First there was the lifting of the two-decade-old ban on new restaurants in the Castro, which the Planning Commission voted on last June, and now Pacific Heights’ own new Supervisor Mark Farrell is proposing similar legislation for Fillmore Street. The neighborhood-specific bans, enacted in 1987, were intended to keep restaurants from pushing neighborhood-serving businesses out of the area. But as the Chron reports, especially in the current retail economy, most agree that a new restaurant in a former retail space is better than a vacant storefront. “It seems like a leftover law from a different era,” says one Fillmore merchant.
Namely, an era when people were less mad about eating out, and not doing half their shopping on the internet.
A similar ban was lifted on Union Street, allowing more conditional use permits that let restaurants move into spaces that were not formerly restaurants. The language of the ban-lifting still prohibits chain restaurants.
Nate Valentine, owner of the Tipsy Pig and Mamacita, has his eye on an undisclosed spot on Fillmore near Sacramento, likely for the burger joint project we heard about last year. He says all neighborhoods have their restaurant saturation point, but the upper Fillmore hasn’t reached that yet.