North Beach: Over the weekend, some intrepid activists used the distraction of the North Beach Festival across the street to erect a telling banner on the long-abandoned building at the corner of Powell and Columbus, next door to the shuttered Washbag. The banner reads "Enough with the plywood," and is pretty much a call to arms regarding the gross number of empty storefronts currently in North Beach. The restaurant space above is just one of over a dozen abandoned storefronts in the neighborhood, which compared to the number in other heavily-trafficked restaurant strips in the city (Marina, Hayes, Noe) is really quite amazing.
The suggestion, of course, is that the various city powers have been much too strict in banning new eateries (and liquor licenses) into the nabe. For example, it's taken Honeydoo over a year and some major headaches to blast through the red tape, and both Vino Divino and Red Mango were denied entry earlier this year, just to name a few instances. Chains, we can understand, but the reluctance to grant new liquor licenses and changes of use permits have come under scrutiny recently by a population sick of the dilapidation.
As for 1741 Powell itself above, Curbed SF has been all over a potential real estate development that would include a first-floor restaurant, while Lady Hopstress has heard rumblings of another La Corneta location going into the space. Either way, any potential opening is at least a year off. Sorry, NB.
· Theater of Absurdity: North Beach Wars Over Pagoda Development [Curbed SF]