If you happen to have walked by the vacant retail space at 4144 18th Street (between Toad Hall and Specs in the City) this past year, you might have seen a sheet of paper posted in the window that read, "Hot dog shop?". Les Natali owns the space which used to be home to a dry cleaner that vacated sometime in late 2010 / early 2011. One of our readers pointed the sign out to us last year and we just assumed Natali was trying to offer interested lessees a possible business idea.
Well it looks like after a year or so of trying to (possibly/maybe) subtly suggest a hot dog business move in, Natali is taking matters into his own hands. A DBA (doing business as) was registered by Les Natali under the name "Castro Hot Dogs" for that location last month. Recently, a sign that reads, "Hot Dog Deli Coming Soon!" was posted in the window of the vacant space. However, no building permits or zoning permits have been filed as of yet which would be required to authorize food service at that location.
Since no permitting or renovations have been made to Natali's space yet, this could be in response to the imminent opening of the Dapper Dog Premium Hot Dog Shop in the old Bead Store location (417 Castro Street) near Lisa Hair Design. Is Natali hoping the Dapper Dog will go soft? Is the Castro big enough for two wiener shops? A look over the papered windows of the Dapper Dog location reveals that the interior is plumbed and tiled and looks nearly ready to go. The Dapper Dog may already have a leg up in the wiener wars.
We reached out to Natali last week for details regarding his new food venture, but haven't heard back. Natali is probably busy running his campaign to bring Hamburger Mary's into the Castro at his long-vacant Patio Cafe (531 Castro Street) location. The Hamburger Mary's, by the way, received a majority support vote from the Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association back in June and is awaiting approval from the Planning Commission for a conditional use authorization for formula retail operations.