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Controversial Castro Bar Owner Scores Hefty PPP Loans

Also: Dungeness crab season might be less bountiful than expected, and more news to know today

Castro Bar Toad Hall was the recipient of a significant PPP loan

Welcome to p.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.

  • Castro District real estate magnate and bar-owner Les Natali pulled down at least six figures in paycheck protection program loans, the BAR reports. Natali, whose bar Badlands announced its closure in July of 2020, reportedly received two PPP loans last year: one for between $350,000 and $1 million on May 3, and and for $150,000=350,000 on June 11. The money went to pay 21 employees at Badlands and 65 workers at neighboring bar Toad Hall. Natali’s a long-controversial figure in the community, as he — and his businesses — have been the focus of allegations of racial harassment and intolerance for years, spurring a human rights investigation by the city in 2005. A new bar was promised for the Badlands space in the fall of 2020, but so far, the business remains shuttered.
  • French Laundry founder Thomas Keller has left Twitter, and won’t say why — but most folks are assuming it’s due to the backlash he received after tweeting kind words about so-called “Trump Patron-In-Chief” Sheldon Adelson, a well-known Republican donor who died on January 11. [Eater NY]
  • Vietnamese pop-up BodegaSF is hoping to find a permanent spot in the Castro. [SF Weekly]
  • The Hog Heaven was the first SF boat to return with a haul of Dungeness crab, and already, there’s a new worry, as “fishers hoped in this tough pandemic year they would see an abundance of crab, but the first pull was less than expected.” [KPIX]
  • The SF Chronicle’s new restaurant ranking system is not to everyone’s taste. [SFist]
  • Chick-fil-A had hoped to open a location in Castro Valley, but city officials turned it away, after members of the community said they were worried about the traffic it would draw, as well as the company’s track record of opposition to the rights of LGBTQ folks. [KCBS]