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Cafe Bastille, Belden Place’s 30-Year-Old Bistro, Is Reportedly For Sale

Also: Benders is reopening, and more news to know today

SF’s beloved French bistro Cafe Bastille is reportedly for sale.
Cafe Bastille/Instagram

Welcome to p.m. Intel, your midday roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news from publications near and far. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.

  • Founded in 1990, Cafe Bastille is one of the best-loved restaurants in Belden Place, that tiny pocket of everything French in a Financial District alley between Bush and Pine Streets. Decades before outdoor dining became ubiquitous in SF, Cafe Bastille and its neighbors took over the sidewalk and streets with tables and chairs, creating what SF Chronicle urban design critic John King called “downtown San Francisco’s most urbane lunch spot.” The Chron reported this summer that Cafe Bastille and its neighbors were open for outdoor dining, with co-owner Olivier Azancot saying “We’re trying things out. That’s the best we can do.” Now SocketSite reports that the restaurant (not its building) and its full liquor license are for sale for $300,000, which includes a 10-year, “favorable, non-triple net, lease.”
  • Longtime SF sports bar Lefty O’Doul’s, which in recent years was booted from its Union Square digs, reopened at Fisherman’s Wharf, and saw owner Nick Bovis admit to a slew of crimes as part of a federal corruption sweep, has unsurprisingly filed for bankruptcy, the SF Business Times reports. According to Bovis’s bankruptcy attorney, “the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s ordinance prohibiting self-serve and buffet-style service in restaurants has led Bovis to close his restaurant,” not his legal troubles.
  • If you’re frustrated by local crackdowns on side-hustle food businesses, this week’s episode of the Extra Spicy podcast won’t help. Katie Valenzuala, a legislator who’s been involved in statewide efforts to ease permitting issues for pop-ups, says that all local officials have to do “is a resolution that says rather than go out and hunt these people down and shut them down, permit them,” but for whatever reason, California counties have been slow to adapt.
  • Two very different Bay Area destinations are back in business with some big changes: Gather, Berkeley’s 10-year-old special occasion spot has reopened as a fast-casual, grab-and-go restaurant with abundant outdoor seating, Berkeleyside reports. And in the Mission District, Hoodline reports that iconoclastic dive bar Benders reopens on October 28 with ample outdoor seating and, after 17 years as a cash-only venue, it will finally take credit cards.
  • San Francisco’s bars and nightclubs won’t have to pay regulatory license and business registration fees for two years, Mayor London Breed announced Monday, but some business owners who spoke with KQED say the relief gesture is “too little, too late.”
  • Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that restaurants across California filed over $100 million in claims Monday, seeking refunds for liquor and health permits they paid for even while shuttered by the pandemic.
  • Harvard Law prof Alexandra Natapoff argues that California’s tough-on-crime Proposition 20 is garnering grocery store support because it will lead to harsher penalties for people who steal food. [Washington Post]
  • Here’s a roundup of the latest in the Bay Area bagel boom. [J Weekly]

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