Yoshi's San Francisco, which unlike its Oakland mothership strayed quickly from the jazz genre after it opened in 2007, has been sold to a group called Fillmore Live Entertainment, which will be transitioning the venue in a more permanently pop/hip-hop/R&B direction. Also, the struggling sushi restaurant component will be closing, as the Mercury-News reports. Current owner Yoshie Akiba will no longer be involved, but will retain her original Oakland club.
The SF branch of the Yoshi's mini-empire struggled to get on its feet in the beginning, opening during the economic downturn and offering a more lavish experience than the original sushi restaurant and jazz venue in Oakland. It was originally part of a project by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and received multiple emergency bailout loans from the city, and was not intended to be solely a jazz venue, but one that would offer a mix of world music, R&B, and more. Despite a couple of profitable quarters over time, the club and restaurant spent most of the last few years in the red, and filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012.
And now, as far as jazz programming goes, everyone's more focused on the new $63 million SFJAZZ center in Hayes Valley.
The new owners of the yet-to-be-renamed venue say that employees will get rehired under the new company, and that music programming will go in the same direction it's been going in. The restaurant, however, will get a total makeover at the hands of Bob Burke of Ovation Consulting, who's worked with Gordon Biersch and most recently The Forge in Oakland. An opening for the new restaurant has not been set, but look for the existing sushi restaurant to shutter within the next couple of months. It should be noted that the opening chef, Sho Kamio, moved on to open his restaurant in Berkeley last year, Iyasare.
As SFGate looks back to the history:
Yoshi’s was founded in 1972 in Berkeley by Yoshie Akiba, a World War II war orphan, and her friends Hiroyuki Hori and Kajimura. The club later moved to a larger space in Oakland and began to feature live music.
The club moved to Jack London Square in 1997, creating a new 330-seat venue attached to a 220-seat restaurant. That venue remains in the hands of its founders.
A previous version of this post used the incorrect pronoun "his" to refer Yoshi's owner Yoshie Akiba.