After 40 years holding down the corner of Divisadero and Bush, it appears that King of Falafel is set to lose its lease. As The New Fillmore reported late last week, new landlord Rick Howard (who also owns Harry's Bar, Bruno's, Eddie Rickenbacker's, and the Owl Tree) acquired King of Falafel's space last year, and is planning to give the restaurant its marching orders in January, when he'll renovate and seismically retrofit the space and either turn it into a restaurant and bar of his own or lease it to a new tenant. The 2,025-square-foot space has already been listed online for a whopping $12,150 per month.
Inside Scoop got in touch with owner Nawal Kharsa, whose Palestinian family credits themselves as having opened the first spot to serve falafel in SF way back in 1975. She says that the restaurant discussed splitting the space with Howard, but once she saw it come up for lease on the Web, she knew it was coming to an end. For her part, she says business is strong, and the restaurant will even appear on KQED's Check Please! next month. Once it closes in January, she says she'll consider moving to another location. Also of note from the New Fillmore article: Tortilla Heights, across the street, is flirting with a sale as well, and the owner of The Corner Store, Ezra Berman, is apparently among the interested buyers.
Update, April 10, 9:07 am: Howard got in touch with us to dispute the claims made by Kharsa. "I think it is disingenuous for her to suggest that she is 'getting the boot' when her true intention was to sell the business," he writes. "Nawal told me to my face that she wanted to sell the business if I would extend the lease, and her buyer also contacted me to negotiate an extension." He also says he has no plans to open a business of his own in the space once it's been retrofitted and renovated.
· The buzz on Divis: change is coming [The New Fillmore]
· King of Falafel likely to close after decades on Divisadero [Inside Scoop]