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18th Street Could Become a Giant Outdoor Cafe

Also: Chez Panisse launches a sandwich program, and more news to start your day

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Rainbow Crosswalk
18th Street in the Castro is expected to close to allow expanded outdoor dining
Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

A Castro District street could completely close to allow outdoor dining, but some merchants are against the plan

The Castro District is expected to join the Mission and Chinatown’s efforts to enable outdoor dining, by closing a stretch of street in the area. While some restaurants are excited about the plan, would could launch as soon as next Friday, some merchants say it could further stifle their business.

According to the Bay Area Reporter, the Castro Merchants business association has applied to close 18th Street between Hartford and Castro streets and between Castro and Collingwood streets on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 1-10 p.m. The SFMTA is expected to approve the closure this coming Monday, the BAR says, and the first shutdown could happen on Friday, August 7.

Though some area restaurants say they are thrilled, merchants like Patrick Batt, who owns gay porn and collectables shop Auto Erotica, worry that the loss of parking might drive business away. It’s an issue that’s also come up in Palo Alto, where a stretch of University Avenue has been closed for the summer. Rob Fischer, who owns three businesses near University’s trafficless stretch (an ice cream shop, a restaurant, and a wine bar), says that he’s circulating a petition to curtail that city’s street closure, the Palo Alto Daily Post reports. He expects to present the petition, which calls on the city to end the experiment in August, to the Palo Alto town council next week.

And in other news...

  • The windows of North Beach Italian spot Trattoria Pinocchio are plastered with a slew of bigoted, racist, and otherwise offensive signs written in Italian and English. The owner of the restaurant has refused comment, but as the signs are taped on from the interior side of the space, it seems likely that the nose is growing from inside the house. [KRON 4]
  • Nearly two years after the owners of Lower Haight brewpub Black Sands sold the business to Fort Point Beer Company, and six months after it was shuttered for a massive renovation, the doors at 701 Haight Street have reopened. Now the beer spot is simply called “Fort Point,” the fourth such location in the city. There’s outdoor seating, and a menu of hot dogs to go with the brews. [Hoodline]
  • Martin Cate, the owner of Civic Center-area rum bar Smuggler’s Cove, says that he scored a $150,000 Payment Protection Program (PPP) loan, but he can’t use any of it — his place doesn’t serve food (nor, it appears, is he open to partnering with a restaurant), so he can’t reopen for the foreseeable future. [SF Gate]
  • Berkeley’s iconic Chez Panisse has launched a sandwich of the week program: this week it’s a BLT with Fatted Calf bacon, heirloom tomatoes, basil mayonnaise and arugula. Aka a BAT, right? Folks must order on Tuesdays for Friday pickups, so this only works for advance sandwich planning types. [Berkeleyside]
  • High-profile Divisadero hangout spot Vinyl Coffee & Wine Bar is scooting to 1673 Haight Street, where its owner used to operate craft brew destination Stanza Coffee. [Hoodline]
  • A racial equity-focused beer movement called Black is Beautiful is helping local breweries sell out of their imperial stout offerings. [SF Chronicle]
  • Imm Thai Street Food, a six-year old restaurant reliant on the business provided by UC Berkeley students, has been supported by neighbors who’ve rallied to generate orders to the spot. [Daily Californian]