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Volunteer Shortage Snarls San Francisco’s Dining in the Streets Plan

Also: a Bavarian-style biergarten for Oakland, and more news you need to know today

Valencia Street restaurants weren’t able to seat people in the streets on a recent weekend, after no volunteers could be found to direct traffic off the street.
Patricia Chang

Welcome to p.m. Intel, your midday roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news from publications near and far. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.

  • Valencia Street is supposed to be closed on weekends so restaurants can place tables in the roadway, but that doesn’t always happen, the SF Business Times reports. Since the shuttered streets program needs volunteers to direct cars away from the closure, if no one is available to pitch in, the streets remain open. “We are hopeful that either the folks who do have restaurants here will pitch in drink, food or maybe even money if the city isn’t willing to hire workers for two to four-hour shifts,” Etcetera Wine Bar chef William Lucas says. “If we don’t have the volunteers we don’t have the shut down streets.”
  • The Bay Area’s outdoor dining scene has flourished in recent days, as after weeks of smoky conditions, the air quality cleared up. That might change this weekend, ABC 7 reports, as “waking up Saturday morning, the winds are shifting, coming out of the north and bringing the North Complex and the August Fire Complex smoke,” meteorologist Mike Nicco says. “About half of us will be covered by Saturday evening in haze and it just keeps getting thicker as we head through Sunday.”
  • Iranian pop-up Komaaj has launched an ongoing residency at the cafe of Mission District art gallery the Laundry, the SF Chronicle reports. The spot specializes in food from the Northern part of the country, like frittata and smoked rice, as well as to-go sauces and dips.
  • Misfits Bakehouse owner Mina Makram tells Palo Alto Online that his focus on gluten free baked goods stymied his attempts to get his creations into local shops or restaurants. “When you hear restaurants (say), ‘We source everything locally; we care about high end ingredients,’” the same is not true “when it comes to gluten free,” he says.
  • Hofküche, a Bavarian-style biergarten from the folks behind Suppenküche, opens in Oakland on Saturday, September 19. [Berkeleyside]
  • In early 2021, CoCo Noir is slated to open in Oakland’s Atlas apartment complex. It’s a new wine bar from Alicia Kidd and Mari Kemp, with a plan to devote 50 to 80 percent of its stock to wines from women and BIPOC people. [SF Chronicle]

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