North Beachs beloved Caffe Sapore closes, but could reopen nearby soon

Bikahi said she received a 90-day notice in October from her landlord informing her that she needed to vacate the space by December 1. 31. no reason was given, he said. after the clamor, the s.f. The small business commission added caffe sapore to the city’s legacy business registry on Friday.

real estate agent allen kajeen, representing siu chuen, 790 lombard st. property owner, said the last time bikahi signed his lease, in 2017, he was told there would be no further extensions as the landlord intended to occupy the space.

Reading: Cafe sapore sf

“We gave him two years, more than enough time and he stuck his head in the sand,” kajeen said. “I don’t know what all the fuss is about.”

Bikahi said she had signed the paperwork thinking it was the same lease she had been signing for years and only found out about the new release clause a few months later.

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Bikahi emigrated from Lebanon in 1984 and opened the cafe in 1996 in a residential block, making it one of the few businesses in the immediate vicinity. found a loyal clientele. The popular cafe is known for its Mediterranean-influenced bagel sandwiches, breakfast quiches, soups and salads.

“The support we have received over the years and especially in the last few months has been incredible,” said bikahi.

The Legacy Registry was created in 2015 for businesses that have been operating in San Francisco for at least 20 to 30 years and face a significant risk of displacement. The 230 businesses on the legacy list are eligible for grants of up to $50,000 per year to help with operating costs.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, whose district includes North Beach, said in a statement that “caffe sapore…has become a home away from home for many in North Beach, Chinatown and Russian Hill. I hope Elias and his family can use the benefits of a legacy business to reopen this beloved cafe in our community.”

at last month’s rally, peskin, known for bikahi since the 1980s, said it was important to save local small businesses: “this is a neighborhood, like many in san francisco, under enormous pressure,” he said.

See also: Día Internacional del Café

rents have increased significantly in san francisco in recent years. Rent control laws, seen as a safety net protecting residents who rent, do not exist for commercial real estate in California.

Bikahi said there’s a strong possibility the cafe could reopen not far from its old space, though he declined to provide a timeline.

“It’s been promising, there are empty shops everywhere and room for us to put something together again.”

shwanika narayan is an editor of the san francisco chronicle. email: shwanika.narayan@ twitter: @shwanika

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