Café Flore Wins, Neighbors Lose, In Battle Over Off-Site Kitchen

Cafe Flore's outdoor seating, which also sparked a battle a few years ago.
Cafe Flore's outdoor seating, which also sparked a battle a few years ago.Photo: Eric Nielson via Cafe Flore

A simmering — and pretty tedious — battle in Duboce Triangle over whether 40-year-old Café Flore (2298 Market Street) should be allowed a spot-zoning exemption for their off-site prep kitchen has come to an end, with the Planning Commission voting six to one to approve. Supervisor Scott Wiener had backed the restaurant’s application after it came to light that they’d been operating the off-site facility, behind a nail salon across the street, out of necessity but illegally for over a decade.

Owner J. D. Petras, who’s owned the cafe since 2002, argued that the kitchen was essential to the survival of the restaurant, where the onsite kitchen is a tiny triangular space wedged into what has always been a slipshod structure with a corrugated metal roof. (The former owners, as the BAR reports, had used their own home kitchen in the building across the street, initiating the arrangement.) It is nonetheless an “iconic” business in the neighborhood, as Wiener argued, and the commissioners obviously agreed. The NIMBYs of the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association, however, argued that no such exceptions should be granted, and in the organization’s newsletter they alluded food safety issues, and suggested the restaurant just scale back its offerings.

Planning Commission approves Cafe Flore’s off-site kitchen [BAR]