Mama's Passes First Hurdle To Open Second North Beach Location

Mama's Passes First Hurdle To Open Second North Beach Location
Photo: Geri Koeppel/Hoodline
By Geri Koeppel - Published on June 05, 2015.

Mama's passed its first hurdle to get approval to open a second North Beach location at a Planning Commission hearing on Thursday afternoon.

The Commission voted 7–0 to let Mama's have a conditional use authorization to open a restaurant and community market, Lil' Mama's, in the former Piazza Market at 627 Vallejo St., conditional upon the city's approval of a zoning change to the North Beach Special Use District. The vote to recommend a legislative amendment to change the zoning was tighter, at 4–3. As we reported earlier, the project still needs the OK from the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee, then the full Board of Supervisors, as well as the mayor's signature.

"Overall we're very excited about it and we were very happy with the supporters that came out," said Vince Sanchez, who is spearheading the effort for his brother, Mama's owner Michael Sanchez. About 25 people came to give public comment in support of a second Mama's and Lil' Mama's Market, he said. At least eight or 10 more people showed up, he added, but had to leave because the hearing was delayed due to an earlier controversial agenda item on housing that included two hours of discussion and public comment. 

The vote on the amendment "was a little closer than I thought," Sanchez said. "I thought we'd get a 5–2 vote on it, but a win is a win." The family hopes to get the rest of the approvals before the Board of Supervisors go on break in August, he added. Sanchez posted the outcome immediately on the Facebook page for Mama's 627 Vallejo in North Beach. Support It!, which has more than 260 members. And District 3 Supervisor Julie Christensen sent out a press release shortly after 6pm Thursday that said, in part, "It is past time to fill this vacancy with an active, positive, neighborhood-approved use."

Only one person spoke at Thursday's hearing in opposition to the new Mama's and Lil' Mama's. The full packet to the Planning Commission contains about two dozen letters of support and very little opposition. Opponents are in favor of keeping the space zoned for retail only, and want to see something like a hardware or grocery store there. Lil' Mama's would be a market of more than 2,000 square feet selling fresh produce, meat and specialty grocery items as well as a hot food bar operating from 7am–8pm, and Mama's would offer a breakfast, brunch and lunch restaurant open from 7–3pm.