Evening Dining Proliferates On Polk Stretch

Evening Dining Proliferates On Polk Stretch
Photos: Bo McGee/Hoodline
By Bo McGee - Published on June 27, 2015.

Diners and drinkers have more options than ever on the stretch of Polk between Broadway and Green, with three new dining establishments moving in within a two-block span. The trend is reflective of the changes on the street in recent years, with an increased number of high-end bars and restaurants moving into spaces previously occupied by businesses focused on daytime foot traffic.

The first of the new trio is Lord Stanley, which recently opened at 2065 Polk St. (at Broadway), the former location of Thai restaurant T2J. Lord Stanley is owned and operated by a married British couple who have Michelin stars in their pedigree, and serves entrees in the $24-30 range. (The restaurant follows a European model, which means that tips are included in the prices.) Reviews on Yelp are generally favorable so far, but some neighbors have mourned the loss of the former tenant, with one Yelper eulogizing T2J as a "weekday lunch utopia."

Over at 2227 Polk, between Vallejo and Green, House Rules, a swanky new gastropub from the team behind Campus in the Marina and Eddie Rickenbacker’s in the Financial District, has taken over the former Pesce (which moved to a larger space in the Castro back in 2013). It offers a selection of cocktails ($9-12), as well as high-end pub grub like dirty-martini deviled eggs and lobster salad sliders.

Across the street at 2206 Polk, antique store Interior Visions (2206 Polk St., between Vallejo and Green), another longtime Polk Street business, is also being replaced with a restaurant. The shop, which ended its 20-year run earlier this year, is currently being renovated into a sushi restaurant and bar called Kinjo, operated by Amanda Tsung and Ka Wa Kong. The duo, who run sushi spots in San Carlos and San Mateo, also appear to have a similar restaurant in the works on Divisadero.

Of the three locations, only Kinjo represents a net addition of eating and drinking establishments to the neighborhood, but it still tips the balance in terms of restaurant concentration in the area. Per city Planning Code Section 303(p), the concentration of eating and drinking establishments should not exceed 25 percent of total commercial frontage within 300 feet of a new restaurant. The addition of Kinjo will bring the concentration in this stretch of Polk up by about two percent, to a total of approximately 34 percent concentration in the immediate area.

While the concentration of restaurants and bars exceeds the guidelines, the Planning Commission has given Kinjo the go-ahead, stating that it should not affect noise in the crowded Polk Street Neighborhood District. Parking concerns are alleviated to some degree by the public lot attached to Walgreens.

Some neighbors are concerned about what these changes mean for the neighborhood. "This part of Polk Street used to be more of a community," said Ian Miller, a resident of the neighborhood for more than 20 years. "There were a lot more cafes and you'd see the same people sitting in them every day. There are about four more shops that are closed down right up the street and I hope they don't turn into restaurants too. We've got enough places to eat on Polk Street now."