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48-Year-Old ‘Frenchiest French Bistro in San Francisco’ Closes for Good

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Also: Prices for liquor licenses are at a landmark low, and more news to start your day

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After 48 years in business, Union Square’s Jeanne d’Arc Restaurant has closed for good.
Restaurant Jeanne d’Arc

The owners of Jeanne d’Arc Restaurant say that their beloved prix fixe spot is permanently closed

Back in 2018, the SF Chronicle termed 48-year-old restaurant Jeanne d’Arc the “Frenchiest French bistro in San Francisco.” Well, San Francisco got a little less Frenchy this week, as owners Micheline and Claude Lambert announced that the restaurant — which had been dark since the beginning of the pandemic — has permanently closed.

Hoodline was the first to report the news, noting a Facebook post from the Lamberts that says the restaurant “has been the achievement of our life.” Jeanne d’Arc, which was located in the basement of Union Square’s Cornell Hotel de France, has been open since 1972, but had never garnered much attention at the city’s paper of record.

Noting Jeanne d’Arc rave reviews on travel ratings platform TripAdvisor, then-Chron critic Jonathan Kauffman paid the spot a visit in 2018, where he found “a Gallic fantasy that grows more baroque with every year,” he wrote at the time. Their next critic, Soleil Ho, said in 2019 that the meal she had there offered “a dose of authentic weirdness.”

Professional critics aside, the restaurant pleased slews of tourists (and some locals!) with its $58 prix fixe menu of items like lamb loin with truffle sauce and Grand Marnier soufflé, as well as with its over-the-top decor of stained glass, pillars, and statuary. The Lamberts say its those guests, “who became true friends of ours,” that they will miss the most. The couple said that they thank those patrons “for their faithfulness which gave us the good feeling of being useful in the San Francisco and the French communities.”

And in other news...

  • Liquor licenses have long been a hot (and expensive!) commodity for San Francisco spots that want to serve hard alcohol, as their number is limited by the state. A shuttered bar or restaurant used to be able to sell a license for $250,000, but the pandemic has flooded the market with licenses for sale — and the price has dropped by $100K. [SF Business Times]
  • As of July 23, Valencia Street will be closed between 16th and 17th streets and 18th and 19th streets from 4-10 p.m. Thursday-Sundays to allow outdoor dining. It’s the first closure of this type approved by the SFMTA, and will run for the next three months. [Mission Local]
  • Limonnana, a kosher restaurant that’s been working to open on Sixth Street since 2017, has finally opened for takeout. [J Weekly]
  • Former Chez Panisse chef Cal Peternell opened The Lede last May, but it shuttered during the pandemic. Now the restaurant is back as a pop-up at Cafe Encina, and this time, it’s Incanto and Comstock Saloon veteran Carlo Espinas on the masthead. [Berkeleyside]
  • Even wineries that do not serve food were allowed to open in Santa Clara this week for tastings, but guests must make reservations before showing up for a sip. [East Bay Times]
  • Patty Unterman, the owner of neighborhood standby the Hayes Street Grill, says that her restaurant might soon open for outdoor dining, but takeout isn’t in the cards. “I don’t believe in to-go,” she says. “I go to the farmers market two to three times a week. Everything is fresh and cooked fresh. That stuff doesn’t taste good in a box. It just didn’t make sense to me.” [SF Gate]
  • The husband-and-wife team at Fruitvale vegan bakery Delightful Foods have been making their famous “No Cookie,” pies, and cakes for almost 40 years. [Bay Area Bites]
  • The owners of Castro gay bar the Mix are engaged in a bitter court battle, with allegations of financial impropriety on both sides. [Bay Area Reporter]

Restaurant Jeanne D’Arc

715 Bush Street, , CA 94108 (415) 421-3154 Visit Website

Hayes Street Grill

320 Hayes Street, , CA 94102 (415) 863-5545 Visit Website