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Downtown San Francisco’s Ambitious New Ikea-Centered Mall and Food Hall Is Delayed Again

Plus, a sweet new dessert shop with a tasting menu opens in the Tenderloin, and more Bay Area food intel

A rendering of the exterior of the upcoming Livat mall with a glass-front exterior.
A rendering of the Livat mall slated for San Francisco
Ingka Centres
Dianne de Guzman is a deputy editor at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, upcoming openings, and pop-ups.

Anyone encouraged by the news that both an 87,000-square-foot Ikea store and a food hall are set to open in San Francisco’s mid-Market area may want to temper their expectations as the San Francisco Business Times reports the project is delayed again. The last time the business outlet reported on the timeline of the Livat mall and food hall on Market Street it seemed that at the very least, anchor tenant Ikea would open by this spring, but the mega-furniture retailer says that timeline has been pushed back.

Despite refraining from naming a new opening date, an Ikea spokesperson told the outlet they “remain committed” to opening and are “energetically moving forward with construction.” Other tenants rumored to be considering a lease in the new mall include co-working company Industrious and a mini golf spot for adults from pro golfer Rory McIlroy. Developers last year said they expect the mall to open in late 2023.

Whether you take this news as encouraging or not, it happens against the backdrop of downtown San Francisco’s woes as several large-scale retailers announce they’re pulling out of their flagship locations. Stores such as Nordstrom, Anthropologie, H&M, Gap, and more have all announced they’re leaving downtown in recent months, resulting in a “doom loop” narrative of San Francisco’s business and shopping districts. It’s a storyline that Mayor London Breed is fighting against, and on Tuesday, May 16, she announced a $6 million plan to improve three blocks of Powell Street centered around the cable car turnaround and Union Square.

Oakland Popeyes closes after allegations of violence and labor violations

Complaints with Cal/OSHA and the California Labor Commissioner’s Office led to the sudden closure of a Popeyes at 7007 International Boulevard in Oakland, as the fast food chain says it will investigate allegations of child labor violations and violence at the restaurant. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the complaints detail an unsafe work environment where employees have been attacked by customers and under-trained security have pepper-sprayed both offending customers and staff.

The two 17-year-old employees who made the complaints say they’ve worked longer hours than legally allowed, while also being forced to forgo breaks and face sexual harassment while at work. Meanwhile, another employee was allegedly allowed to work at that location six days a week from the age of 13, including until midnight on school days, another violation of labor laws in the state. “We will not tolerate any violation of employment laws and if any of these allegations prove true,” Popeyes said in a statement to the paper, “we will take action against this franchisee.”

Get a sweet sugar rush with a dessert-centric tasting menu

Those with a sweet tooth will be thrilled to hear that pop-up Bellaria Dessert Studio is opening a cafe featuring a five-course dessert tasting menu as well as a la carte confections, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Pastry chef and owner Luis Villavelazquez runs the show and told the paper he wants to create “a new, dynamic and evolving dessert culture in San Francisco.” The new shop at 442 Hyde Street opens in the second week of June.

Favorite vegan dessert spot to close Sunday

In other dessert news, the Berkeley location of Cinnaholic, the chain known for its vegan cinnamon rolls, is closing permanently on Sunday, May 21. As the shop’s lease ends this month, owner Nicole Nuss writes in an Instagram post that “it is time for me to move on” after running the business since 2014.