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Restaurants Can’t Seem to Make It on This Buzzy Castro Block

Also: Waterbar valets under scrutiny, and more news to start your day


Shuttered bars and restaurants dot Castro Street between Market and 18th Streets.

The block that many folks visualize as “the Castro,” the one with the Castro Theatre, Muni’s Castro Station, and that gigantic rainbow flag, seems like a restauranteur’s dream, with its combination of neighborhood residents and tourists regularly packing its sidewalks and — presumably — providing foot traffic to the area’s bars and cafes. But the 400 block of Castro Street (that’s Castro between 18th and Market) is lined with darkened spaces and papered-over windows, as multiple venues have closed there in recent months.

Hoodline was the first to report that Slurp, a six-year-old noodle bar at 469 Castro, has recently closed its doors. That follows last week’s closure of hot doggery Dapper Dog, the shuttering of a club called SocialHaus (463 Castro), the eviction of dessert restaurant Sweet Castro (451 Castro) and the November fires at Osaka Sushi (460 Castro) and Q Bar (456 Castro), which closed both for repairs.

There’s not a single root cause for any of these closures: it appears that Slurp’s liquor license was suspended for alleged non-payment of taxes, while Dapper Dog’s owner hasn’t been forthcoming on the reason for its abrupt demise. Socialhaus, which was initially presented to the city as a location of Flying Falafel, instead opened as a members only venue, a violation of its Planning authorization. It was ordered to cease operations by the city.

Sweet Castro also appeared to be in violation of planning laws, as owner Ali Yaldiz, who also owns the Park Gyros locations next door to it (and another one in the Inner Sunset), converted the ice creamery into an allegedly unpermitted commercial kitchen. Osaka Sushi, which is also owned by Slurp proprietor Nam Kim, has yet to repair its fire damage. Only historic LGBTQ+ nightlife spot Q Bar is set to reopen, as Hoodline reports that its owners are using damage caused by the fire as an opportunity to renovate, with a new start expected later this year.

And in other news...

  • Though the Bay Area’s robot-powered food venues are struggling to survive, a new SF startup called Robojuice is opening a smoothie joint on Stanford’s campus. [SF Business Times]
  • The valet parkers at Embarcadero seafood spot Waterbar have developed a reputation for blocking area bike lanes, despite complaints from multiple city agencies and officials. [SF Examiner]
  • The Broadway, a new cafe perched at the entrance to the 12th Street-Oakland BART station, just opened and is brewing up Ritual Roasters beans and Dandelion Chocolate mochas. [Hoodline]
  • Speaking of Dandelion, its Chief of Staff, Annie Kamin, spends her downtime making dishes like fresh pasta from her Mission District apartment kitchen, want to see it? [Eater]
  • Shake Shack’s first SF location opened at 11 a.m. Monday, but people started lining up at the Cow Hollow fast food chain at 8:30 that morning. [SF Gate]
  • Celebrity chef/M.Y. China owner Martin Yan’s KQED show, Yan Can Cook, hit the air in 1983, and now KQED is dropping episodes of the classic series every Monday on its YouTube channel. [Bay Area Bites]

M.Y. China

845 Market Street, , CA 94103 (415) 580-3001 Visit Website


399 The Embarcadero, , CA 94105 (415) 284-9922 Visit Website

Dandelion Chocolate

740 Valencia Street, , CA 94110 (415) 349-0942 Visit Website