Café Flore was an LGBTQ+ haven in the Castro neighborhood for 47 years, hosting a popular brunch and serving as an event space for activists and artists until January 2020, when the owners announced it was permanently transitioning into an event space.
Now, the Café Flore space is being revitalized. As the Chronicle reports, a former customer, Serhat Zorlu, is opening his own café in the space by the end of this year.
While Zorlu did not reveal much about his plans, he did tell the Chronicle that he hopes to expand the kitchen and do some other remodeling. He did not provide any details about how the menu or concept for the restaurant might change.
He was, apparently, a bit more open about his plans with local activist Michael Petrelis, confirming that the new cafe will at least sell coffee.
“Hooray! #LGBTQ Cafe Flore's new lease-holder is Serhat Zorlu, Turkish-German emigre, who'll soon be selling coffee in the Castro gayborhood,” Petrelis tweeted. He also shared an email from the realtor for the owner of the building, who said, “I believe he is in the design phase and will be applying for building permits soon. Unfortunately, we are not able to disclose financial information.”
Hooray! #LGBTQ Cafe Flore's new lease-holder is Serhat Zorlu, Turkish-German emigre, who'll soon be selling coffee in the Castro gayborhood. @JanelleBitker @hoodline @ebarnews @sfist @BrokeAssStuart @ekadvany @tablehopper @eatersf @LyanneMelendez @KQEDnews @JanaKTVU @AmberKTVU pic.twitter.com/YxQrIMmKP3— Rainbow Ambassador (@MichaelPetrelis) May 12, 2022
Flore offered a unique twist on many classics, offering specialty coffees like a maple bacon coffee. The restaurant smoked its own meats in-house and rotated its craft cocktails monthly, using seasonal produce from Castro Farmers’ Market. More important than the menu, however, was the atmosphere. The queer-friendly space hosted fun events like Paint Nite, Artwalk, and put on a mural contest even after closing.
The owner at the time, Terrance Alan, had planned to convert Flore into an events space and cannabis café. Instead his focus has been on Flore Store, his cannabis retail business across Noe Street, and his visions for the cafe never came to fruition. Flore Store opened in time New Year's Eve, and last month, on 4/20, Alan and his team unveiled a new mural on the side of the building facing the Beaver Street Community Garden.
Zorlu, the Chronicle reports, moved to San Francisco about 15 years ago, and was a frequent visitor to Café Flore. Now, it seems he’ll be revitalizing a sorely-missed community gathering point in Castro.