Exploring San Francisco through the lens of city blocks, Blocker is a weekly series by Charles Hodgkins. Look for it on SFist each Wednesday, around the lunching hour.
Blocker, No. 2: Mission St. in the Excelsior
It’s like someone threw a net over the Mission District circa 1972 and moved it south a couple miles. An overly simplistic description of this block at the heart of the Excelsior? Perhaps. But it’s more accurate than you might think. Didn’t some leisure suit-clad wiseguy in a Corvair convertible blaring an 8-track of Cosmo’s Factory just turn right onto Ocean Ave.? Or did we imagine that?
The no-nonsense block of Mission St. between Brazil and Persia Sts. coldly swaps out the Beauty Bar for a dimly lit tavern called Pass Time, and Medjool for four austere Chinese joints and a closet-sized Filipino place specializing in palabok. Awnings could use an update. Shop fronts are less than shiny. There is no valet in sight. This utilitarian swath of businesses and budget eateries may not take home the crown if pitted in a glamour pageant against its celebrated rival up the way, but it stands a good chance to win the boxing match in a 15-round TKO.