The old-timey Coca-Cola sign was removed and carted away on Wednesday, and it looks like It's Tops on Market Street has served its last 2 a.m. hot cakes.
A coffeeshop and diner since 1935, It's Tops has seen San Francisco through a lot of incarnations. And even as nightlife around the Castro has faded in recent years, the place played host to many a late-night, drunken gaggle of friends needing some food calories after hours of boozing.
Owners Bruce and Sheila Chapman, who took over the diner from their dad in 1986, have not confirmed the news of the diner's permanent closure to a news outlet, however the signage has come down and Broke-Ass Stuart says that the Chapmans confirmed the closure to a reader. Yelp also lists the restaurant as closed.
Very sorry to report I just witnessed the removal of the It’s Tops signage pic.twitter.com/IIr3M2OTHx— Anthony Ryan (@printtemps) June 10, 2020
Oh gosh I was there too! pic.twitter.com/A9a6p07eqT— KNF100☎️ (@KNF100) June 11, 2020
Eater profiled the Chapmans in 2013, as part of their "Lifers" recurring feature, talking about how their dad had them working in the diner from the ages of 7 (Bruce) and 13 (Sheila). They said the burger was almost identical to the one served there in the 1940s, and the bacon waffle dated back to the 50s, but that they'd evolved items like the stuffed waffles and other things.
Bruce also explained that as a coffeeshop, the place used to feature beans from all over the world, long before Safeway or Starbucks started offering artisan coffees defined by geographies. And back in the 70s, there were fresh baked goods from their mother, including a walnut pie.
It's Tops is one of those relics that has kept San Francisco real, and a thread in a fabric of the city that connected us to the distant past. Where New York saw most of its retro, legacy businesses long ago replaced by chains and new-generation restaurants, SF takes pride in its dives and greasy spoons, and here we have another one biting the dust.
RIP, It's Tops. But maybe someone will swoop in and repurpose the cozy space under a new name when all this pandemic stuff is over.