26 Years In At Art's Cafe, An Old-School Diner With A Korean Twist

26 Years In At Art's Cafe, An Old-School Diner With A Korean Twist
Photos: Megan Murphy/Hoodline
By Megan Murphy - Published on February 05, 2015.

In the brunch mecca we call San Francisco, bottomless mimosas and long wait times are things diners take for granted. But sometimes, the best fare is the kind with no frills, and that’s exactly what you'll find at Art’s Café. 

Located at 9th and Irving, Art’s Café has been a neighborhood institution for 26 years. Owner Hae Ryong Youn worked many restaurant jobs after immigrating from Korea in 1982, and his dream of opening his own eatery came to fruition after he settled down in San Francisco.

Here, he met his wife Sarah, who relocated to America from a different city in Korea the same year as Hae Ryong. The couple dedicates their workdays to Art’s, with Hae Ryong cooking and Sarah taking orders and greeting customers. 

Art’s Café is a simple establishment; seating consists of about a dozen stools, and the menu offers standard brunch options, such as omelets, sandwiches, and burgers. Hae Ryong and Sarah have also incorporated Korean flavors and ingredients into several dishes, such as their tofu omelet that's served with kim chee and hot bean paste. 

Working six days a week behind Art's busy counter is hard work, but Hae Ryong and Sarah emphasize the happiness their regular customers bring during their busy days. Some have frequented the restaurant since its opening, and they've passed their affection for Art's down to their children. “We know them very well,” Sarah said of her customers. “It’s easy, more comfortable.”

The community's fondness for Art's is openly visible; the cafe counter is filled to the brim with postcards from around the world sent by loyal customers. 

Stop by at Art's for omelettes, hashbrowns and sandwiches between 7am and 3pm, Tuesday through Friday. Saturday hours are 7am to 3:30pm, and Sundays are 7:30am to 3pm (Art's is closed on Mondays).