It’s not a done deal yet, but the 105-year-old legacy business St. Francis Fountain appears to have found a new owner, a veteran of North Beach spot Mama's on Washington Square.
In its 105 years of business, San Francisco’s oldest diner and the longest-operating business on 24th Street St. Francis Fountain has racked up some historical lore. According to the soda fountain-turned-diner’s 2016 Legacy Business application, “the mayor used to come here with his mistress to hide from the reporters near civic center.” (This is unconfirmed.) It is also rumored that “the handshake deal that founded the San Francisco 49ers football team” happened at St. Francis Fountain. But when we learned in September that St. Francis Fountain was up for sale, we worried that it could be the end of the line for the one-time candy shop that has retained so many of its vintage interior and exterior elements.
St. Francis Fountain was opened by Greek immigrants in 1918. Now a Thai immigrant and longtime restaurant staffer is taking it over. https://t.co/IkJUqT0zIP— San Francisco Business Times (@SFBusinessTimes) June 1, 2023
It is not the end of the line for St. Francis Fountain! The San Francisco Business Times reports that St. Francis Fountain has found a buyer, food service veteran Mantakarn Seenin, who’s worked at North Beach diner Mama's on Washington Square, and it would be the first restaurant she’s fully owned.
The transaction has not actually closed yet. The Business Times reports that “The deal is currently under escrow with an expected closing date of June 7.”
1930s / today ft the wonderful St Francis Fountain pic.twitter.com/Gvoh94iYF3— chris arvin (@chrisarvinsf) April 17, 2021
And interestingly, the business has reportedly sold for substantially less than the $350,000 that current St. Francis owners Levon Kazarian and Peter Hood were asking. According to the Business Times, records show the business sold for just $170,000. Records also show that the deal would also include St. Francis Fountain’s Type 41 liquor license that allows them to sell beer and wine on-site.
And all signs point to very little changing in St. Francis Fountain’s appearance and overall vibe. The restaurant got Legacy Business status in 2016, and the outgoing owners said they insisted that any new buyer would pretty much keep the place as similar as possible.
Image: Andrew D. via Yelp