Despite a reported "litany" of complaints and letters of objection from the always cantankerous dwellers of Telegraph Hill, the Planning Commission unanimously approved a developer's plans to revive 93-year-old Julius' Castle for a new generation of diners. We heard last month that Paul Scott, himself a Telegraph Hill resident, bought the property in 2012, and recently presented plans to return it to its former glory as a view restaurant and cocktail lounge after it's lain dormant for a decade. Now the Chronicle brings word that the Planning Commissioners were all on his side, with one, Kathrin Moore, addressing complaining NIMBYs thusly: "That is city life. We are not living in the suburbs, where everything has to be quiet 24/7. This is the reactivation of something that has been here longer than any of us have been alive."
Julius' Castle, as some may remember, had become a worn down tourist trap before closing in 2007, but it is still beloved in many San Franciscans' memories, including Scott's. He calls it "a special place” that represents "old-time San Francisco," and he looks forward to bringing his own son there when it reopens in the next year.
The restaurant, opened in 1924 by Italian-American restaurateur Julius Roz, survived 83 years and played host over the decades to the likes of Robert Redford, Cary Grant, Sean Connery, Marlon Brando, Ginger Rogers, and famed Mount Everest climber Sir Edmund Hillary. And, reportedly, parts of the interior paneling were taken out of the city’s 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition the same one for which the Palace of Fine Arts was constructed.
Also dismissing the complaints of (mostly wealthy) Telegraph Hill residents who said the neighborhood had been gloriously quiet since the restaurant's closure a decade ago, Commissioner Rich Hillis reportedly said that such a place, "gives those of us who don’t have the luxury of living on Telegraph Hill an opportunity to go up there and have a meal."
It remains to be seen what Scott's plans are for the menu, chef, bar, etc., but stay tuned for those details now that he'll be able to get going on a renovation.