L.A.-based fast-casual restaurant chain Lemonade appears to be planning a move into the space formerly occupied by La Boulange de Sunset at 1266 9th Avenue. Although the restaurant hasn't officially applied for permits, representatives are reaching out to residents, merchants and neighborhood associations, and have scheduled "an informal community meeting" for February 11th.
Founded in 2008, Lemonade is a cafeteria-style eatery that describes itself as "seasonal Southern California comfort food." The chain already has 22 restaurants in Los Angeles and Orange counties, but thanks to private equity financing, they're planning six new Bay Area locations (Sunset, West Portal, Yerba Buena, Walnut Creek, Burlingame, Palo Alto). All of those locations will be former La Boulanges.
Inside a Lemonade restaurant in Fashion Island, CA. (Photo: ocmomblog)
According to San Francisco Planning rules, chains with more than 11 locations are classified as formula retailers, which automatically triggers a conditional review process and neighborhood notifications. At 22 locations and counting, Lemonade would fall under that regulation.
Last year, around the corner at 716 Irving, a new Quickly location violated the formula retail rules and was shuttered immediately by SF Planning, reopening a few weeks later as "Irving Cafe."
With more than 2,200 square feet of dining space and 341 square feet of sidewalk frontage, Lemonade's potential new home is one of the largest restaurant spaces in the Inner Sunset. In 2012, when the project began construction, SocketSite reported that "the retail space was to be divided into three," but La Boulange ended up taking all of it.
If you'd like to share your input, Lemonade will host an open house at the former La Boulange space on February 11th at 6pm. There, locals can "meet our team, learn more about Lemonade, view our renderings and ask any questions about us and this exciting project."
Thanks to Lawrence R., Chris D., and Rose S. for the tips.
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