New shine for old classic
Trad’r Sam, the oldest continuously running tiki bar in the US, is (over)due for a little polish, and soon the Outer Richmond oasis could have a bright new neon sign to beckon patrons inside. The sign preservation group Signs United is launching a Kickstarter fundraiser in conjunction with the bar’s owner and local neon preservationist group SF Neon. According to that group, Jim Rizzo, the expert neon “tube-bender” of Neon Works in Oakland, will take care of sign repairs. “We look forward to bringing our beautiful neon sign back to life,” says Trad’r Sam owner Angie Milon, whose family has operated it for 30 years. Don’t expect changes to Sam’s dive-y interior, however.
Vermouth spritzes and bocadillos
North Oakland just scored a new Spanish-inspired bar with small Spanish sandwiches and bar bites. It’s called Café Encina, and Berkeleyside reports that it’s open now at 308 41st Street, in the former Bar 41 space. Co-owner Terry Sok-Wolfson, an Oakland native, was inspired by a trip to Spain to open the business with his partner Julia Sok-Wolfson, and their friend, chef Seanathan Chow.
Lanna Thai closed
Long-running Inner Sunset Thai restaurant Lanna Thai has closed, with owners retiring after 31 years in business. A Redditor scoped out their goodbye notice to customers, thanking the neighbors or their years of patronage.
Pared and Instawork bring gig economy to restaurant jobs
The New York Times has an exploration of the impacts of San Francisco tech companies Pared and Instawork, which match kitchen workers with short-term gigs at restaurants. Amid a shortage of cooks, on-demand workers are a tempting option for restaurants, and some chefs like the system, too. But experts worry it won’t let cooks build skills for long-term employment.