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SF Curry Restaurant Backtracks on Chain Claims

Also: A new, green tier of reopening, and more news to know today

Thomas Uehara and Barry Louie stand outside their restaurant in San Francisco’s Marina district. It’s the first U.S. location of Hinoya Curry.
Thomas Uehara and Barry Louie said that their SF restaurant would be the first location of a Japanese chain — but now they’re saying it’s not part of the overseas company, after all.
Hinoya Curry SF

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  • When the owners of Hinoya Curry were preparing to open a curry shop in San Francisco, they did what a lot of soon-to-open restaurants do: they contacted Eater SF in hopes that we’d write about the opening. In emails to Eater, the owners wrote “we are opening Hinoya Curry’s first outlet in North America,” and that “based in Tokyo, Hinoya Curry is one of Japan’s most popular curry brands ... This SF location will be Hinoya Curry’s first foray across the Pacific on North American soil.” We covered the location accordingly, in a piece that ran over a month ago. But after the restaurant opened, the SF Chronicle reports, questions were raised over its lack of a formula retail permit, a SF-required detour in the planning process that for over a decade has required companies with more than 11 locations worldwide to seek specific permission to open in most neighborhoods in the city. (That rule is one of the reasons, for example, that it took Shake Shack so long to open its Cow Hollow outpost.) Now Hinoya Curry’s co-owner tells SF Gate that “There’s been a misunderstanding” and that “a lot of people are writing us up as being part of a Japanese chain” but they actually are not. Whatever the case, the restaurant says that it’s now pursuing the permitting process that would allow them to remain a “Hinoya Curry,” but for now has obscured its branding, a move a city official tells the Chron is a “a good faith effort” toward compliance.
  • Governor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that areas like Contra Costa County might move into the red tier of reopening by Sunday, March 14 — a change that would allow indoor dining to resume several days earlier than previously expected. [East Bay Times]
  • Newsom also said that his administration is planning a new “green” reopening tier for counties at lowest COVID-19 risk. [SF Chronicle]
  • Bay Area grocery shoppers are seeing higher food prices, which is “a sign that the economy is coming out of recession.” So, yay? [NBC Bay Area]
  • The owners of Castro restaurant Fable say that they’ve spent over $50,000 to make their outdoor patio area a lovely place to dine. [Hoodline]
  • Vicktor Stevenson, the founder of upscale SF lemonade shop Gourmonade, rebuilt his pandemic-rocked business using a subscription model. [NBC Bay Area]