North Beach has lost a classic, after Rose Pistola quietly closed its doors last weekend. The neighborhood staple had been serving up lauded Italian fare for nearly 21 years, until owner Laurie Thomas made the hard decision to close.
“The fact that we’re an older, sit-down restaurant without those smaller plates, our prices are a little higher, it all factors in. Plus this space is big,” she told Inside Scoop. The summer tourist season is typically the busiest time for the restaurant, but that profit wasn’t as high as normal in 2016. And despite lowering some costs, such as removing valet service, operating costs still rose and labor shortages and the upward spiral of real estate prices all factored in.
So, with those things in mind, Thomas saw the direction the books were going and decided to not let it go further. Despite a few years left on the lease, she will instead look for new tenants, perhaps even splitting the space into two.
Rose Pistola had a great run, winning many awards along the way, starting with a James Beard award for America’s best new restaurant in 1997 and leading up to Chron critic Michael Bauer’s calling it the most important Bay Area restaurant to open in 1996.