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SF Restaurants Say They’re Being Haunted by Ghost Interviewees

Plus, an SF cheesecake legend is back and more intel

A help wanted sign in window of Long Island pizzeria Photo by Steve Pfost/Newsday RM via Getty Images
Lauren Saria is the editor of Eater SF and has been writing about food, drinks, and restaurants for more than a decade.

Ghosting. Putting someone on ice. Letting that situation simmer. Whatever you want to call it, Bay Area restaurant owners told ABC7 that people are doing that annoying dating thing where someone disappears without communicating any warning or reason as to why. The owner of Bluestem Brasserie told the outlet that since reopening the restaurant has hired back about half of the staff it needs, but has “been ghosted repeatedly recently in the interview process from entry level positions all the way up to management.” The Chief Operating Officer of Simco Restaurants, a company that operates five restaurants at Fisherman’s Wharf, agreed that it’s been a problem, but also pointed out that ghosting has “kind of always been there in our industry.”

Of course, shortages — of staff, of material goods, and of literal food to serve hungry customers — in this COVID-19 world are nothing new and not a problem specific to restaurants. And as tempting as it is to apply the “ghosting” term to the current restaurant labor situation, it’s important to remember that some small business owners are making real sacrifices to keep their businesses afloat, including giving up their own pay and doing the important work of re-evaluating the equity of the existing labor system. And as many, many, many media outlets have reported, restaurants might be having a hard time hiring because people are, understandably, unwilling to return to jobs that carry a high risk for often low pay. [ABC7]

Almanac Beer Co. has a big new backyard

Almanac Beer Co.’s Alameda location debuts two new spaces this Saturday including a spacious outdoor “backyard” complete with an Airstream trailer that’s been converted into a bar, shade structures, and food trucks. The 1,000-square-foot lounge is also new; it’s a cavernous space with plants and sliding doors that open onto the outdoor beer garden — and notably it’s only open to those 21 and up.

Move over, Basku, Zanze’s cheesecake is back

Baker Sam Zanze’s has revived his 42-year-old SF cheesecake business, the SF Chronicle reports. You can find the light, fluffy cheesecakes at a handful of locations including Mollie Stone’s Tower Market, Spiazzo Ristorante, Pacific Cafe, and Firenze by Night. [SF Chronicle]

The Singapore Food Festival is popping up at Viridian

San Francisco’s Singapore Food Festival 2021 lands at Oakland’s Viridian cocktail bar September 22 to 25 with specials from Singapore chefs Jeremy Cheok and Ltheana Lye (KIAP, Slake), and mixologist Leon Tan (Laut). Available for walk-in and indoor dining from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., the menu includes a clarified curry cocktail made with butter-washed whiskey, clarified chai milk, and curry leaves.

Join this conversation about building a more equitable future of food

Bay Area–based non-profit Real Food Real Stories is hosting a free or pay-what-you-can virtual event (register here) on September 23 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. featuring three women of color who will discuss how we can “meet this moment of unprecedented upheaval in our food system with long-term visions of abundance, equity, justice and care.” Here’s the lineup of speakers: