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Mission District Bar’s Parklet Faces Hostile Architecture Allegations in Twitter Tempest

Also: A local pie maker passes, and more news to know today

The Valencia Room is at te center of a Twitter tempest over its parklet
Caleb Pershan

Welcome to p.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.

  • It began with a tweetstorm. Coco Auerswald, the director of the MS Program at the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program, claimed in a series of social media posts that the Valencia Room, an 18-month-old bar in the former Elbo Room space, has taken “measures that violate the rights of people experiencing homelessness” at a public parklet, by placing boards with upturned nails on benches. It’s possible that Auerswald has conflated the city’s public parklet program (which are open to all and are subject to a rigorous planning process) and Shared Spaces, in which businesses spend thousands to build makeshift private dining areas on city streets. Businesses were supposed to close their shared spaces platforms (as they’re officially called) when outdoor dining was banned as part of the city’s stay-at-home order, which is why you’ll now see barriers and other blockages between seating and the sidewalk at many of those structures. Of course, the city didn’t say that businesses should place boards with nails sticking out of them in their outdoor dining areas — but the Valencia Room responded to Auerswald’s tweets saying that they’ve been “subject to vandalism and mischief” since they shut down weeks ago, and that the nails-up boards weren’t their doing. Speaking to the SF Chronicle, manager Peter Tam says that security video shows “someone dismantling the seating area using a power tool,” leaving behind the hazardous damage. The vandalism was reported to SFPD, which also has the footage, Tam says. Auerswald says via tweet that “If this is vandalism why does it look so intentional? No one who saw these benches could believe it.”
  • SF native Haruwn Wesley, the owner of Pacifica’s Shampa’s Pies, died after an Ocean Beach surfing injury earlier this month. He was 64. [SF Gate]
  • SF bar owner Ben Bleiman warns that a federal relief bill intended to assist nightlife might come too late. [SF Examiner]
  • Author Jade Chang details how Bay Area food great Cecilia Chiang escaped the war in China as a teen. [New York Times]
  • Bay Area residents too busy to order from restaurants (?!?) can now purchase subscriptions to some meals. [SF Chronicle]
  • Oakland’s last remaining piano bar, the Alley, is struggling to remain afloat. [Berkeleyside]
  • SF student Cielo Spini tells the pandemic-era story of his family’s empanada company via a series of illustrations. [Mission Local]
  • Palo Alto restaurant San Agus is a Mexican restaurant without a margarita on the menu. [Palo Alto Online]