A successful paycheck protection program loan means Zazie is able to reopen for takeout.
When Eater SF last heard from Zazie co-owner Jennifer Bennett, things felt pretty grim: the 28-year-old restaurant closed in April, after Bennett said that she’d “sold my life insurance policy, maxed out my home equity loan, and gutted my 401k” to keep the Cole Valley restaurant’s doors open. But now things are looking up for Zazie, as Bennett tells Eater SF that they’re going to reopen for takeout on Tuesday, May 5, after their paycheck protection program (PPP) funding came through.
Zazie isn’t the only restaurant buoyed by the federal loan, as SF Gate reports that Nat Cutler and Christian Albertson, the owners of Mission District beer bar Monk’s Kettle, say that their PPP loan was approved on April 15. “I cried,” Cutler told SF Gate. “I was just like, ‘I can’t believe this.’ PPP doesn’t get you out of the woods, knowing how long this might all go on, but it certainly gives you a way better chance of getting through it, especially because we are open and generating revenue.”
But even Cutler notes that “for restaurants in particular, PPP is not a very friendly loan, especially if you’re not open.” That’s one reason, Mission Local reports, that restaurants like The Crepe House and Manny’s both qualified, but are now worried about accepting the funds, as hiring back employees (as the loan’s terms for forgiveness requires) who might not have any work to do seems like a losing proposition.
Other spots, like Financial District bar the Barrel Room, likely envy these wavering recipients their choice. According to KPIX, owner Sarah Trubnick says that if her 9-year-old spot doesn’t qualify for a PPP loan, it’ll likely close. “We did everything right with the applications and we get nothing, we just keep being told to wait,” Trubnick says. “I’m feeling like we are left hung out to dry,”
And in other news...
- Portola Valley’s 168-year-old Alpine Inn is “uniquely positioned for a comeback,” its owners say. [SF Gate]
- Douglas Fruehling, who moved to San Francisco less than a year ago to edit the San Francisco Business Times, says “San Francisco should think about changing that awful chain restaurant law — the one that prevents companies with 11 or more locations from opening in certain areas.” He is perhaps referring to the city’s formula retail rules, which prohibit chains in Hayes Valley, North Beach, and Chinatown. [SF Business Times]
- It reportedly costs as much as $6K a month to rent a space in a ghost kitchen, so that model is hardly the cure for all that’s ailing the restaurant industry. [One Zero]
- San Jose Japantown’s popular Banana Crepe restaurant is closing for good, as its owners head off to retirement. [East Bay Times]
- The SF Queer Nightlife Fund, a donor-supported effort for workers left jobless as LGBTQ bars (like all others) have been shuttered during the pandemic, has raised $160K. [SFist]
- Ferry Building burger spot Gott’s Roadside has reopened for takeout and delivery. [SF Chronicle]
- Controversial San Francisco restaurateur Daniel Patterson is joining the flood of lawsuits against insurance companies that are denying business interruption claims. In the suit, he says that Farmers Group denied claims for his SF spot Coi and LA restaurant Alta Adams, even though “Coi’s business interruption insurance specifically covers interruption caused by ‘civil authority,’ like a government-mandated shutdown.” [Restaurant Hospitality]
- Food critic Soleil Ho says that post-pandemic food writing should focus less on restaurant chefs and owners, and “discontinue the glorification of ‘cheap eats’ that we only value because of their affordability.” [SF Chronicle]