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NIMBYs Mobilize to Block New San Francisco Whole Foods

Also: BottleRock is rescheduled yet again, and more news to know today

Glendale Exteriors And Landmarks - 2020
A Whole Foods planned for Geary and Masonic faces opposition from neighbors worried about traffic.
Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

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.

  • City Center, that hulking retail complex where Geary Boulevard meets Masonic Street, made headlines last summer when it announced that after two years of vacancy, it had signed a tenant for one of its biggest spaces. Grocery chain Whole Foods had initially signed a lease for the mall’s former Best Buy spot back in 2017, over the objections of the Target store right next door, then started moving through the permit process in mid-2019. Now some new opponents have emerged, the SF Chronicle reports: area residents Julie Fisher and Tony Vargas, who say that the store will draw unwanted traffic. Also against the shop is United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, which says that as none of Whole Foods’ workers are unionized, the city’s Board of Supervisors should deny the Amazon-owned company the conditional use authorization it needs to open for business. If the Supes agree, WF will have to find a way out of a 20-year lease. If the Supes reject the opponents’ arguments, the city’s eighth Whole Foods will open there at a date to be determined, and will employ 200 workers.
  • “Lifestyle guide for the modern man” Esquire announced its Best New Restaurants in America, 2020 list Tuesday, and two SF spots made the cut: Palm City, the hoagies from which attracted the mag’s manly eye; and Prubechu, for its “bold, comforting” flavors.
  • BottleRock, the food, wine, and music festival in Napa, has rescheduled its 2021 event from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, the Bay Area News Group reports. The 2020 iteration of the three-day fest was canceled amid the pandemic, but tickets for this year’s show will be honored when 2021’s finally rolls around.
  • Eko Kitchen, the city’s only Nigerian restaurant, is hosting outdoor gatherings to raise awareness of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a Nigerian police unit known for torture and abuse. The SF Chronicle reports that Eko owner Simileoluwa Adebajo is giving out Nigerian food to attendees, “with hopes that its flavors will be an accessible way to talk about Nigerian culture and activism.”
  • El Charro Restaurant, a 73-year-old, beloved Mexican restaurant in Lafayette, might be closing for good. So worries the East Bay Times, which reports that its building might be for sale, and its 10-member ownership group hasn’t agreed on what should happen to the restaurant next.
  • Michael Burke, the long standing chef at UC Berkeley’s Alpha Delta Phi frat house, has been laid off after “rent shortages from the COVID-19 pandemic.” The EDD’s denied his unemployment claim, so members of the fraternity have turned to GoFundMe to support him, the Daily Californian reports.
  • Anonymous Bay Area restaurant workers say that they’re glad that indoor dining is closed, as they risks they faced while waiting on diners were too troubling to bear. [SF Gate]
  • Here’s a thorough and useful list of where one might order Thanksgiving takeout meals in the East Bay. {Berkeleyside]