A double whammy of an eviction proceeding and a health department shutdown has brought an end to Mission Beach Cafe. Owner Bill Clarke posted a note to customers Friday night saying, "Small restaurants have challenges to make everything work in San Francisco."
Known for its solid brunch, pies, cast-iron roast chicken, fruit pies and rabbit pot pie, Mission Beach Cafe debuted in 2007 in a Mission-edge neighborhood that was a good deal quieter than it is today — at the corner of 14th and Guerrero. At one point four years ago, Clarke was planning an expansion, and had inked a deal to take over the former Luna Park space at 694 Valencia Street to open a second Mission Beach Cafe, but that never came to pass (and that space has sat vacant all this time).
MBC had some initial trouble with the Health Department this past January, when it was discovered to have a rodent infestation, as well as a makeshift kitchen operating with several broken refrigerators and improperly stored meat, fish, and poultry.
The restaurant remedied its issues and reopened quickly, however re-inspections turned up continuing problems, and the Health Department filed with the city in March to permanently revoke Clarke's restaurant license. Clarke appealed, however inspectors turned up on Friday and put up a notice of permanent closure, as seen below. The notice says that the restaurant was found to pose "an immediate danger to public health or safety."
Clarke says that the inspectors showed up "un-announced," and ignoring the simultaneous eviction issue, writes, "I could address their exaggerated claims, but this would sound hollow against the all-mighty Health Department." And he says of the inspectors, "I have never seen two people so hell-bent on on a negative outcome."
He concludes, "We were getting there. Just not in time."
The building's new owner is the SPARC cannabis dispensary, which also owns the recently reopened Love Shack dispensary around the corner on 14th Street.
Owner Erich Pearson said in a statement earlier this week that the plan is to find a new community-serving cafe tenant for the space. And, Pearson said, "My heart goes out to the talented staff who have been mistreated over the years as well as the community who loved this cafe."
Update: Mission Local reports on MBC's lengthy history of bankruptcy, wage theft claims, and the fact that it hasn't had a valid state business license in years due to unpaid taxes.