Last we heard, back in September, some new owners of the property that houses the beloved Grubstake, off Polk Street on Pine, were being a bit vague about the future of the 40+-year-old diner. New co-owner and developer of a proposed 15-unit condo building (down from 28 originally) on the site Nick Pigott would only say, "I can’t imagine there not being a Grubstake in there." Well, today we get an update from their PR team explaining the plan, for which clearly they're concerned about getting neighborhood and planning approval, and they're now pledging to keep the ground-level retail space reserved for a new Grubstake, complete with "railcar theme." Nonetheless, the restaurant will have to close and be demolished, which they expect to happen by spring or summer of 2017.
Per the release, for now...
The team is focused on maintaining the eclectic menu and keeping the doors open so Lower Polk residents and San Franciscans will continue to enjoy the funky, unique Grubstake that’s known and loved. Additionally, they are committed to operating the diner as-is until the groundbreaking, and they’re exploring a pop-up location or other temporary home to keep the patty melts, omelets, and caldo verde stew coming during construction.
The pop-up idea seems a bit disingenuous, but as we know, developers will promise quite a lot to get a valuable project through these approvals and obviously they've learned that a lot of people, in the neighborhood and outside, have a lot of love for The Grubstake, which even before becoming the dive-y favorite of late-night denizens had been a continuously operating diner since 1927.
In the rendering above, you can sort of see the red space that appears to be a slightly elevated, railcar-esque space that may be the new restaurant space. The entrance to the 15 condo units at 1525 Pine would be just around the corner on Austin Alley, while the restaurant would maintain the front entrance on Pine.
A bit more detail:
Jimmy Consos, the new day-to-day operator of Grubstake, explained, “The current building doesn’t meet 2016 standards for seismic integrity, accessibility, and water and electrical infrastructure. The project allows us to not only upgrade the restaurant’s bones, but at the same time brings fifteen new homes to the neighborhood.” He continued, “The reimagined restaurant mirrors Grubstake’s classic railcar theme, maintains the menu and vibe, and ensures Grubstake remains a neighborhood institution.”
Pigott and Consos are described as "longtime Lower Polk stalwarts and partners," and indeed Pigott also owns Mayes Oyster House around the corner. They purchased the Grubstake property last fall, and are continuing to manage the restaurant themselves.
SFist reached out to ask how the "railcar theme" will be reimagined, or what parts of the original structure might get repurposed in the New Grubstake, because that is unclear. I'll let you know if we get a response.Grubstake