Popular S.F. deli shuts down after seven years, plus more restaurant closures

1 month ago San Francisco Chronicle

The following is a list of Bay Area restaurants that closed during January 2023. The December 2022 list of closings can be found here.

Meat-free deli and shop Vegan Picnic has closed after seven years in San Francisco, as announced on Instagram. Vegan Picnic offered breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and dinner, as well as dessert and house-made cold brew. The closing will allow owner Jill Ritchie to focus on a new health and fitness project.

Burma Bear, the restaurant bringing together Burmese cooking with California-style barbecue, is now closed. A message on the restaurant’s website thanked folks for their support over the years, but also said the economic climate for restaurants made the operation unviable. Its last day in Oakland was Jan. 19.

The #19 pastrami sandwich with coleslaw, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing at Refuge in Menlo Park. The pastrami-centric restaurant is no more, though there are two other locations.

Michael Short/Special To The Chronicle

Menlo Park’s The Refuge served pastrami burgers and Belgian-style ales for 10 years, until its closure on Jan. 20. Owners Matt Levin and Melanie Roth told the Mountain View Voice the restaurant was unable to bounce back from the pandemic. The Refuge’s outposts in San Carlos and San Mateo remain open.

Oakland coffee shop Hive, The Place To Bee will no longer set folks abuzz with caffeine. In a message posted on its website, Hive’s owners stated the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and general difficulties facing businesses forced the closure. Its last day serving coffee and breakfast sandwiches was Sunday. 

Ludwig’s German Table’s original location in San Jose closed for good at the start of the month ending a seven-year run. The restaurant was not able to return to pre-pandemic form, an Instagram post explains. The schnitzel and bratwurst will continue to be available at Ludwigs’ other location in Mountain View. 

High rent pushed the Cheese School of San Francisco out of Ghirardelli Square, SFGATE reports, but the school will resurface in February in the Dogpatch. The new location will share space with cheese and bagel specialist Daily Driver. The Ghirardelli Square venue included a cafe and bar that only opened Friday and Saturday due to low foot traffic in the area brought on by the pandemic. (SFGATE and The San Francisco Chronicle are both owned by Hearst but operate independently.)

El Capitan Taqueria, a popular stop for tacos and other Mexican fare in the Castro, closed its doors after three years on the corner of 18th and Collingwood. Hoodline noted the restaurant’s tables and chairs have been cleared from the dining room already.

The Santa Clara location of Konjoe Burger grilled its last thick patty on Jan. 21. The imminent shuttering was first announced on Instagram at the end of December. The message explains “economics at this location no longer work.” Future outposts in San Jose and Los Altos are still in the works.

Berkeley’s Paris Baguette shop on Shattuck Avenue announced its Jan. 1 closing with a message posted to its door, SFGATE reports. The Korean chain offers a variety of pastries, cakes and breads along with salads and sandwiches. Paris Baguette locations in San Francisco, San Jose, Fremont and Mountain View are still open.

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Harvey’s, a landmark bar and restaurant in the Castro district, announced its closing on Jan 22. “What is next? We don’t know, but we know we will miss all of you,” the message partially read. The restaurant was named after San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk, and was a key venue for the neighborhood’s LGBTQ community and activists. 

The grilled chicken at Hawker Fare in San Francisco.

John Storey/Special to the Chronicle

The Mission District’s acclaimed Hawker Fare, which specialized in dishes from Laos and Northeast Thailand, held its final service on Sunday. As chef-owner James Syhabout, the mind behind Oakland two-Michelin-starred Commis, told The Chronicle, business has been down around 50% compared to pre-pandemic levels. Holy Mountain, the bar in Hawker Fare’s upstairs mezzanine, is also closed. The bar offered cocktails using tropical ingredients like passionfruit and prickly pear alongside riffs on classic cocktails. The boozy “Death Punch” was popular among large parties.

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