Cafe Flore has hit another twist in its long and winding path. The Castro spot is known for its sunny back patio, and although it never boasted particularly excellent food, it’s been a popular and reliable brunch and drinks hangout for over 47 years. A few months before the coronavirus crisis began, its most recent owners closed it to the public, saying that they wanted to make it into a private events space. Now they say they’re seeking a chef, and want to reopen as soon as possible.
The latest news comes from Hoodline, which spoke to co-owner Terrence Alan, who acquired the restaurant in 2017. Alan and his partner Aaron Silverman are cannabis advocates and first-time restaurateur who had hoped to turn the cafe (which they rebranded as “Flore”) into “a place where customers could enjoy marijuana together while socializing over food and drinks,” Hoodline reported at the time. That’s not something that’s currently allowed by law, and by January, Alan and Silverman had announced that Flore would become the GreenHouse Event Space, SF Weekly reported at the time, and its daily restaurant days were over.
Until now. Between the cancellation of 2020‘s Pride events and the city’s plan to resume outdoor dining on June 15, the mimosa-laden tables have turned once more. “I’d like to open the cafe as soon as we can, if it makes practical sense for safety,” Alan told Hoodline of his plan to reopen Flore. All he needs is a chef.
“We need somebody smart, with a new idea that fits with the neighborhood,” Alan says. “It’s a great opportunity for someone looking to build a career.”
On the one hand, Alan and his partner still don’t have much in the way of restaurant experience, and their management of the spot so far has been...inconsistent. On the other, there is certainly a deep pool of talented chefs currently available in San Francisco. It’s a glimmer of hope for fans of this wonderful space, and for anyone worried about the many empty storefronts in the Castro. And for those who dare to dream — does this mean that Flore could actually, finally have truly great food?