Longtime Castro comfort-food staple Eureka Restaurant & Lounge has just announced that it's closed, marking the fourth significant restaurant closure in the neighborhood in as many months.
According to a note posted on the restaurant's door, the restaurant is closed without any further word. "Many thanks to our staff as well as our patrons!" it reads. "We are so grateful that our paths crossed!"
The two-level 18th Street restaurant was opened in 2007 by chef Gaines Dobbins — a longtime protégé of Boulevard chef Nancy Oakes — with a focus on upscale Southern cuisine. According to the Eureka website, Dobbins came from a "long family line of great cooks" in the Mississippi Delta town of Belzoni, and one of his first jobs was working for chef Paul Prudhomme at New Orleans' famous Commander's Palace. Eureka began as a sister restaurant to Chenery Park in Glen Park, where Dobbins served as the chef from 2000 to 2007.
Eureka has for years been a draw for the Castro neighborhood both for its accessible food and for its upstairs bar — given that some of the better food spots in the 'hood don't offer a full bar. The liquor license, in this case, will be worth a lot, as will this prime real estate in the heart of the Castro, surrounded by popular bars.
The restaurant made headlines on SFist a few years back because of some highly controversial "carne asada nachos" — a $7 plate of four chips topped with some meet and accoutrements. Eureka was also on our list of the best fried chicken in the city.
Back in 2010, the restaurant's management was sending out an ill-advisedly edited newsletter to regular patrons with passive aggressive notes about requesting substitutions on dishes, and diners insisting on sitting upstairs — the cramped downstairs dining room, as well as a back dining room accessed through the kitchen, were always unpopular compared with the more pleasant second floor.
The closure of Eureka follows several months in which some of the neighborhood's long-standing — and most reasonably priced — dinner destinations have closed. Chow shut its doors on Church Street in March after 22 years in business, and Firewood, which was the same age, closed on 18th Street several weeks later. Just last week we learned that Izakaya Sushi Ran, the reboot of Nomica, was also abruptly closed.
Stay tuned for news on who snaps up Eureka's prime space.