In the case of one Castro neighborhood restaurant that announced it would close soon, it was a landlord squabble that did them in. In the case of another, it was probably poor business following two health department shutdowns and subsequent makeovers. Hoodline reports that Zapata Mexican Grill at the corner of 18th and Collingwood is closing on October 15 after notorious area landlord Les Natali has refused to renew their lease.
The taqueria has been there for over 20 years, and owner Jorge Perez says, "This was somewhat expected as we have been operating with one-year-at-a-time lease extensions for the past few years." He says he's looking into relocating in the neighborhood, possibly at the recently shuttered Dante's Table space at 544 Castro.
Over on Market Street, the restaurant once known as Barracuda that became Mandu earlier this year after a brief Health Department shutdown, and then rebranded again in May as Janchi (after a second shutdown), has closed. Hoodline catches the news, with no new details, but we can only assume this closure is for good. (Though you never know with this place.)
And down on Church Street, the tiny, three-year-old Chile Pies outpost at 344 Church is closing due to rising rent. The company, which already has two locations in the NoPa vicinity, Chile Pies & Ice Cream at 601 Baker Street, and Green Chile Kitchen at 1801 McAllister, has recently opened another Chile Pies & Ice Cream in a historic bank space in downtown Guerneville, and they say they'll be focusing energy on that location for now.
Meanwhile, the Baker Street location is closed temporarily this week, reopening Friday, in order to expand their bakery, according to a release.
So, despite a strong economy and the fact that the Castro neighborhood is pretty much always busy with foot traffic, retail stores and restaurants still don't always seem to thrive, with Pesce being the latest example, getting set to close this weekend just two years after relocating to the 'hood.
Bars, meanwhile, do a brisk business pretty much always, and neighborhood merchants struggle to figure out how to maintain a healthy retail mix.