A few weeks ago, the building that houses the Castro location of La Mediterranee (288 Noe St.) went up for sale, causing concern among some neighbors.
The Mediterranean restaurant’s co-owner, Vanick Der Bedrossian (the building is co-owned by his father, Levon Der Bedrossian), said they listed it just to feel out the market — and having done so, he recently took down the listing. Even in the event of a sale, he said, the restaurant wouldn’t have gone anywhere.
In fact, La Mediterranee — which started at 2210 Fillmore St. in 1979 and has since expanded to the Castro, Berkeley (2936 College Ave.), and a catering facility in North Beach (1624 Powell St.) — received SF Legacy Business status in 2019, to help ensure its future.
It's also updating itself for the modern era, earning certified green business status from the SF Green Business Program and tweaking its menu to add new items.
In order to earn green business status, La Mediterranee now powers all of its restaurants with renewable energy and LED lighting. Its takeout containers and supplies have been revamped to be fully compostable, and its menu has been re-centered on local, sustainable producers — Mary’s chicken, Superior Farms lamb and beef from a pasture rental in Oregon.
Der Bedrossian said that the changes stemmed from his personal preference for being more environmentally responsible, as well as the tastes of younger generations.
“Personally, I’ve been taking a personal approach to zero waste," he said.
Some menu items will also change: the plan is to offer more mini appetizers and small plates at an affordable price, such as baked pita chips brushed with olive oil and za'atar, served with a cucumber-yogurt djajiki dip and a harissa, tomato and walnut dip.
Another new addition is lamb shawarma, which might appear as a lunch special but eventually be extended to dinner.
Der Bedrossian said that each location is unique and has its own menu and clientele, so the new additions will vary slightly.
As far as the Castro location is concerned, Der Bedrossian said it has a strong following in the neighborhood and partners with a number of nonprofits for fundraisers.
The business is rolling out changes at its Fillmore location today, and will be transitioning them to its other restaurants in the coming weeks.