SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee unanimously agreed with the legislation which gives a liquor license to some small restaurants and cafes in North Beach area on Monday, September 14. The Board of Supervisors are expected to approve the measure.
On September 16, Erica Major, Assistant Clerk of the Office of the Clerk of the Board, said to San Francisco News that the Land Use and Transportation Committee approved the measure which gives a liquor license to restaurants located in North Beach.
The measure includes that small restaurants and cafes in North Beach are currently zoned as “limited restaurants,” which are prevented from getting a liquor license, and they are facing financial crisis due to the regulations under the pandemic, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
San Francisco News spoke to Jessica Furui at Family Cafe located at 362 Columbus Avenue, one of the 10 businesses which will be given the license. She expressed her excitement upon the new measure saying, “As a longtime professional in the sake industry, I have a lot of love for sake and a lot of information to share with the community! We are very excited!” They expect the liquor license will greatly benefit their bottom line. Most of their neighborhood is offering Italian and Chinese cuisine, so they are motivated to bring the location a unique experience with Japan-inspired beverages and dishes.
Furui confessed that their “business is overall down substantially, but it is steady for the most part.” The number of guests changes day to day. They started to take pick up orders using an online store platform Square Point of Sale, while they still take walk-up orders. They also set up three tables outside, and are going to build a Parklet in the next week which brings more dining options.
She explained it took more than two years for them to get the liquor license. They assumed they could already have a liquor license when they constructed the store at the North Beach location, but they could not because of the North Beach’s specific and restrictive zoning.
“Before we started construction on the space, we assumed that we could have a license for alcohol considering the space had historically been a restaurant for over 30 years…we soon realized that the previous tenant had allowed the license to lapse, meaning they did not offer alcohol and therefore did not apply for a license,” said Furui. The North Beach location does not allow the same location to re-apply for the license once it lapses.
“I had someone literally tell me to my face that we would never get a license,” Furui said. She was vocal about the overwhelming vacancies in North Beach, but the conversation did not led to any improvement. Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s assistants were listening to them and continued to study the zoning codes. After their long efforts for the license, she said “we are so grateful for the work that they’ve done to get this through and passed.” They hope the measure will be applied to not only their neighborhood, but also to the whole city.
Once the measure is officially approved, they are going to offer natural wines, Japanese beers, sake, and some unique shochu. They are excited to add seasonal izakaya style menu options to pair with their beverage options, and try European/Japanese collaborations with pastas.
Visit their website for further information, reservation, and donation.