SF Eats: Union Square gets dueling boba spots, Passion Peruana goes dark, more

Here's the latest on San Francisco's food scene. In this edition, two new boba spots rush to open in Union Square, a Peruvian eatery appears to have called it quits in Fisherman's Wharf, and a new executive chef and menu has been announced at a more than 100-year-old Marina cafe. 


Union Square

Black Sugar Boba & Snacks (320 O'Farrell St.)

Veteran Hoodline tipster Al M. reports that another boba spot is setting up shop in Union Square. Black Sugar Boba & Snacks is taking over the space once occupied by Specialty Car Rentals

Photo: Albertino M./Hoodline Tipline

When Al stopped by earlier this week, it didn't appear that work had commenced. "The windows are covered and a work permit was displayed, but that's it," he said. 

There's not much additional information on the new spot as of yet. Its website says that its menu is coming soon. 

Once things are up and running, expect Black Sugar to be open Monday–Sunday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. 

Gong Cha (272 O'Farrell St.)

Meanwhile, another bubble tea spot is in the works across the street. Gong Cha (272 O'Farrell St.) has been underway since earlier this year

The international chain was originally founded in Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 2006. It also has outposts in Irving, Newark, San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Davis.

On the menu, expect to see an array of milk teas, bubble teas, and Gong Cha's signature "sparkling series." (You can check out the full menu here.)

Photo: Albertino M./Hoodline Tipline

With a potential competitor moving in across the street, Al said Gong Cha has stepped up work, with a "seven-person crew working around the clock to build out the shop." 

"In the last three weeks, they've managed to install a staircase, CCTV, lights, wall panels and electric menu boards," Al said. "They found out that Black Sugar is opening! Competition is fierce with these two boba places."


Fisherman's Wharf

Passion Peruana (993 North Point St.)

Veteran Hoodline tipster Al M. reports that Peruvian eatery Passion Peruana, nestled between Fisherman's Wharf and Ghirardelli Square, has closed its doors. Yelpers have confirmed the closure as well.

Photo: Albertino M./Hoodline Tipline

"The windows are freshly covered with brown paper, and a yellow ABC license transfer application is posted," said Al. "The new business' name was not included on the posted application, though."

A search of public records revealed that a Type 41 license application has been approved for 993 North Point LLC to operate. It's not clear if there has been a transfer of ownership from one existing partner to another, or if the ownership is entirely new. 

As always, our informant Al promises to keep on eye on the space as things progress. 


Marina / Cow Hollow

Balboa Cafe (3199 Fillmore St.)

The Marina's Balboa Cafe, one of the many restaurants under the PlumpJack Group umbrella originally founded by former mayor Gavin Newsom, has announced that executive chef Goran Basarov is taking over the helm. 

Photo: Courtesy Balboa Cafe

With the move comes new lunch, brunch and dinner menus featuring some PlumpJack Cafe staples, along with a few new twists specific to Balboa Cafe.

Expect to see PlumpJack's signature tuna cones with yuzu, avocado, chives and candied orange; shishito peppers with spring onions, roasted garlic and lemon aioli; and citrus-cured salmon with housemade herb Boursin cheese and pickled mustard seeds on sourdough toast. 

New libations are joining the mix, too, like a Moscow mule, espresso-tini and an expanded wine list. 

Basarov originally hails from Macedonia and joined the PlumpJack Group in 2016, working as a sous chef at White Bison in Vail, Colorado. 

Thanks as always to the omnipresent Al M. for the tips! If you've seen something new in the neighborhood, text your tips and photos to (415) 200-3233, or email tips@hoodline.com. If we use your info in a story, we'll give you credit.

Never miss a story.

Subscribe today to get Hoodline delivered straight to your inbox.