One of SoMa's longest continually running restaurants, Fourth Street Basque-French bistro Fringale, is set to close on January 25 after nearly three decades in business.
The reasons for the closure, as the Chronicle reports are fairly familiar — tech industry workers don't go out to lunch anymore because they're fed in house, and/or no one takes long lunches anymore — but owner Jean-Marie Legendre also cites six long years of construction outside his door on the Central Subway. Legendre says that business dropped by about 30 percent when that mess began, and never recovered.
Still the restaurant trucked on, clocking 28 years in total at 570 Fourth Street. It opened in the era of Coco500 down the street (now Marlowe), which closed in 2014, as part of the first wave of gentrifying SoMa. The formerly all-industrial neighborhood that was long home to a smattering of nightclubs and the gay community's leather scene gradually morphed in the 1990s and early 2000s into the heavily residential, tech-office hub it's become today with some of the highest rents in San Francisco. Those luxury apartment and condo dwellers, along with regulars, clearly kept Fringale afloat amidst all that change, but now its in its final weeks.
"It was a good run," Legendre tells the Chronicle. "It’s sad to leave now, but it’s time to do it." Legendre had been a longtime server at Fringale when he bought the restaurant from founders Gerald Hirigoyen and Jean-Baptise Lorda in 2005.
The shuttering of Fringale is now part of a wave of closures of stalwart SF institutions from the 90s including Jardiniere, Chow, and Plouf that all closed in the last year.