Castro's 47-year-old cafe Flore closes, in switch to events-only concept

Flore is now closed for daily food and drink service. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline
By Steven Bracco - Published on January 08, 2020.

After 47 years in the Castro, historic neighborhood restaurant Flore (formerly known as Cafe Flore) has closed at 2298 Market St. 

Flore's general manager, Luke Bruner, confirmed the restaurant had closed, but declined to provide any details. It appears to have shuttered quietly at some point during the holiday season.

While Flore is no longer serving food and drink on a daily basis, a sign on the exterior says it will still be hosting private events in the "greenhouse event space," which will be "open for special events all winter long." Those interested in renting out the space are encouraged to contact Flore's event manager.

Co-owners Terrance Alan and Aaron Silverman took over the popular outdoor brunch spot back in 2017. Alan did not respond to a request for comment, nor did minority owner Stu Gerry, who was a full owner (along with J.D. Petras) prior to the 2017 sale. 

A sign advertising Flore as a rental space for private events. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

The closure comes less than three months after Alan and Bruner received unanimous approval from the Planning Commission for their forthcoming cannabis store, Flore Store.

Flore Store is set to open across the street this spring, in the space currently home to nail salon Gloss N' Glam (258 Noe St.) Gloss N' Glam's owner, Mary Ann Nguyen, is currently scouting new locations in the neighborhood.

Flore has been operating an off-site prep kitchen in the back of the Gloss 'N Glam building since the early 2000s. The potential loss of the kitchen, which quietly operated in violation of the city's planning code for more than a decade, nearly led to Flore's closure. But with the help of then-Supervisor Scott Wiener, it was fully approved by Planning in 2013.

One of the conditions of Flore Store's approval was that the cannabis business would not be permitted to use the space. But now that Flore is closed, it's unclear what Alan and Bruner plan to do with the kitchen. 

Flore Store will open at 258 Noe St. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

Flore had already been facing some fiscal headwinds. During the winter months, it reduced its hours to Thursday through Sunday, closing Monday through Wednesday.

The menu options at the restaurant had also been drastically reduced, with only a small selection of panini, baked goods and drinks for sale.

Despite its new focus on events, Flore's website and social media pages currently list only one upcoming event: a re-election campaign kickoff for Wiener, who is now a State Senator. The party is set to take place this Saturday, January 11, from 10 - 11 a.m.

Terrance Alan (middle left) and Luke Bruner (middle right). | Photo: Flore/Instagram

Flore's closure caps off a devastating 2019 for longtime Castro businesses. Body, Coldwell Banker, Firewood Cafe, Ixia, Chow on Church and Eureka Lounge and Restaurant all closed after more than a decade of operation.

The 2200 block of Market Street between Noe and Sanchez, which Flore calls home, has especially struggled with closures. The former locations of Harvest Ranch Market (2285 Market), CryoSF (2265 Market), Alegre Home Care (2253 Market), Finn Town Tavern (2251 Market), Izakaya Sushi Ran (2223 Market), and Fashion Exchange (2215 Market) are all currently vacant. 

Flore also isn't the Castro's first restaurant to switch to an events-only concept. Last year, restaurant owner Rick Hamer closed both Finn Town and his other Castro restaurant, Papi Rico, switching them to events-only spaces.

We'll keep you updated on Flore's plans, and the potential future of the space.

Thanks to tipster Tom B.! See something interesting while you’re out and about? Text Hoodline and we’ll try to find out what’s going on: (415) 200-3233.

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