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Hakkasan, Union Square’s Clubby Cantonese Spot, Has Permanently Closed

Also: Specialty’s declares bankruptcy, and more news to start your day

Hakkasan spent $7 million to build out its dining room
Photo: Blair Sneddon

After eight years in business, the San Francisco location of the international Hakkasan chain has permanently closed.

The San Francisco location of Hakkasan, a 12-restaurant chain owned by an Abu Dhabi-based investment company, has closed for good, the SF Chronicle reports. The Union Square Cantonese spot opened in 2013 with much fanfare, following a much-discussed $7 million buildout of the space.

It was a glitzy, clubby spot that then-Chron columnist Chris Ying skewered in 2018, saying it was “built on a cynical model” of “high-end Chinese dining that has been whitewashed and covered in marble and black lacquer. The sleek darkness of the space always gives me the impression that the restaurant is trying to have sex with me.”

When the pandemic hit, Hakkasan swiftly laid off its staff, with 106 firings noted last month. In a statement, the chain said that “the impact of COVID-19 on our global operations has forced us to evaluate the viability of our venues and make a number of prudent yet difficult business decisions. To preserve the long-term stability of our business, we have permanently closed Hakkasan San Francisco.”

Long-time fans of Hakkasan shouldn’t despair, however, as its other 11 spots remain in business. In addition, Ho Chee Boon, the chain’s one-time international executive chef, is the man behind Empress by Boon, a high-end restaurant slated to open in the lofty Chinatown space last occupied by Empress of China.

Other recently-announced closures:

And in other news...

  • First, Specialty’s Café and Bakery closed all 55 of its locations, then it gave away its remaining frozen cookie dough. Now it’s officially declared bankruptcy, as it owes between $1-10 million to nearly 1,000 creditors, and only has assets between zero and $50,000. [SF Business Times]
  • San Francisco’s Outside Lands food, music, and comedy festival hasn’t announced that its 2020 event has been canceled, but given the reopening dates announced by SF’s mayor Thursday, it’s probably time to throw in the towel. [Riff]
  • Michael Musleh, who owns two Divisadero coffee shops (Vinyl Coffee and Wine Bar and Stanza Coffee), as well as Haight Street’s Pork Store, is in an enviable position during the pandemic, as he owns the buildings that house his restaurants. [SF Weekly]
  • 12 workers at Fruitvale grocery store Cardenas Markets have tested positive for COVID-19. The shop remains open, which disturbs Oakland City Council member Noel Gallo. “It’s alarming that we allow activity to continue when employees are testing positive,” he said. [East Bay Times]
  • Evan Kidera, the co-founder of truck turned mini-Filipino food empire Senor Sisig, says he doesn’t want to reopen his dining room quite yet. “When we’re able to operate like this and it’s safer for everybody, we might as well just continue to do what we’re doing,” he says. [ABS-CBN]
  • Napa County’s Caymus Vineyards have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Gavin newsom, saying that foodless wineries should be allowed to reopen tasting rooms, as (per attorney Michael Carlson) “The double standard of allowing restaurants and wineries that serve food to reopen while prohibiting wineries from conducting wine tastings alone is both unconscionable and unconstitutional.” [San Jose Mercury News]
  • Celebrity chef/restaurateur Dominique Crenn says that her first sit-down restaurant meal after dining rooms reopen will be at Zuni. [Inside Hook]
  • Why would a restaurant call a pulled pork sandwich a burger? If someone makes a PB&J with a bun, does that make it a peanut burger? What is even happening anymore. [Mission Local]

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