Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Food & Drinks
Published on August 14, 2019
SF Eats: Isla Vida, Udon Time and Laundré's cafe say goodbye; Eat Drink SF fest returns next weekPhoto: Gamma Nine Photography/Courtesy of Eat Drink SF

Here's the latest in SF food news. In this edition, we round up a trio of closures and share intel on an impending food festival. 



Isla Vida (1325 Fillmore St.)

Photo: Melissa De Mata

After less than a year in the Fillmore, Afro-Caribbean restaurant Isla Vida has served its last plate of jerk chicken. 

One of only a handful of black-owned restaurants remaining in the historically black Fillmore, Isla Vida was owned by Jay Foster (of the Tenderloin's Farmerbrown, which shuttered last year) and his business partners Matthew Washington and Erin Traylor.

The trio told the Chronicle that they struggled with low foot traffic and high operating costs, which also plagued Isla Vida's predecessor, Black Bark BBQ. A last-ditch Indiegogo campaign to save the restaurant, targeting $65,000, brought in only about $3,300.

The closure follows that of fellow black-owned Afro-Caribbean restaurant Kaya, which closed back in May amid a dispute between chef Nigel Jones and his business partner, prominent Bay Area restaurateur Daniel Patterson. Jones has sued Patterson, alleging that he failed to fulfill several financial obligations outlined in their partnership; Patterson denies the claims. 

With Isla Vida closed, Foster will continue to operate the remaining Farmerbrown location at SFO. We'll keep you posted on the future of Isla Vida's space. 


The Cafe at Laundré (2401 Mission St.)

Photo: The Cafe at Laundré /Facebook

Mission laundromat Laundré has shuttered the cafe half of its business. According to a sign in its window, the cafe's closure will "allow for greater focus and energy on the laundromat portion of Laundré!”

Owner Arianna Roviello did not respond to a request for comment. But Mission Local notes that her issues with obtaining a change-of-use permit that would allow her to serve beer and wine may have been to blame.

Last fall, the community group United to Save the Mission presented Roviello with a list of demands, telling her they would oppose her attempt to obtain the permit if she failed to sign an agreement to meet them.

The demands included changing the color of her walls, opening her books to the group (so they could determine at least half the cafe's revenues came from selling food, not beer and wine), and adding Spanish-language signage, already present in the laundromat, to the cafe. 

It's unclear if Roviello decided to meet the group's demands. City documents for the address show no record of her having applied for the change-of-use permit. 

Design District

Udon Time (55 Division St.)

Photo: Udon Time/Facebook

After a little over six months, the Omakase Restaurant Group has decided to temporarily shutter its newest project in the Design District: Udon Time.

“We are temporarily closed for a revamp," Udon Time's website notes. "But don’t worry, it will be Udon Time again soon! Watch this space for updates." A representative for the restaurant declined to share further details. 

When it opened in January, Udon Time was the fourth addition to Omakase's Design District restaurant portfolio, which also includes Omakase, Dumpling Time, Okane and Niku Steakhouse. A fast-casual eatery, it specializes in Japanese-style noodle soups, tempura and onigiri (Japanese rice balls). 



Eat Drink SF at The Midway (900 Marin St.)

Photo: Gamma Nine Photography/Courtesy of Eat Drink SF

The Eat Drink SF festival is returning to San Francisco next week, with a pair of grand tasting events at The Midway next Saturday, August 24.

Founded by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association in 2009, the festival spotlights several dozen local restaurants each year, spread across two sessions: one in the afternoon, one in the evening.

Tickets ($129/session) include unlimited samples of both food and beverages from local bars, breweries, distilleries and wineries. VIP ticketholders ($229/session) get early access and private bathrooms, as well as additional luxury items like caviar, cigars, premium chocolates and top-shelf liquor.

Participating restaurants in the afternoon session include China Live, Gioia Pizzeria, Rooh and ALX by Alexander's Steakhouse. In the evening, attendees can sample bites from Bellota, Comstock Saloon and Mission Bowling Club, among others. Both sessions will feature on-stage cooking demos from the likes of Charlie Palmer and Top Chef alum Rogelio Garcia.

Tickets to the event can be purchased here

Seen something new (or closing) in the neighborhood? Text your tips and photos to (415) 200-3233, or email [email protected]. If we use your info in a story, we'll give you credit.