The beleaguered Burger King at Market and Grove Streets vacated that space in 2019, and now has a new tenant in ex-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s CloudKitchens ghost kitchen operation.
SFist broke the news in 2019 that the Civic Center Burger King had closed, and at the time, had racked up 16 Department of Public Health complaints or violations in its final eight months in business. This Burger King franchise’s Yelp reviews contained such bangers as “The definition of disgusting,” and “There are live birds flying around in here as I write this. There is food all over the floors.” The space has appeared vacant since.
But it’s not vacant anymore, and a new tenant has quietly been making progress behind the scenes. The San Francisco Business Times reports that former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s new ghost kitchen company CloudKitchens has leased the Civic Center Burger King space, "according to a source with direct knowledge of the project and related public documents," that publication says.
The lease technically belongs to an LA-based subsidiary of CloudKitchens called City Storage Systems. The Business Times adds that the company first filed for Planning Department permits in 2021. The building is owned by SF-based H. Drake Corp.
And they've already racked up a lawsuit! Per the Business Times, “Express Plumbing, a plumbing contractor hired to perform work on the building, sued both H. Drake Corp. and CSS in May for breach of contract, seeking $8,300 in payment Express alleges it is owed for work completed on the project since January.”
And the delivery-only ghost kitchen racket is no stranger to controversy. You may recall the GrubHub impostor of Michelin-starred Kin Khao worked out of a competing ghost kitchen company’s operations. A CloudKitchens location in Oakland managed to infuriate its neighbors with garbage piling up in dumpsters and traffic violations. A San Francisco CloudKitchens location at 60 Morris had similar delivery driver traffic chaos (and little emphasis on quality control) though has since tried to pass itself as being located at 475 Sixth Street, which is effectively the same building.
Hoodline reported last month that a San Jose CloudKitchens hub is also in the works, so maybe the company is in growth mode. Or maybe they’re not. CloudKitchens scored an $850 million funding round and a $15 billion valuation in 2021, but had layoffs in late 2022 as the delivery boom went a little bust. A Business Insider report from last year detailed that many restaurants were suing CloudKitchens over unmet obligations, noting that some CloudKitchens ghost kitchens did not even have bathrooms or kitchen sinks.
So if and when Travis Kalanick's new ghost kitchen comes to Market and Grove Streets, they could conceivably keep the Department of Public Health just as busy as Burger King did.
Image: Kevin Y. via Yelp