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.



Esta Noche's Successor Might Actually Be Decent

The only time I visited Bond Bar, I quickly realized it wasn’t a bar dedicated to Ian Fleming’s mythical spy and turned around and left. Turns out I may have made a mistake. According to Pete Kane of SFoodie, the successor to Esta Noche, the famed 16th Street Latino gay bar, is more than Yet Another Pinteresting Cocktail bar. In fact, it’s specifically “not douche-y.” Mmmm.

According to Kane:

To its everlasting credit, Bond is not offensive and it’s not douche-y, both in absolute terms and relative to the Mission in 2015. So there’s no pressing need to make them a bullet point in some anti-gentrification diatribe. In fact, the art direction is pretty nice, with sexy wall sconces and Aurora Borealis visuals playing on the back screen like a Mac screensaver I remember getting high to and watching in college. The former stage is now a seating area, and Bond’s designers wisely opted to leave that stunning wooden bar intact, too.

Kane isn’t alone in this opinion. SFist concluded Bond Bar is “just a neighborhood bar that’s waiting to find some new regulars.” Even the collective asshole of Yelp seems to dig it.

Mind you, we were pretty skeptical of this place before it opened. Bond is owned by WISH, the SoMa “New York style lounge.” Originally, the WISH team had told Eater they wanted to bring WISH’s “loungey vibe” to the space—which then seemed like a clear sign of bullshit to come. But those plans clearly fell through, and we instead have a dark bar that “isn’t a cocktail nerd’s paradise,” according to SFist.

Anyway, it seems Bond Bar might be worth putting on the short list of spots to check out. (And sorry for the snap judgment, bb.)

[Photo: Marissa C/Foursquare]

Fool Me Once...

Same Shit, Different Block: Munchery Is at It Again

Munchery is all about doing things its own way. The meal delivery start up that’s raised nearly $40 million first entered the lazy-eating game by delivering chilled, fully plated meals to the doors of Bay Area residents in 2010 and has grown quickly since. And in the style of companies who thrive on disrupting established industries, Munchery has been repeatedly shown to prioritize growth over environmental concerns, safety, and addressing complaints from their surrounding neighbors.

The company’s historic disregard for both city and state laws and its neighbors has continued at Munchery’s recently opened Utah Street facility, multiple neighbors tell Uptown Almanac. At a February 4th community meeting between Munchery co-founder Tri Tran and “the frustrated and frightened neighbors of Munchery”, with both district Supervisor Malia Cohen and a representative from SFMTA in attendance, a 20 page document was presented, detailing the ways in which “Munchery’s arrival on the 300 block of Utah Street has created a major disruption and created health & safety issues for residents, visitors and employees of local businesses.” This document, sent to Uptown Almanac by one of the neighbors in attendance, details many of the ways in which Munchery has struggled to address the repeated complaints lobbed against the company by the surrounding community.

The concerns presented at the February 4th meeting will seem familiar to the businesses and residents of Alabama Street, home to Munchery’s location in the Mission. They include Munchery leaving food waste on the sidewalk, idling trucks, obstructing automobile traffic and blocking the sidewalk. But the actions documented by the presentation also veer into the bizarre. One slide titled “Munchery Employees Disrespect Neighbors” details a neighbor’s alleged January 25th encounter with a Munchery employee that got heated. The employee had to be physically restrained by his coworkers, as he shouted at a neighbor “to come here and tell him that to his face.” The “that” in question being the neighbor’s request that the employee not repeatedly bang a roll-up door.

Munchery is not completely blind to the concerns of its neighbors, as Munchery did apologize for the “come at me bro!” antics of its employee. In addition to this apology, one neighbor, Jeff Benson, told Uptown Almanac that “the move in was rough, [but] it’s getting better.” Benson went on to say that what is happening on Utah Street “is not the same thing as what happened on Alabama Street.”

In conversation with Uptown Almanac, nearby property owner Erin Neff expressed frustration with Munchery “using the public street as their loading dock” and the seeming recklessness with which Munchery trucks are operated, mentioning that the trucks have damaged residents’ cars parked in the area. And while so far the damage caused by Munchery trucks has only been to property, Neff told Uptown Almanac that she fears the situation created by the trucks is dangerous to pedestrians.

“We are scared. So far only cars have been hurt, but it’s volatile, and someone is going to get hurt.”

Neff added that the 300 block of Utah Street was already home to a UPS distribution center, but “Munchery had made UPS seem like a dream.”

This is not the first time that someone has explicitly expressed fear that careless Munchery employees could injure pedestrians. A neighbor of the Alabama Street location contacted Uptown Almanac last November to tell us the story of when her child was almost run over by a Munchery truck:

I live very close to this intersection and one of [Munchery’s] trucks backed up far into the sidewalk and came within inches of hitting my 7 yr old on the way home from school last month. […] It scared me deeply and I won’t attempt to use that west sidewalk again until the trucks are permanently gone.

Another slide from the presentation titled “Extreme Parking Situations” shows Munchery trucks pinning in neighbors’ cars, sometimes damaging them in the process, and making it difficult to safely back out of parking spaces. When presented with this at the February 4th meeting, Munchery’s proposed solution was to hire someone to help neighbors pull in and out of parking spots. This “solution” perfectly demonstrates what is so wrong with Munchery’s approach: instead of working to address the cause of a problem the company would rather throw money at the symptoms.

Uptown Almanac reached out to both Munchery’s media team and to co-founder Tri Tran directly about the renewed complaints. Munchery’s General Manager Mihir Gandhi responded with an offer to put us in touch with the neighbors—neighbors we were already in contact with—but declined comment further.

When reached by phone, Supervisor Cohen declined to comment on the matter.

The presentation, along with the experience of individuals like Erin Neff, provides further evidence that Munchery continues to value growth over the safety of its neighbors and the concerns of its community. What remains to be seen is what, if anything, Munchery is going to do to change that.

Protesting Pooch

The Tech Shuttle Protests Are Back

It appears that rain is not the only thing slowing down the shuttle-bus commute this morning, as a group of protesters gathered early on Dolores Street to block the daily tech exodus south. Carrying a banner reading “EVICTION FREE SAN FRANCISCO,” the protesters appear to be drawing attention to the frequently noted correlation between tech shuttle stops and no-fault evictions.

And while this batch of protesters may lack a certain sartorial flair, they did at least bring a dog:

[Photo: kristenvbrown]