The original St. Anthony’s Dining Room (45 Jones Street), which has been serving free meals to the poor and homeless in the Tenderloin since 1950 and now serves about 3,000 meals a day, closed yesterday in preparation for a new building to be completed in two years. The original dining room, which was a converted garage and sat about 200 people, has served approximately 38 million meals in its 62 years, often to people for whom this is their only guaranteed meal each day.
As the St. Anthony’s Foundation points out on their website, the Dining Room is touchstone for the community. “Whether in a residential hotel room or on the street, 83% of our guests live alone, and the Dining Room is a place to share stories and smiles, a place where someone would notice if they did not show up.”
During construction of the new facility, meals will temporarily be served at 150 Golden Gate Avenue, beginning today. The new building, which will cost $23 million, will include updated kitchen and dining facilities, as well as 91 units of affordable housing above the Dining Room.