”….the only penthouse I’ve ever owned had staples in it.

  44. Posted by anonn

    For every Woodward Gardens there are probably 90 Conduits, two beers. You probably know that too.

  45. Posted by sfrenegade

    Wow, two beers. I have no idea what you’re saying. Agree with Legacy Dude — your comments are usually very interesting, but you’re all over the place here.
    But the point is that the restaurant ban on 24th needs to be lifted because it was ridiculous in the first place. I agree with you, two beers, that San Francisco seems to be becoming DisneyLand for adults, but it seems like a lot of odd regulations here serve to keep it that way (e.g. the whole planning board, historic preservation, etc.). The NIMBY regulations in question in this thread aren’t helping.
    And Legacy Dude, nothing wrong with pop and pop or mom and mom businesses either.

  46. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    anonn – you had me scrambling for my ipod to listen to the tail end of “It Doesn’t Matter to Me” off of Devo’s “Now it Can Be Told” (one of the best live albums, evah !)
    There Mark M. pronounces the word :
    Ah yes, Devo : the second best thing to come out of Ohio. (the first being my little brother)

  47. Posted by anon

    Let the market decide! Only the foolish would think that an empty storefront is better than an attempt to make a successful restaurant.
    FWIW, I go out to eat a few times a week in SF and the places I go are always packed and frequently require reservations…

  48. Posted by anonn

    de-evolution, sure. It’s the same thing but devolution is a syllable less. Sorry for being a stickler but was a haiku after all.
    Yeah, Mark M. is up there for sure.
    But for the record, top 20 Ohioans go:
    Wright Brothers
    Lebron James
    Ullyses S. Grant
    Dean Martin
    Paul Newman
    Bootsie Collins
    Clark Gable
    Neil Armstrong
    Mark Mothersbaugh
    Ulysses S. Grant
    Dorothy Dandridge
    Sparky-b (bonus ohioan)

  49. Posted by anonn

    edit Bob Pollard and Roger Troutman also

  50. Posted by Scooter

    Ulysses S Grant above Bootsie Collins? Really?

  51. Posted by Cookie

    The failure rate for restaurants is pretty consistent and VERY high. Unless an area’s population or budgets for eating out are up, more restaurants opening while fewer close could be evidence of a growing restaurant bubble/froth.

  52. Posted by anonn

    Grant the general, not the president. He pretty much won the Civil War. And Bootsie Collins is pretty much the funkiest man to ever walk the planet. So sure.

  53. Posted by OneEyedMan

    Bootsie recorded on your theme song from James Brown:
    Talkin’ loud and sayin’ nothing

  54. Posted by anonn

    One wikipedia search later and look who’s witty

  55. Posted by John

    24th street in Noe has never been a high quality food destination (at least not in the past 15 years).

  56. Posted by SL@Noe

    I have lived in Noe for 10 years and can’t remember the last time I ate on 24th st, apart from Firefly. This ban does not make any sense, while we have a nail salon in every other shopfront in the neighborhood. 24th street is light years behind Valencia and now Glen Park. With the unending blight that was Real Foods, if it wasn’t for Whole Foods 24th street would be a ghost town. I’m looking forward to when ‘outer Noe’ down at 30th becomes the new hub. With a great grocer and the best bucher in town, along with the outstanding Regent Thai and Martha’s on the corner of Duncan, who needs to go to 24th street??

  57. Posted by Dan

    Great Ohio list, including Pollard. I might add David Thomas of Pere Ubu (born in Miami, FL but raised in Cleveland) and Chrissie Hynde.

  58. Posted by not a banker

    There should be a ban on banks on that street. Really, how many banks are there on that street, and how many more do we need? It would be so much nicer to have a chinese bakery. Give me something to eat rather than a bank.

  59. Posted by alpenhorn

    Thanks SL@noe. Concise without being nasty. What has happened to this site? A year or so ago when I started reading it there was some valuable content. Not anymore. Is this what happens when the market collapses? Just carping and unpleasantness. No wonder realtors have such a bad rep. (Yes, yes….If I don’t like it I can go away…well, poof, I’m outta here)

  60. Posted by Fishchum

    Can’t forget Bob Pollard. I saw Guided By Voices on their farewell tour at The Fillmore. One of the all-time best shows ever.

  61. Posted by MichelleM

    Relaxing the restaurant restrictions is a step in the right direction but not a silver bullet. I am all for thoughtful zoning and planning, but beyond that we need to let the market take care of itself.
    If neighborhood residents really don’t want chain stores they won’t shop there and they will go out of business. If neighborhood residents really don’t want restaurants they won’t eat there and they will go out of business. If local [fill in the blank] shop sells what residents really want it will thrive, if not it will go out of business as it should.
    Protecting shops that can’t make it on their own stifles innovation and investment in neighborhoods and leads to overpriced goods, subpar food and lousy service.

  62. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    my bad anonn. I didn’t realize there was a difference between devolution and de-evolution. I meant the latter. I think I used up my entire year’s of OT credits on just one thread here.
    But on this issue, the distortions in traditional business districts like 24th here would not be possible without the acceptance of big box retailers. As much as many would prefer a healthy mix of businesses on their local retail street, there’s no way ma and pa can compete with the big boxes.
    So what’s left ? Boutiques and restaurants. Let’s hope that big box restaurants never catch on.
    What is the solution to restore a real-life main street ? Bringing national chains into small storefronts would be better than the standoff on 24th. But that would produce the same old, same old “high street” repetition you see across Britain and Europe. Though predictable, these British style high streets are at least functional.

  63. Posted by gumby

    24th street in Noe has never been a high quality food destination…
    I miss the “Eye Opener” at Herb’s Fine Foods.

  64. Posted by sparky-b

    “Can’t forget Bob Pollard. I saw Guided By Voices on their farewell tour at The Fillmore. One of the all-time best shows ever.”
    Me and Bob poured a beer on each others heads one time during a killer show at Peabody’s Down Under. They were just back in Ohio from touring.

  65. Posted by anon

    Best Ohio band? Pere Ubu — hands down.

  66. Posted by sparky-b

    No way, off the top of my head better music not yet listed;
    The Black Keys
    The silver jews
    Times New Vikings
    Talib Kweli
    Nine Inch Nails

  67. Posted by anonn

    Probably. The British press certainly think so. Either them or Devo, The Cramps, GbV or the Ohio Players. They were all totally influential in their own ways. For newer stuff, Kid Cudi is on his way to becoming hugely popular. I heard that “Night and Day” song about 10 times in Spain last summer.

  68. Posted by anonn

    Kweli is from Brooklyn. Hi-Tek is from Cincinatti.
    And not my cup o’ tea, but we forgot Joe Walsh.

  69. Posted by Mole Man

    alpenhorn asks:
    … What has happened to this site? A year or so ago when I started reading it there was some valuable content. Not anymore. Is this what happens when the market collapses? Just carping and unpleasantness. …
    Collapsing bubbles seem to do this. There was a similar burst of rudeness when the dot com bubble burst. All of the various real estate forums I read have had an increase in rough exchanges and bellicose know it alls. Lots of people got burned in various ways or are getting squeezed by the correction. In this case trashy rhetoric turns out to be a fairly accurate metric for recovery, and it seems we have a long way yet to go.
    MichelleM asserts:
    If neighborhood residents really don’t want chain stores they won’t shop there and they will go out of business.
    It doesn’t work that way. Chains are fundamentally different operations. They are more robust, yet give back much less to the communities that host them, making them like the Zebra Mussels of the business world. Whether that is bad or not or where and how lines might be drawn is another story, but the idea that markets moderate the presence of chain stores has been shown to be wrong in many communities that now have nothing but chain stores.

  70. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    I’m looking forward to when ‘outer Noe’ down at 30th becomes the new hub. With a great grocer and the best bucher in town, along with the outstanding Regent Thai and Martha’s on the corner of Duncan, who needs to go to 24th street??
    Let’s not forget XO bakery, Toast, Twin Peaks Pizza, Henry’s Hunan, Pomelo, Eric’s, Alice’s, Incanto, Clay Oven and the excellent La Ciccia. Does anyone know what is going on with Deep Sushi? I really liked the place and am wondering how long the “remodel” is really going to take.
    I think the 24th Street restaurant ban ended up being a boon for Upper Noe particularly, but also for The Mission.

  71. Posted by anonn

    Twin Peaks Pizza
    One of these things is not like the other things?

  72. Posted by 20 year resident

    There are more than 30 restaurants in Noe Valley right now. That doesn’t count the cafes, coffee shops or take away places. We have one restaurant per 300 people in SF. How can this not be enough?
    There’s no guarantee that opening a restaurant means opening a good restaurant. According to city records, 60% of restaurants fail in the first year. That’s higher than businesses with products to sell.
    Restaurants put a greater burden on the already stressed and understaffed public services. The health department only inspects 1/3 of the places they are required to because the staff isn’t there to do it. SF’s sewage system already functions at maximum and restaurant waste is particularly difficult to process. Every time there’s a storm, 24th street is covered in grease from the backed up drains.
    Aren’t we supposed to be concerned about the environment? Restaurants generate enormous amounts of non-recycled garbage and waste mountains of food. Then there’s the number of people driving around and around looking for parking or double parking while they pick up their take away in plastic containers and bags.
    The main reasons there aren’t more businesses in Noe Valley is the same reason there are vacant offices downtown:1) unless you are a real estate developer backed by the city, there’s no money loaned for new businesses, and 2) high rents. Rent for the vacant Streetlight Records storefront: $12,000/month. Rent for the vacant Riki clothing store: $10,000/month.
    With product, utilities, taxes and payroll, a business would have to pull in at least $1500/day to make ends meet … if the owner works for free. A restaurant has to pull in three times that because its highest expenses are utilities and – even considering the underground economy of undocumented workers that support the entire restaurant industry -payroll.

  73. Posted by 20 year resident

    By the way, Contigo opened up in a place that was a restaurant, then not, then was, then not, so it wasn’t a change in rules, it was a background check that allowed it to open.

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