Welcome to p.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.
- A new restaurant specializing in contemporary Georgian and Russian cuisine is headed to Noe Valley, reports the SF Chronicle, opening in the address that was formerly home ton Azalina Eusope’s two-year old Malaysian restaurant, Mahila. Birch & Rye is from Moscow-born chef Anya El-Wattar, who has a worked as a line cook at San Francisco’s iconic vegetarian restaurant, Greens, with an assist from Amiran Tskhvaradze as chef de cuisine, formerly chef at Bevri in Palo Alto. When it opens for brunch and dinner in the fall, Birch & Rye will serve three kinds of Georgian khachapuri, cauliflower-based vegan borscht, Russian dumplings and hand pies, and zakuski, traditional Russian snacks like smoked and cured fish, in the 35-seat building at 1320 Castro Street. [SF Chronicle]
- Mission District businesses La Mejor Bakery, Beloved Cafe, and Temo’s are among those that have received grants through San Francisco’s Small Business Relief Fund, an initiative providing offering between $5,000 and $25,000 to SF small business owners. The city says it’s given out $4.5 million to almost 600 businesses as of Friday, July 23, targeting “anchor small businesses that contribute to the culture and vibrancy of neighborhood commercial corridors.” The city also says more than 50 percent of recipients so far are women-owned and 80 percent are minority-owned. Eater has reached out to the city for a full list of recipients but has not yet heard back; a press release says small businesses can still apply online, but also that the program received a total of 843 applications and expects to award over 700 businesses by the time the review process is completed.
The $11 million in grants we committed to our small businesses are going out the door!— London Breed (@LondonBreed) July 24, 2021
Yesterday we hand-delivered $10,000 grants to four cornerstone businesses in the Mission.
So far, we've given out $4.5 million to almost 600 businesses. @HillaryRonen @JoaquinTorresSF pic.twitter.com/bdhcmvxb7H
- Vegan cheese continues to enjoy a steady infiltration into the mainstream: A San Francisco startup that makes cheese from plant-derived dairy proteins just raised $75 million in venture funding, adding investors like Andreessen Horowitz and Bill Gates-backed Breakthrough Energy Ventures, according to the San Francisco Business Times. Nobell Foods, which says it grows soybean plants rich in caseins, plans to bring the product to market by the end of next year, starting in food service rather than retail. [SF Biz]
- Plans for an infamously long-delayed Hayes Valley Trader Joe’s received its final approval from the SF Planning Commission on Thursday, paving the way for the grocery chain to open at 555 Fulton by late 2022 or early 2023, reports the SF Examiner. Despite being located in a neighborhood commercial transit district that typically bans chains, a grocery store at the luxury condominium it will be located in was a condition of the project. [SF Examiner]