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Eddie’s Café, Little Joe’s Pizza Receive Legacy Status, Benefits

The newest restaurants on the registry are rather old

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Patricia Chang

SF’s Small Business Commission has approved two new restaurants to the city’s Legacy Business Registry, conferring the honor — and economic benefits — to Eddie’s Café on Divisadero and Little Joe’s Pizzeria on Mission Street. They bring the total number of small businesses on the list to 119, and join other restaurants such as Sam's Grill & Seafood Restaurant, Beep’s Burgers, and the Stud Bar.

Eddie’s Café at 800 Divisadero is named for original owner Edward Barrie, who opened his greasy spoon in 1974 to feed Western Addition customers on classic soul food like grits and gumbo. In 1988, Helen and Min Hwang purchased Eddie’s, and since then, they’ve preserved its roots while honing in on the perfect diner breakfast. That’s not complete without hot coffee served in quirky mugs from the restaurant’s unique collection, no two of which are alike.

Out in the Excelsior, Little Joe’s has been serving North Beach-style pizza and Italian dinners since Joseph Russo opened it in 1958. In the ‘70s, to serve the area’s growing Mexican American clientele, a new family of owners led by Alfredo Rodriguez added their influence to Little Joe’s menu. That’s still there in the form of Mexican pizza, tacos, and tamales, all served against the backdrop of deep red wallpaper in a throwback dining room.

Little Joe’s Pizzeria/Yelp

San Francisco’s Legacy business Program is open to nominations by the Mayor and members of the Board of Supervisors. To qualify, businesses must also submit a written application and seek an advisory recommendation from the Historical Preservation Commission. The businesses must be over 30 years old, or over 20 years old and in significant risk of displacement, and “contribute to the neighborhood's history and/or the identity” of its community with the approval of the Small Business Commission.

To help keep legacy businesses going, the city offers them grants of $500 per full-time employee per year. It will also reward landlords who extend the leases on legacy businesses for at least 10 years with grants of $4.50 per square food of space leased.

While those grants can buoy some businesses, not all of them survive. BrainWash Cafe, for instance, a laundromat, restaurant, and informal performance space, was a registered legacy business, but still closed last week.