Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Food & Drinks
Published on November 27, 2017
Philz Coffee Looks To Open 14th SF Location In Polk GulchPhoto: Bill So/Flickr

Popular homegrown coffee purveyor Philz Coffee has its sights set on a vacant storefront that once housed Russian Hill Bookstore at 2230 Polk St. (at Bonita), Socketsite reports. 

The space has been empty for the last five months after the bookseller relocated a block away to the former PUSH Athletics spot at 2162 Polk St. 

Because it has more than 11 locations, the city's formula retail requirements require Philz to obtain a Conditional Use authorization (CU) before it may open a new café at the location.

If the plans are approved, the new spot would be the company's 14th San Francisco outpost, bringing its total to 42 locations in the US.

Proposed Philz Coffee at 2230 Polk St. | Photo: Google

District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin—who represents the neighborhood—proposed banning future formula retail establishments on Polk Street in 2016, but the Planning Commission ultimately rejected the legislation in a 4–3 vote.

A representative from Peskin's office told Hoodline they do not comment on proposed businesses facing the CU process because they are appealable at the Board of Supervisors. However, the office has received several letters of opposition to the proposed coffeeshop.

In a message dated October 27, one resident noted that the proposed coffee shop is "located within a two block stretch that already has a Starbuck’s, Peet’s, Royal Grounds and Saint Frank...We really don’t need more coffee on this part of Russian Hill." 

"These two blocks are already heavily saturated with coffee shops, and I do not see the necessity or desirability for this new coffee chain to enter these blocks," reads another letter dated November 11. "Philz Coffee will claim that they offer something different, but this is not the case," they wrote. 

Photo: Nathan Falstreau/Hoodline

Moe Jamil, president of the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association, said his organization has no comment on the proposed Philz location. 

Russian Hill Neighbors (RHN)—which is currently governed by executive committee after former president Emily Harrold relocated outside San Francisco—told us in an email that it has "not taken a position regarding the possibility of a Philz Coffee opening on Polk Street." 

RHN will refer the project proposal to its design, zoning, and land use committee to "ensure that the overall neighborhood is protected and enhanced," a member of RHN's executive committee said. "We also strive to hear from both sides of issues so that we are well-informed before taking action," the representative added.  

Philz Coffee reportedly held a community meeting for Russian Hill residents on November 9 to share its plans.

We've reached out to Philz to learn more about the proposed new outlet, but our inquiries were not returned.