Just off the intersection of Cole and Carl streets, the veritable heart of the tiny and mighty Cole Valley neighborhood stands Mexican restaurant Padrecito. But, as of October 17, the restaurant, which opened almost a decade ago, will offer no more tacos or margaritas. Owner Nate Valentine took to a private neighborhood Facebook group to let fans know the last night of service would be October 18 — he says the COVID era dealt too mighty a blow to the restaurant.
But, as of Monday, Valentine says there is simply no more food left in the restaurant. “The neighborhood turned out when we said we were closing, but as a result we’re just out,” Valentine tells Eater SF. “We could scurry and get prepped, and it’s a difficult decision, but we’re out of everything.”
Unlike some tense closings related to battles over affordable rent prices, Valentine says it’s a simple matter of economics in a “new restaurant climate.” In 2017, Valentine’s sister restaurant Mamacita closed in the Marina on a similar high note. As with Mamacita’s closing, Valentine says there is no plan for the space after Padrecito closes. He was able to pay the staff for the remaining two days he originally planned to stay open.
Fans of the restaurant have begun to speculate about what could take over the location since the announcement (also on Facebook) riffing on possible dumpling outlets, bars, gluten-free options, or a Burmese restaurant. Padrecito always offered a decadent menu, making it a destination for high-roller taco fans. Naturally, the duck enmermelada and Tecate-battered rock cod tacos were big hits, as were the mezcal and tequila-laden cocktails. One signature cocktail, the Padrecito, came with both spirits in the glass: blanco tequila, mezcal, lime, and agave, which was sure to tuck any brunch-goer into a late afternoon snooze. It’s an emotional closure for Valentine. “I’ll reiterate a thank you to the neighborhood, the team has been fantastic,” Valentine says. “It’s a unique and special neighborhood in San Francisco. Kids have grown up in this restaurant — a dad told me last night his son is devastated, and we all are. But there are realities.”
The last day of service for Padrecito will be October 18 from 5 to 9 p.m. and will not take reservations.