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That’s Some Timing: SF’s Iconic Tosca Cafe Has Just Reopened

Also: The Cheesecake Factory won’t be paying rent, and more news to start your day

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North Beach’s beloved Tosca Cafe reopened on Thursday, March 25
Tosca Cafe

Tosca’s been closed since last summer, but the 101-year-old North Beach restaurant reopened for business Thursday night.

It’s been a rocky road for Tosca, which was saved from disaster in 2013, then flipped from frying pan to fire when one of its presumed saviors was accused of multiple incidents of sexual misconduct. It abruptly shuttered last July, then was purchased by a trio of local food luminaries — but its reopening has been plagued by delays until Thursday night, when it opened for takeout amid perhaps the worst crisis the restaurant industry has ever known, the SF Chronicle reports.

New owners Nancy Oakes (Boulevard), Anna Weinberg (Marlowe), and Ken Fulk (the Battery, Leo’s Oyster Bar) are behind what was, in different times, considered one of the most anticipated restaurant openings of the spring. The reality is a more sedate affair, the Chron says, with bottles of wine and family-style meals offered for takeout at the cost of $24 per person.

The Tosca dream team (not Eater’s words — that’s what the company behind the new restaurant calls itself) isn’t the only restaurant owner that opted to make a debut Thursday, coronavirus be damned. Three Michelin-starred chef David Kinch, of Manresa fame, opened his eagerly-awaited Franco-Italian spot Mentone last night, the San Jose Mercury News reports, offering its Valoriani wood-fueled pizza for curbside delivery. But here’s the big question: If diners have the choice between supporting a familiar fave during this troubled time or taking a risk with a new restaurant, which are they more inclined to do?

And in other news...

  • San Francisco’s City Attorney sent a press release Wednesday trumpeting the shutdown of a still-operating nightlife venue (obviously illegal under the current shelter-in-place order). The release was dutifully picked up by local news orgs, but the promoter of the 251 Cocktail Club event say that it had been canceled long ago. [KPIX]
  • Passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship quarantined in Solano County at Travis Air Force Base have written some scathing Yelp reviews about the food they were served, telling food critic Soleil Ho they endured buggy salad, samey sandwiches, and poor customer service. [SF Chronicle, h/t SFist]
  • Feeling nervous about venturing out for pantry staples? Here’s a list of contactless grocery options for the Bay Area. [San Jose Mercury News]
  • The Cheesecake Factory, which boasts an enviable San Francisco location overlooking Union Square, won’t be paying rent next month. The restaurant chain sent a letter to all its landlords (there are nearly 300 of them) saying the the coronavirus crisis has left them without the cash to pay rent on April 1, with company chairman and CEO David Overton saying “I am asking for your patience, and frankly, your help.” [Eater LA]
  • A massive, game-focused restaurant is set to open in San Francisco’s Stonestown Galleria mall next year. Gaming company GameWorks will take over 33,277 square feet of the mall’s now-vacant Macy’s location, which will contain a lounge and “branded restaurant concept” called “The Works Kitchen.” [SF Business Times]
  • When we last heard from Oakland BBQ master Matt Horn, he was trying to figure out a permitting issue that had delayed the opening of his much-anticipated restaurant. Now he’s passing out free meals to folks made food-insecure by the current crisis. [KPIX]
  • Coronavirus isolating has led to a bread-baking boom, if data from Bay Area-based Google is to be believed. [Eater National]
  • Agustin Huneeus Jr., the Napa Valley winemaker jailed for his role in the college admissions scandal, has been released two weeks early after a judge said his “unique health circumstances” put him at risk for contracting coronavirus in prison. [LA Times]
  • About a hundred Nob Hill residents have organized to ensure seniors and vulnerable residents are getting deliveries of groceries. [KRON 4]
  • Remember when everyone was making fun of food delivery robots? They sure could come in handy now, reporter Carolyn Beans writes. [Slate]
  • Noting the panic shopping boom, egg suppliers nationwide are marking prices up, which forces stores to pass those costs onto consumers. [Eater National]

Tosca Cafe

242 Columbus Avenue, , CA 94133 (415) 986-9651 Visit Website