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Chef Melissa Perello Says Parklet Issues Could Delay Frances’ Long-Awaited Reopening

Plus, corporate caterers begins to bounce back and more food intel

Dianne de Guzman is a deputy editor at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, upcoming openings, and pop-ups.

Acclaimed San Francisco chef and restaurateur Melissa Perello is in the midst of a dining room refresh ahead of the long-awaited reopening of her Castro restaurant Frances, but says she’s facing delays. Originally she’d hoped to reopen the restaurant, which has been closed since 2020, in May. Now Perello says issues with the restaurant’s parklets are holding things up.

In a post on Instagram and in an interview with Eater SF, Perello says a spokesperson for the city approached her after receiving complaints about Frances’s parklets being boarded up during construction — which Perello says she did to avoid the parklets being damaged. After going back and forth with the city, Perello says she’s being asked to make costly upgrades to the parklets, which she says would most likely require a teardown and rebuild. “Quite frankly, I don’t know if we could afford to rebuild them to the specifications that they’re asking for,” she says.

In an Instagram post Tuesday, Perello further outlined the issues and asked friends and customers of the restaurant to write the city in support of the restaurant. A spokesperson for Shared Spaces, San Francisco’s parklet program, says they’re working with Perello on updating ADA and emergency access issues with their parklet design.

Corporate catering sees more demand as tech workers return

Two catering companies tell ABC 7 they’re seeing an uptick in business as Silicon Valley companies start their trek back to campus workplaces. Art of the BBQ and Sushi Confidential noted they’re starting to book through October and August, respectively, as companies have begun arranging events and lunches for employees.

Grocery delivery apps boast “faster than 911” service

More grocery delivery services are cropping up in San Francisco, attempting to bring food and convenience store items at breakneck speed, SFGATE reports — with one business, Popcorn, saying it delivers orders “faster than 911.” A similar business, Food Rocket, uses warehouse spaces filled with items — known as “dark stores” — to build orders before bringing the items to customers within 15 minutes. Meanwhile, local corner stores say these apps undercut their businesses, which have struggled through the pandemic.

Former Berkeley schoolteacher opens tiny restaurant

Kitchenette 625 is a small restaurant that recently opened in Albany. It’s run by Carrie Orth, who was previously a Berkeley public school teacher, Berkeleyside reports. The tiny restaurant serves sandwiches and snacks, and boasts a single table outdoors, but it also conveniently serves food to guests of its next door neighbor, Ocean View Brew Works (which is co-owned by Orth’s daughter, Veronica “Vonnie” Davidson).

Sacramento to get its own cat cafe

Cat cafes have been around in Oakland and San Francisco for a number of years, but now a mother-daughter team in Sacramento is looking to open their own version, dubbed Capital Cat Cafe, the Sacramento Bee reports. Laura and Emalee Ousley imagine a spot where customers can purchase a glass of wine, beer, or coffee to bring into a cat room, where they can play with adoptable cats.

Free bluegrass festival to take over Polk Street bars

Mark your calendars: A lineup of bluegrass bands are scheduled to perform inside a number of Polk Street bars April 15-16 as part of Pickin’ on the Polk, a two-day festival being put on by Discover Polk. There will be a main stage on the corner of Polk and Broadway, as well as bands playing inside places like Kozy Kar, Shanghai Kelly’s, Ora Wine Bar and more.