If First You Don't Succeed...

Grub Reinventing Itself as "Your Local Diner"

As we predicted back in November, Grub, the forgettable mac-n-cheese and whatever restaurant, is officially out of business and its Valencia Street space is undergoing a complete renovation. Details are light, but signage assures the doubtful public that there will be new owners—the folks behind the city’s trio of Toast Eateries—managing the restaurant. Strangely, those new owners declined to change its questionable name.

Keeping in line with Toast’s business, The New Grub promises to become “your local diner”—a tall claim for an upstart in a neighborhood brimming with choice local diners. No word on the diner’s menu and how greasy it will be, but Toast has already gutted much of the formerly mod-ish space, and work permits filed with the city say they’re readying to install hardwood floors and new lighting.

So An Uber and A Taxi Walk into A Bar...

Uber and Yellow Cab Team Up to Smash Elixir's Front Gate

Take one part bar, one part taxi, add in a dash of Uber, mix them all together and you end up with the cocktail of clusterfuck that happened this morning at Elixir. According to the Chronicle:

An Uber driver and a taxi driver collided Wednesday morning in San Francisco’s Mission District, sending the cab into a bar, authorities said.

The crash happened at 9:24 a.m., when the two vehicles slammed into each other on the 3200 block of 16th Street, said Jen Balestrieri, a spokeswoman with the San Francisco Fire Department.

The cab then careened into Elixir, a popular neighborhood saloon, damaging the front gate.

Perhaps the two drivers really, really wanted a drink and weren’t going to let a little front gate stand in the way. Regardless, it sure is nice to see two sworn enemies working together for a common cause.

[Photo: Mr. Eric Sir]


Brilliant Entrepreneurs Offer to Disrupt Your Enemy's Party

An anonymous duo has posted flyers around town offering their services as “professional party crashers.” The above picture, sent to us by a tipster who wishes to remain anonymous, shows one of the flyers located on the corner of 19th and Lexington. The posting describes a service which promises to create “a drunken disturbance at bar mitzvahs, weddings, baptisms, and court hearings” while simultaneously delivering enough “general douchebaggery” to “ruin another person’s joy out of spite.”

We reached out to the people behind the flyer, who assured us that while this is no joke, they’ve yet to have any customers. “The flyers went up on Sunday, but we’ll just have to see who out there is hateful enough to get us to go and do something like that.” The invader job creator we spoke with explained that he and his business partner came up with the idea at a party after they both realized how quickly it could all go bad should someone decide to act like a total dick. 

Interestingly enough, there has been a strong response to the posting, just not in the manner the Professional Party Crashers expected. “More people are interested in getting involved as an employee than as a customer,” explained the man behind the lo-fi Uber-for-shitheads service. It would seem that ruining a total stranger’s retirement party comes across to some as an attractive line of work. Or perhaps in the current “gig economy,” it’s just more appealing than any of the alternatives.  


Shocking Poll Finds Valencia Street Top Spot for Bike Lane Obstructions

Over the past several months the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has been collecting data on  bicycle lane obstructions. From tech shuttles, to delivery trucks, to ride share companies, the to-be-expected offenders have been documented all over the city in a campaign SFBC is calling #parkingdirtysf. Well, the results are in, and Valencia Street (shockingly!) ranks as the top offender.

That Valencia Street is frequently a nightmare of double parked vehicles blocking the bike lane will come as surprise to no one that has ridden down the street in the last few years. The proliferation of restaurants offering valet parking, the tech shuttles that use the street as a main route, and all the food delivery vehicles frequently double parked on the street for pickups result in a dangerous situation for anyone trying to use the striped bike lane on Valencia.

And while the results of SFBC’s #parkingdirtysf campaign are pretty obvious, perhaps SFMTA will take this as a cue to start cracking down on the worst offenders.

Well OK Then

Someone Put A Fake Bomb on The Streets of The Mission Last Night

Police shut down and evacuated several blocks surrounding 23rd and Bartlett last night in response to a device found near that intersection which appeared to be a bomb. However, after further investigation, it turned out that the item in question posed no danger.

Mission Local reports:

Police reported at 11:30 p.m. Friday that the suspicious device found at  23rd and Bartlett looked like a bomb, but turned out to be a hoax.

“It appeared to be a legitimate active device with a timer and wires,” police reported but “After rendering the device safe it was found to be a hoax device.”

And while thankfully the bomb was not real, the fact that someone left a “hoax device” with “pipes and wires attached” on the streets of the Mission is still cause for concern. 

[Photo: Emma Chiang]

Womp Wompppp

Vegetarian Udupi Palace Ordered to Pay Meaty Settlement

Valencia Street’s Udupi Palace, a vegetarian restaurant that focuses on Southern Indian cuisine, has been ordered by the US Department of Labor to pay a $120,000 settlement to its workers.

Inside Scoop reports that in addition to not paying overtime to its employees—the main violation driving the settlement—the restaurant was also found guilty of “not even paying the minimum wage to one worker.”

An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor found that the restaurant known for its spicy, vegetarian fare had violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying workers overtime, when workers “routinely worked up to 60 hours per week with no overtime pay,” according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Labor. To make amends, Udupi Palace will now pay eight kitchen workers $56,288 in back wages, plus an equal amount in liquidated damages.

And while we’ve witnessed a few Valencia Street restaurants attack the minimum wage by publicly blaming it for their troubles, it’s frustrating to learn that Udupi Palace had taken that rhetoric to its logical (and cynical) conclusion by ignoring the minimum wage altogether. 

[Photo: Emily Chang]

The Body of Orange Christ

Muni Shelter Finally Deifies Chester Cheetah as the Savior of Snack Time

The local treasure who has been casually replacing Mission Muni shelter ads with superior crayon posters has unveiled their best work yet. This time? A bold reminder that Cheetos are tastier than communion wafers.

At some point, we imagine the few brands that are still palatable to Mission misanthropes will contract this budding advertising exec directly for pseudo-legit adverts. These posters have been gracing the neighborhood unchecked since at least last summer, when Mission Mission spotted a primitive Nike Smack spot at 16th and Mission:


Borderlands Books to Remain Open For at Least Another Year

Borderlands Books has announced it will remain open until at least March 31st of next year. The bookstore, which had only recently declared it was shutting down at the end of March 2015, made the announcement on their blog this past Saturday.

A sponsorship program, created after a February 12th community meeting was held to discuss ways to save the store, has provided Borderlands with the additional revenue the owner says he needs to remain profitable. Alan Beatts, the store’s owner, explained the program:

Starting immediately we will be offering paid sponsorships of the store.  Each sponsorship will cost $100 for the year and will need to be renewed every year.  If we get 300 sponsors before March 31st, we will stay open for the remainder of 2015.

As the sign above attests, Borderlands reached their goal of 300 sponsors and as a result will remain open for at least another year.

Where the Marina Meets the Mission

Newsom's PlumpJack Group Has Purchased The Lexington Club

When Lila Thirkield, the owner of The Lexington Club, announced last October that she intended to sell the last remaining lesbian bar in the Mission, the details surrounding the sale—and the identity of the new owner—were intentionally left vague. Thirkield explained in a Facebook post that she had been “struggling to run a neighborhood dyke bar in a neighborhood that [had] dramatically changed.” And inadvertently proving her own point, today Thirkield revealed the new owner: PlumpJack Group.

According to a post earlier today on the bar’s Facebook page, the Lexington Club has been sold to the restaurant group founded by Gavin Newsom, with PlumpJack taking over operations later this year. The Lex will close at the end of April so PlumpJack can begin overhauling the space:

So it is with much sadness, pride and a sense of real history that I can announce that we will be closing our doors for good on April 30th, 2015. Most importantly, our final party will take place over two nights, Friday April 24th and Saturday April 25th. […]

At this time we are beginning the transfer of the liquor license to the new owners, PlumpJack. They have been very gracious during these difficult times, allowing me to move through this process in a way that worked best for me, the Lex and our patrons.

As Uptown Almanac originally reported, PlumpJack had begun the process of taking over the nearby Luna Park restaurant this past fall. However, the Lieutenant Governor’s restaurant group suddenly backed out of the deal, all the while stressing that they were still interested in expanding their Marina-centric business empire into the Mission District.

[Photo: shoegazer]

Soda Bubble Bursting

The Fizzary Goes Pop

The Fizzary is too weird for words. It’s a big store dedicated to selling soda, with a token display of bulk candy. Basically, it’s a liquor store for children, with 800-some-odd types of soda for sale—a veritable emporium for the discerning future diabetes patient.

It’s wonderful that something like this even exists. Alas, it seems The Fizzary is struggling to stay afloat. After just under two-and-a-half years in business, its owners are scaling back operations and switching up its business model.

According to Hoodline, The Fizzary’s Haight Street location is shut down and the property is listed for rent on Craigslist. The original Mission Street spot is still open, but a change in format is forthcoming:

[The Fizzary’s on Haight] will re-open eventually, but it won’t look the same. [Co-owner Taylor Peck] says one potential rebirth is that they’ll sublease the space to a pop-up, most likely clothing, and add a home delivery element to the soda side of business.

Right now, Peck is “[sorting] things out” in the Mission before revisiting the Haight.