Castro Business Briefs, Spring Edition

Castro Business Briefs, Spring Edition

Photo: torbakhopper/Flickr

By Steven Bracco - Published on May 05, 2015.

In the ever-changing world of Castro restaurants and retail, we've got the latest on comings, goings and neighborhood businesses in transition.

Thanks to a tip from a reader who was dining at Dante’s Table over the weekend, we learned that after two years in business, the restaurant's last night of service was this past Saturday. Co-owner Dirk Tacke confirmed the closure to Hoodline on Monday, predicting that there would be an announcement of a new restaurant tenant this week. Tacke said the closure was a “financial decision.”

Dante’s was also the subject of a recent BAR report after filmmakers, who allegedly paid $300 to shoot an adult film on the patio, were thrown out by one of the owners.

Photo: Sari Staver / Hoodline

As we reported recently, it appears that the owners of Blowfish Sushi and its weekend pop-up Iza Ramen intend to open a permanent space at 544 Castro St. The owners of Iza Ramen did not respond to requests for information on their moving date, but they have filed applications with the city for a beer and wine license transfer and confirmed their intentions to move to the neighborhood.

Photo: Sari Staver / Hoodline

Several doors south at 518 Castro St., the former Castro Antiques Mall has been under construction for a week. According to neighborhood sources,  the owners of Thai House Express Castro intend to open a gift shop there, but they did not respond to requests for information. An employee at the restaurant said it would probably be several months before the shop opened.

Elsewhere on the block at 506 Castro St., coffee purveyor Artís is still hoping for city permission to open in the former Body Shop location, where Phone Lifeguards opened in March. Phone Lifeguards has a lease through July and is looking for another location in the neighborhood, an employee told Hoodline. The Artís application has been pending with city officials for months, but the formal notice was just recently posted in the storefront window.

Photo: Sari Staver / Hoodline

On the other side of the street, construction is progressing at 549 Castro St. where Philz Coffee will be open in June, according to an employee at their current location around the corner on 18th Street. The 18th Street location will close once the new spot opens for business.

Speaking of 18th Street, that stretch is also seeing its share of changes.

Zapata Mexican Grill, the popular taqueria at the corner of 18th and Collingwood, has announced that they will be closed each Wednesday to give the staff a "much needed rest," according to Jorge Perez, whose family has owned the business for 23 years. For the past several months, Zapata has been closed each Sunday, but owners have decided to close on Wednesdays instead.

Photo: Sari Staver / Hoodline

Across the street, and next-door to Mollie Stone’s, Spark Arts will be opening in the space formerly occupied by Adhikara Yoga at 4229 18th st. The brainchild of owners Angie Sticher and Aviva Kanoff, the new gallery will offer classes in art and dance, and also serve as a space for gallery shows and speakers. "We're aiming to open on June 1st," Sticher told Hoodline. "We'll have more details soon, including information on our grand opening."

Jumping back across 18th Street, many may have noticed that Bar Vero (formerly La Taza) has been closed for some time now since its opening earlier this year. They initially closed to undergo some additional renovation and create a new concept for the space. Hoodline has reached out to the owners, but no update is available at this time, other than a sign in the window that says, "Dear neighbors, we are working on changes to better serve the neighborhood. We will be back soon."

Finally on Market Street, ManDu, which opened in the former Barracuda Sushi space in February, has closed temporarily. "We had to close because of some leaky pipes and decided to do additional remodeling at the same time," ManDu chef Daniel Sudar told Hoodline. "We were not shut down by the health department or anything, as some rumors have suggested."

Update, 4:30pm: Those rumors have proven to be anything but, as Department of Public Health representative Nancy Sarieh confirmed to us that ManDu was closed down due to health code violations:

"A suspension of the establishment’s operating permit was ordered today due to a number of health code violations, with the primary issue of rodent infestation. The suspension is to remain in effect until the owner demonstrates that all violations have been corrected."

Sarieh went on to let us know that it's unknown when the restaurant would reopen"since it is up to the owner to schedule a follow up inspection when violations have been completed in order to begin the process of getting permitted to operate once again." We'll keep you posted.

Stay tuned for more news on businesses coming, going, and shuffling around in the Castro.