The owner of the 13-years vacant Patio Cafe space, Les Natali, took out an ad in this week’s Bay Area Reporter seeking chefs and a kitchen manager for a restaurant at 531 Castro Street.
The ad refers to an opening in April-May, which would bring an end to the incredibly drawn-out struggle to get something — anything — but in particular, a Hamburger Mary's, into the space. Natali was seeking and received approval in a recent planning vote for a franchise of the chain drag and burger joint, itself a product of 1970s SoMa that since spread its wings and left San Francisco.
However, the name of the restaurant wasn't mentioned in the ad, and as Hoodline reported, for a Hamburger Mary's to appear, the Entertainment Commission would need to grant approval. That's on account of the between-order drag shows that make the chain famous.
According to the Bay Area Reporter, a staff report issued last year stated the restaurant is divided into three areas with two bars and, per the old name, a big patio with a retractable roof.
Natali also owns18th Street gay bars Badlands and Toad Hall. He bought the Patio Cafe in the late '80s, and it's lain fallow since it was closed in 2002 for structural improvements.
Expect an update when we know if it's a Hamburger Mary's or not, and if you'd like to work (perhaps in drag) at the project, you can just respond to the ad.