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It’s Official: the Castro Can Welcome New Bars for the First Time in 35 Years

Plus, cell-cultivated lobster heads for the Bay and more food news

Places To Visit - San Francisco Photo by Margarethe Wichert/Getty Images
Lauren Saria is the editor of Eater SF and has been writing about food, drinks, and restaurants for more than a decade.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance that clears a pathway for new bars to open in the city’s historic Castro district for the first time in more than three decades, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Supervisor Rafael Mandelman sponsored the legislation, which rolled back a ban on new bars that had been in place since 1987; Mandelman says it may have been put in place because of concerns that the Castro commercial district — which radiates out several blocks from the intersection of 18th and Castro streets — was getting overly saturated with watering holes at that time.

While the Castro is home to a number of gay bars, this change means there’s now an opportunity for new business owners to add some much-needed diversity to the existing nightlife scene. For example, as one Castro business owner quoted in the Chronicle points out, there’s currently no lesbian or trans-focused bar in the neighborhood. There’s also hope that the green light on new bars will help solve the vacancy rate in the area, which was sitting around 15 percent as of November. [SF Chronicle]

Upside Foods acquires cell-based lobster maker

Berkeley-based Upside Foods has acquired a Wisconsin startup that makes cell-based lobster, scallops, and other crustaceans, per the San Francisco Business Times. The Bay Area company is racing to become a major player in the cell-cultivated meat game. Late last year Upside unveiled a $50 million Emeryville production facility and in the fall announced a partnership with star chef Dominique Crenn. [SF Business Times]

Black Sheep “lamb” lands on more San Francisco menus

You may remember that Souvla became the first restaurant to serve Black Sheep’s plant-based “lamb” last year. Now, the company has announced a new and impressive list of restaurant partners including Beit Rima, Chezchez, Ettan, Joyride, and Rooh.

Judge delays enforcement on part of that new bacon law

Part of California’s new and somewhat controversial animal welfare law — the one that has grocers and farmers warning about the possibility of skyrocketing bacon prices — has been delayed, according to an AP report in the Mercury News. On Monday, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge James Arguelles ruled retailers and restaurants don’t have to worry about enforcement of “new restrictions on whole pork meat sales” for now. [AP]

Poesia Cafe owner to open coffee shop next door

Poesia owner Francesco d’Ippolito is planning to expand into the space next door to his 13-year-old Italian restaurant in the Castro, per Hoodline. He’ll take over the former Reveille Coffee space to open a cafe with fresh breads, pastries, sandwiches, salads, and coffee; at night it’ll serve as an extension of the main restaurant. He hopes to debut the new spot in March. [Hoodline]

Orbit Coffee and malasada pop-up this Sunday

Orbit Coffee is popping up in South San Francisco at Royal Pin Donuts this Sunday — and they’re bringing “blueberry and pandan cream filled malasadas along with an assortment of our Galaxy Drinks.” Pre-orders are open now online.