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Mask Mandates Officially Lift Today in Most Bay Area Counties

Plus, Souvla will expand beyond San Francisco and more food news

Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

Today, February 16 the majority of Bay Area counties will lift indoor mask requirements for vaccinated patrons. SFGATE put together a useful list of places for where vaccinated folks can expect to go maskless, and a list of places where, vaccinated or not, people will need to keep their masks on. Public transit, healthcare settings, homeless shelters, and schools (at least until February 28) all continue to require masking regardless of vaccination status. Restaurants, bars, and grocery stores are all on the maskless list.

But some businesses have already made it clear they plan to maintain their own masking policies. Temescal Brewing in Oakland announced on Instagram that they’ll continue to ask customers to mask up, and have no end date in mind, citing factors including SF Beer Week and “relatively high case counts” amongst the reasons to stay covered. Cassava in the Outer Richmond points to rising cases, too, and will ask diners to keep their masks up. It may still be worth calling ahead or checking the social media of favorite businesses before a visit. [SFGATE]

Fast-casual Greek chain Souvla heads to Marin

San Francisco’s only place to get vegan lamb souvlaki is setting up shop at the Marin County Mart at Larkspur, soon to be their only restaurant outside of the city. The business’ sixth location will open in its first suburban market, and with the company’s largest outdoor space yet, the Chronicle reports. North Bay fans can look forward to “an 800-square-foot patio surrounded by olive trees in the shopping center’s central courtyard.” [Chronicle]

Non-alcoholic bottle shop opens in Los Altos

Whether it be via a smart vending machine in the Mission District or at a boozeless cafe in the Outer Sunset, the sober lifestyle is ever on the rise in the Bay. Now it’s the South Bay’s turn with the opening of Yvonne Khananis’ Faux Real bottle shop. Mercury News reports that when Khananis told her boyfriend she wanted to quit drinking “for real,” the name, and the business, was born.

Taishoken to open second U.S. location in San Francisco

What started as staff meal at Tokyo’s Taishoken Nakano has become a national sensation with over 100 businesses throughout Japan. Tablehopper reports the ramen shop’s second United States outpost is coming to San Francisco after their 2019 debut in San Mateo. [Tablehopper]

Bay Area blog features a month of Afrofuturist cuisine

What kinds of food might Octavia Butler’s Lilith Iyapo be eating on the Oankali’s ship in the Xenogenesis series? More than 30 food creators have set out to answer questions like these in a “virtual potluck” ode to Afrofuturism. KQED writes that the Bay Area’s Stefani Renée is a co-organizer, and the food looks out of this world. [KQED]