The 43-year-old Cafe Flore has been purchased by new owners, who like the present ones are LGBT and who tell the Bay Area Reporter that they plan to keep the classic Castro watering hole and restaurant much the same.
The business has been for sale since this summer, when Eater reported that the asking price was $450,000, although the Bay Area Reporter had pegged it as $495,000 with the liquor license included in the sale. Owner Stu Gerry along with three business partners, including the landlord, explained at the time that "it could be something else entirely," depending on what the new owners wanted.
"When we bought Cafe Flore, it was our singular goal to save it," Gerry told Eater "We just don't have the capital to take it all the way." He added that he hoped that the buyer would continue its legacy. "I don't want to be the one to bury Cafe Flore," he said, and cited the "thousands of people have had their first date there, or gone there as a kid, and it matters what they think."
The site of Cafe Flore has a rich history that dates to the era when the Castro was known as "Little Scandinavia" (think the Swedish American Hall). According to the website SF Gay History, it was once the location of Finnila’s Finnish Baths, and in 1973, Alfred Finnila, son of the bathhouse founder Matti Finnila, constructed the indoor-outdoor Cafe Flore. Quite notably he's also known for his work on the Golden Gate Bridge where he was the chief iron worker and also the designer of the Bridge Roadhouse, now the site's visitor and gift center. Cafe Flore also appears in the 1982 campy cult film Whatever Happened to Susan Jane.
Eventually the baths moved to the Sunset as a women's-only club, and Mahmood and Ahmad Ghazi purchased Cafe Flore, selling it after 25 years in 2002 to JD Petras. Petras brought in Gerry and two other partners in 2014. According to the Bay Area Reporter, there was plenty of interest in the restaurant once it was listed suggesting the owners had their pick of takers and the sale will close escrow on January 2.