Welcome to a.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.
Just a year after opening, the fast-casual offshoot of Michelin-starred Thai restaurant Kin Khao has permanently closed, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, in part due to rescinded Restaurant Revitalization Fund money. The closure didn’t come as the biggest surprise to owner Pim Techamuanvivit, however — Techamuanvivit told the newspaper she signed a one-year lease in August 2020, knowing the instability of the industry amid the pandemic could mean it would be a short-lived venture. Still, Techamuanvivit hoped otherwise, and applied for an RRF grant, the second federal program to assist restaurants in recovering from COVID-related losses. This time around, the program was initially meant to prioritize minority-owned businesses, before white business owners began to file lawsuits, prompting the SBA to halt payments to priority applicants. When the program shut down at the end of June due to funds being depleted, those minority-owned businesses that had been approved were left out to dry — including Kin Khao Dogpatch.
The Dogpatch closure doesn’t necessarily spell the end for Kin Khao, however. Techamuanvivit told the Chronicle that the original Kin Khao is still set to reopen alongside the Parc 55 Hotel where it’s located, though it’s “unclear” when that will be. Kin Khao Dogpatch staff will move over to Techamuanvivit’s Japantown restaurant, Nari, which she hopes to be able to open seven days a week as a result. [San Francisco Chronicle]
- SF nightlife impresario Harry Denton has died at 77, eights years after suffering a major stroke in his Nob Hill apartment, reports SFGate. The legendary barman first got into the SF bar business in the 1970s, venturing out on his own in the 1980s with a string of establishments baring his name, including classic hotel bar Harry Denton’s Starlight Room, his final bar. See the SF Chronicle’s obituary for a full history of Denton’s impact in San Francisco. [SFGate]
- When beloved Chinatown dive bar Bow Bow Cocktail Lounge reopens in the next few weeks after an 18-month closure, it will be missing one major draw: proprietor Hsiu-Mei Wong. Known to regulars as Mama Candy, the 71-year old bar owner is retiring and passing her business on to longtime bartender Jenny Han, according to SFGate, who expects to be able to reopen the iconic bar in late August or early September, with minimal changes. [SFGate]
- While festivals around the country are being called off, BottleRock Napa Valley 2021 just announced its star-studded lineup for the Culinary Stage, which includes Bay Area heavy hitters like Michael Mina, Matt Horn, Ayesha Curry, and many more national names. The three-day festival takes place September 3 through September 5.