The owners of SoMa restaurants Deli Board and Fondue Cowboy, both facing the looming prospect of a move forced by development of their land parcel, can breathe a sigh of relief. In a serious surprise action, the SF Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected a planned 63-unit housing development — despite prior approval from the Planning Commission.
That shocked onlookers, including Deli Board owner Adam Mesnick, who had already been scouring the city for a new home for his popular sandwich shop, which is about to turn 10 years old.
“It’s a twist of fate,” says Mesnick. “I didn’t legitimately ever expect this to happen.” Mesnick had known of the potential for development for years, and even wrote a letter of support for his landlord’s efforts to build the housing.
“There need to be more places for people, it’s obvious that people are in need,” he says. But the news is good for his business, which gets a major reprieve — though eventually, development is still likely.
In the end, supervisors’ objections to the building were over a shadow it would cast into a nearby public space — Victoria Manalo Draves Park. Those concerns hadn’t been adequately examined by the Planning Commission, supervisors decided.
In rejecting the project, SoMa supervisor Matt Haney said “We absolutely need more housing... [but] this isn’t a meaningless shadow on someone’s backyard. This is a shadow that falls on the only multi-use public park in SoMa.”
Now the development project is back to the drawing board — and Deli Board and Fondue Cowboy can wait to look for new locations until another day. “Restaurant life... it’s a roller coaster,” Mesnick said.