The Castro really can't catch a break when it comes to the retail vacancy epidemic that is sweeping multiple SF neighborhoods. And now we learn that two more restaurants have permanently closed on the once hopping strip of Castro Street between Market and 18th.
Last week, it was Dapper Dog — the fast-casual hot dog spot with no indoor seating at 417 Castro — which shuttered after five years, per Hoodline, without explanation. And today we're learning that Slurp Noodle Bar is now closed a few doors down at 469 Castro. As Hoodline reports, owner Nam Kim isn't talking about the reasons for the closure, but one big one could be the October 2019 suspension of the restaurant's beer and wine license. The ABC has confirmed that the business was in collections, so it seems as though that suspension was for lack of payment of liquor taxes, and it had yet been lifted — something that would greatly impact the bottom line of any restaurant.
These closures come two months after several businesses were forced to close after a fire across the street — and one of those, Osaka Sushi, is also owned by Mr. Kim and has yet to reopen. Q Bar still has some cleanup and remodeling to do after water damage from the upstairs fire in November. And the retail shop Body shuttered permanently after the fire, adding to dozens of retail vacancies across the neighborhood that have left the Castro feeling like a deserted shell of its former self.
And restaurants, while still appearing to hold up better than retail shops around the Castro in many cases, haven't been immune to various real estate and competition pressures either. Last year saw the closures of Cafe Flore, Finn Town, Papi Rico, Izakaya Sushi Ran, Firewood, Eureka Restaurant and Lounge, Chow, and Chow's short-lived (and shady) successor, Cook Shoppe. The shuttered Illy Caffe space (2349 Market Street) is becoming a pilates studio, the former Crepevine on Church is becoming the new location of FiDi wine bar/bistro Aquitaine, and the former Squat & Gobble at 3600 16th Street has just reopened as Bonita Taqueria y Rotisserie.