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San Francisco Suddenly Plagued by Zombie Restaurants

Plus, Guy Fieri is still going strong and more intel

Nigiri from Blowfish sushi Blowfish Sushi To Die For
  • There’s something fishy going on in San Francisco’s dining scene, apparently, involving closed (or never-opened) restaurants that have seemingly risen from the dead. The SF Chronicle did a dive into a case of what is more than mistaken identity, involving popular Blowfish Sushi to Die For (that closed in December) and Wagyumafia, a high-priced wagyu restaurant out of Japan that once had plans to open in SF (but never did). Both have been available online for takeout and delivery, and in Blowfish’s case has been actually operating out of the space and using the restaurant’s signage. Read the full story here for all the bizarre details.
  • Santa Rosa’s hometown hero, Guy Fieri, continues to gain popularity in the August of his career, signing a new, three-year deal with Food Network. The deal marks his 20th year with the network he’s partnered with to launch some of its most popular shows, including Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Guy’s Grocery Games, and more. Besides being an all-around charismatic nice-guy, Fieri has also been a huge supporter of the restaurant industry during the pandemic (he executive produced and co-directed Restaurant Hustle 2020: All on the Line, a documentary film to help raise awareness about the pandemic’s negative effects on service industries) and is always on the front lines of disasters, including feeding first responders during California’s wildfires.
  • Well, it’s looking like the Hayes Valley Trader Joe’s WILL open, but not for what feels like approximately one million years (aka 2022, or even 2023), according to Socketsite. The beloved grocery chain with snacks that have spawned cookbooks and blogs dedicated to them is slated to open in 555 Fulton, at Laguna. That particular space has been in the works for over a decade as it slogged through zoning and other vendors joined and backed out. So, after everything is approved and building is done, it’s likely going to be late 2022 or early 2023 before the neighborhood can fully embrace frozen dumplings, speculoos butter, and cheap wine.
  • Investors are still betting big on Silicon Valley food and beverage, it seems. Endless West, a molecular spirits maker, just raised $21 million in Series B funding. The company uses a proprietary process to create different types of wines and spirits, using technology to extract flavors from natural sources like plants and fruits to skip the aging process, an especially expensive and time-consuming component of making alcoholic beverages. It also uses less water and agricultural land. If this new category of spirits takes off, founders could be looking at Impossible-sized dividends.
  • A social media dispute erupted over the weekend after an 18-year-old Asian man was punched in the face outside of North Beach’s Gino and Carlo. The young man was visiting San Francisco with his family over the weekend, and was waiting for a pizza in an area that was technically part of the 21+ bar area. According to CBS, another patron punched him in the face after the bar’s owner asked him to move and he declined; the man’s mother posted several TikTok videos calling the bar’s owners out for racism. Since then, the bar’s Yelp page has been bombarded with negative reviews, and the owner has received death threats. Gino and Carlo owner Frank Rossi spoke to CBS’s Betty Yu about the incident; watch it here.

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