Sigh … Ken Ken is gone gone

After five years, popular Mission ramen spot Ken Ken Ramen has called it quits.

A note posted in the window of the 18th Street restaurant says the decision to close was for “personal, financial and professional reasons.” The restaurant’s last day open was apparently Saturday.

While Ken Ken is no more, it looks like the space will remain a ramen restaurant. A transfer of ownership notice on the front door says the name of new restaurant is Ramenwell.

A marquee event: Doc’s working to get its sign back.

UPDATE 2/20/18: A Doc’s Clock employee has also launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to move the bar’s neon sign.

Amy Benjamin, who has been working at the bar for the past four years to pay for college, said starting the campaign was the least she could do given owner Carey Suckow’s countless efforts to raise money for community causes.

Among other efforts, Benjamin noted fundraisers Suckow has held at the bar for animal rescue groups and the victims of Mission fires.

“It’s her turn to have her community support her,” Benjamin wrote in an email. “She’s the kindest most caring person I’ve ever worked for and this is one of the only ways I can even begin to try to repay her for all the amazing things she’s done for everyone else.”

ORIGINAL POST: Doc’s Clock could see its name in lights once again.

After losing its lease and moving down Mission Street without its iconic neon, the bar has come to an agreement with its former landlord to get the sign back.

Carey Suckow, Doc’s owner, said she’s been working to secure permits to move the massive Doc’s Clock sign from its old spot at 2575 Mission St. to the bar’s new digs two blocks away at 2417 Mission.

Doc’s former landlord had previously announced that she planned to open a restaurant in the bar’s old spot and wanted to keep the bar’s sign there.

Moving the sign won’t be cheap. Suckow estimates the cost at upward of $20,000.

“We had an issue with a neighbor at our new space so costs will go up, but we are determined to make this happen,” Suckow explained in an email.

The bar has a fundraiser scheduled for March 2nd at the bar, complete with silent auction and raffle, to raise money to defray the cost of relocating the sign.

Or, as Suckow points out, you can always come in a buy a drink or two on any other day to lend your support.

As the sign states: It’s “cocktail time,” indeed.

[Photo via Thomas Hawk/Flickr]

Not a whopper: Burger King has closed

The (Burger) King is dead.

The fast-food franchise has abdicated its throne as the last standing cheapo burger joint at the intersection of 16th and Mission streets following the closure of McDonald’s, which formerly sat across the street, in 2015. Joe Arellano, a spokesman for a proposed housing development the Burger King sits in the middle of, at 1979 Mission St., said the restaurant’s owners decided to shut down on their own.

“They have been on a month-to-month lease term for a couple of years now,” Arellano wrote in an email. “We had hoped that they would have stayed open longer, but ultimately it was their decision to leave.”

Despite its royal name, the establishment was rated a mere 1.5 stars on Yelp, a fact pointed out by Twitter SFCitizen, and racked up some impressively bad reviews. Here are some nuggets:

 

Balompi-YAY! Beloved pupusa restaurant reopening soon

Missing Balompie Cafe’s amazing pupusas? The wait is almost over.

Signs have gone up in the restaurant’s entrance at 18th and Capp Street announcing a reopening date of November 24th. The spot has been closed since late May of 2016 while their building has underwent a seismic retrofit.

 

Urban Fish out of water, becoming Japanese spot

Urban Fish took its last gasp months ago, and it appears a Japanese restaurant is set to breathe new life into the space.

Signs have gone up outside 2193 Mission near 18th Street, indicating that the tiny restaurant space could be soon home to a restaurant called Tawara that offers “sake dining,” which I can only assume is Japanese food with a substantial sake menu. Based on a peek in the window last night, it seems as though the new owners still have a way to go on the restaurant’s interior.

Urban Fish, which was Weird Fish under previous ownership and known for its vegan and pescatarian options, closed roughly four months ago. An attempt to reach Urban Fish’s owner in August was unsuccessful, but an employee at his neighboring restaurant, L’Emigrante, said the other restaurant had sold.

Mau to stay after last-minute deal with landlord

Finally, some good news for a Valencia Street tenant. Much-loved Vietnamese restaurant Mau appears to have reached a last-minute deal with its landlord on the day it was slated to close.

A sign in the restaurant’s window states that as of 2:40 p.m. Saturday their landlord reached out and both sides were able to come to an agreement that will keep Mau open at 665 Valencia St. The restaurant is currently closed and will remain so until late October or early November to “regroup,” the sign says.

A man cleaning windows this morning at the restaurant said he didn’t know anything about the new agreement, only that Mau had been scheduled to close due to a rent increase.

Thanks to Twitter user klau who alerted us to the good news.

Senegalizza? Little Baobob now African-inspired pizza place

Top this: San Francisco newest fusion pizza is Senegalese.

Inspired by the success of Indian pizza in the city, Bissap Baobob owner Marco Senghor has converted his second space in the Mission into a pizza restaurant that offers three Senegal-inspired pies alongside traditional flavors.

Senghor said he struggled to come up with the right formula for the spot since he reopened in 2016 following a fire, but ultimately decided the wraps and crepes he was serving were too similar to what he was offering at Bissap Baobob, its adjacent sister restaurant and dance club.

“It was a big mistake … doing the same thing, having the same concept next door,” Senghor said Sunday, days after the new restaurant’s reopening.

The spot’s old name, Little Baobob, still hangs above the new 19th St. Pizza sign on the front of the building, but Senghor hopes the new menu is enough of a switch to attract a bigger late-night crowd.

19th St. Pizza, between Mission and Capp streets, is currently open from about 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. most days and closed Mondays. Senghor hopes to start offering delivery in the next couple months. Its thin-crust pizza offerings include yassa, inspired by the popular Senegalese dish, barbecue chicken with Senegalese flavors and an African seafood option.

The African pizzas, the first he’s aware of, got a great reception when he tried them out on patrons at Bissap Baobob, Senghor said. The pizza restaurant was already busy on Friday night, and on Saturday night, there was a line out the door.

Ultimately, Senghor said he hopes that the familiarity of pizza will entice people who would not otherwise be adventurous enough to try African food.

“People say, ‘African pizza?’ “I say, ‘Why not?,” he said.

16th and Mission development campaign ad(d)s up


Supporters of a large and controversial housing project proposed for the Mission have shelled out thousands in ad dollars to, quite literally, put up a monster fight.

Mission for All LLC paid $45,600 to display pro-development ads at the 16th and Mission Street BART station from Sept. 4 until the end of the year, according to BART spokesman Jim Allison. The 24 posters line the BART platform and are part of a larger campaign in support of a 331-unit development at 1979 Mission St., dubbed the “Monster in the Mission” by critics. The ads feature a teacher, paramedic and nurse, among others, along with the words “I am not a monster” and the assurance that the housing will allow them to live in the community they serve.

First proposed in 2013, the project has been the subject of intense debate with critics arguing that it is too big, too expensive, does not do enough to address the city’s affordable housing needs and will make gentrification in the Mission even worse. A group opposing the project, Plaza 16 Coalition, is demanding developer Maximus abandon the project and transfer the property into community hands.

Under the current proposal, 290 of the units at 1979 Mission St. would be market-rate rental apartments, while 41 others would be sold for between $280,000 and $350,000 to households that make in the $61,000–$145,650 range, said project spokesman Joe Arellano. The money from the sale of those 41 units would then be used to pay for 49 below-market-rate apartments elsewhere.

According to Arellano, Mission for All is an outreach team of young Mission residents hired by Maximus, who have been canvassing the neighborhood to explain the project to residents and dispel misinformation he claims is being spread by opponents.

CosmoNot

Ground control to Major Tom?

[Spotted on 20th Street between Capp and Mission.  Thanks, Lyla Rose!]

Too ghoul for school. Help support a Halloween tradition

No trick, a Capp street artist’s space is planning a massive treat this Halloween – and needs your help pulling it off.

The Secret Alley and its gallery neighbor, The Galallery, have launched an online campaign to raise $7,000 to build what they describe as their most ambitious Halloween installation to date. Organizers are reluctant to give away too many details but say it will be immersive and include animatronic special effects and animated projections.

An artists’ space and home to community radio station BFF.fm, The Secret Alley has put on four Halloween installations since opening at 180 Capp St. in 2005. The Galallery, which showcases the work of emerging artists, joined the effort two years ago. Past installations have included a mad scientist’s lab, a UFO crash and a sprawling pumpkin patch featuring 10-foot tall animatronic pumpkin monster. (Editor’s note: A friend and I volunteered last year for vine painting duties.)

As part of their online campaign, The Secret Alley and The Galallery are offering rewards, like tickets and gifts, in exchange for donations. Shy on funds? You can also volunteer your skills or time. Read more about it here.

[Photo via The Secret Alley]