A few weeks back, tastr published a bold statement alleging 18th and Valencia was “the Wharf of the Mission.” Naturally this accusation made me excited to the point of disorientation, as I adore sea lions and Hooters, but I've never spotted an aquatic mammal or Bubba Sparxxx purchasing narcotics from busty women along Valencia. Figuring there must be some justification for such a neighborhood-to-tourist-trap comparison, tastr followed up with an explanation:
Let’s get to the “wharf of the mission” question. I had just come across an article on Eater that Monk’s Kettle was opening a fancier beer bar on Valencia between 17th and 18th and I couldn’t help but think that the “gourmet ghetto” on 18th was getting way out of character for the Mission. My girlfriend has lived here for 14 years and she recalls the Mission during the dot com boom and how all these expensive restaurants opened in the Mission with total disregard for neighborhood’s character, it was a playground for the rich. In comparison though, I was walking through the neighborhood during Carnaval and I was surprised to see all these Latino families stoop partying like I’d never seen before and I had this weird feeling about what was happening at 18th and Valencia. Again, it’s becoming quite different from the rest of the Mission. It’s very different from what the neighborhood was 20 years ago, and it’s getting similar to what happened during the dot com boom just over 10 years ago. I mean come on, a fancier Monk’s Kettle?
I’m not all up-in-arms about it, but the area already has Bi-Rite, Delfina, Tartine, Bar Tartine, Luna Park, Commonwealth, and Locanda. Coming soon is a fancy tequila bar by the Beretta people (which I’m excited about, I’m conflicted about this whole thing), Tacolicious (ugh) is opening a branch here. That stupid Summit thing that’s just up the street. I just don’t see that as representative of the neighborhood anymore, it’s for gastro-tourists. […]That’s why the 18th & Valencia is the Wharf of the Mission. Just like most people in San Francisco see the Wharf as some weird Disneyland that they only go to take their parents when they visit, I’m starting to feel the same way about that part of the Mission. It’s not for people who live here anymore, it’s a place to take your parents when they come visit for a fancy dinner and expensive ice cream. Perhaps it’s a tenuous argument, but when’s the tipping point? When does that part of the neighborhood file for a name change with the realtors office?
And when the tourists are done buying their morning buns, they all go watch the denizens lolling about on the green hills of Dolores, basking in the sun and barking at each other.
I love sea lions.