Quantcast

After Decades On Hyde, Lafayette Coffee Shop Must Relocate

Photo: Brittany Hopkins/Hoodline
By Brittany Hopkins - Published on March 11, 2016.

For Stanley and Stefanie Yang, who own and operate Lafayette Coffee Shop at 250 Hyde St., a fresh paint job on their 109-year-old building was the first sign of trouble.

The couple have owned the diner for the past 10 years, but it's been feeding residents greasy homestyle American dishes for decades. According to the Central City Extra, it's said that the diner launched in 1925, but actual recorded history of the business in city archives dates back to 1953. And many of their customers—and their morning server Mei—have been regulars for 30 years or more.

Regardless of its longevity in the neighborhood, the Yangs must pick up and move after close of business this Sunday.

The Yangs.

While manning the grill last night, Stanley said he tried to renew their lease before the end of last year. But as the landlord subleased the entire building, Adrian Hotel, to a new operator—who painted the exterior, renovated the SRO rooms above and turned the Adrian Hotel into tourist accommodations—he realized that the owner had a different perspective on the building's future.

"I smelled things coming along," Stanley said, recalling that the new operator's security guards once popped in and told him that soon their space would be a high-end cafe.

When the 30-day notice finally did arrive, it was from the owner's attorney, not the owner himself, Stanley said, exasperated.

Lafayette Coffee Shop in 2011, before the building's refresh. (Photo: Kevin Y./Yelp)

“This is a terrible loss to our community as it's one of the oldest establishments, if not the oldest in the Tenderloin,” said Anh Nguyen, executive director of the Tenderloin Economic Development Project, which works to keep existing neighborhood businesses in place and bring new ones to the Tenderloin. ”This establishment is the most beautiful example of a wonderful marriage between the immigrant working community and our low-income residents, who are providing a great service at incredibly affordable prices with dignity and respect. This will absolutely be the biggest blow if we lose this business.”

But the Yangs have no intention of calling it quits. They're working with a real estate agent to find a new spot in the Tenderloin and have already visited a couple of promising options, one on Eddy and another on Larkin, not too far away.

It'll take at least two months to reopen, Stanley estimates, and once they do, you can expect the new Lafayette Coffee Shop to have "the same look, the same style. We try to keep the old school '60s, '70s ... that kind of atmosphere going on. People like that stuff."


While he's well aware the the neighborhood is changing around them, Stanley has no intention of altering the menu either. They're known for serving breakfast all day and all night. And for lunch and dinner, there's a wide variety of options, like spaghetti and meatballs, and prime rib, corned beef, roasted turkey or pot roast with mashed potatoes doused in gravy and a side of canned corn—after a starter of soup, salad and bread and butter.

(Photo: Hiroshi K./Yelp)

"It's a little greasy, but it tastes good," Stanley said. "... just an alternative to fusion, healthy stuff ... Nobody roasts turkey anymore!"

Though the menu won't change, the iconic red booths won't be sticking around. Those, Stanley says, will be trashed by the building's owner. And the iconic round neon sign marking their location won't be coming with them either. These days, it's against city regulation.

Lafayette Coffee Shop is open 7am-10pm at 250 Hyde St. through this Sunday, March 13th. We'll let you know as soon as the Yangs have secured a new location.

Jan 22, 2021
San Francisco Twin Peaks

SFMTA proposes reopening most of Twin Peaks to vehicle access

SFMTA staff are recommending reopening more than half of Twin Peaks to cars, despite broad public embracement of the park for non-vehicle recreation. Read More

Jan 19, 2021
San Francisco Chinatown

$1.9 Million Chinatown relief measure passes Board of Supervisors

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a relief measure that would pay ailing Chinatown restaurants nearly $2 million to serve up meals for their neighbors in need. Read More

Jan 19, 2021
San Francisco Tenderloin

The Tenderloin used to have a bar where a woman was convalescing in a bed behind a curtain in back

An autobiographical essay titled "The Hard Crowd" by novelist Rachel Kushner, published in last week's New Yorker, offers some vivid snapshots of several long-gone Tenderloin bars, including one with a convalescing person in a bed in back. Read More

Jan 19, 2021
San Francisco Castro

Milk Club holds MLK Day tribute at Castro's 'Hibernia Beach' honoring community leaders

Yesterday the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club (Milk Club) held a Martin Luther King Jr. Day tribute at Castro's Bank of America (501 Castro St.), commonly referred to as 'Hibernia Beach,' honoring the civil rights icon and the passing of recent community members. Read More