North Beach Sails Into Indian Summer
Neighborhood Businesses Celebrate Milestones
By Joe Bonadio
It has been a gorgeous August here in North Beach, sunny and bright, with little of the fog we typically see at this time of year. And as we prepare to head into Indian Summer, it’s only apt to get better. Our sidewalks are already filling up, and that bodes well for the neighborhood and our local merchants.
Speaking of which, there are a number of North Beach businesses celebrating birthdays this month. From all of us at the SFNBBA, here’s a warm shoutout of congratulations to just a few of them:
Tony’s Pizza Napoletana - TEN YEARS
Tony Gemignani altered the course of North Beach when he opened here a decade ago, bringing what many call America’s best pizzeria to San Francisco’s historic Little City. Needless to say, Tony’s Pizza has been our pride and joy ever since.
Belle Cora - 4 Years
When Teague Kernan and Nils Marthinsen opened on Green Street in 2015, they created a North Beach favorite. A European-style wine bar with small plates and plenty of lazy outdoor seating, Belle Cora is heavy on the regulars and light on the pretense.
Park Tavern - 8 Years
When they took over the former Moose’s space in 2011, the Marlowe veterans plucked a jewel of a location. Eight years later, they’ve become a standby for New American cuisine and well-crafted cocktails—and a North Beach treasure.
Real Old Paper Gallery - 3 Years
Andy England also knows a good location, and when he arrived in The Beach, he took a plum spot on the cable car line on Columbus Ave. A colorful, light-filled space full of original vintage posters, it vibrates with as much history as the neighborhood around it.
Barrio - 1 Year
When they took the old Boardroom space one year ago, Barrio kept it simple, serving a limited menu featuring beer, wine and tacos made with house-ground blue corn masa. One year in, and the newcomers have already got a troupe of happy regulars.
A Happy Birthday to you all from the SFNBBA—and here’s to many more years of success!
Readers may have noted another significant birthday, which I reported on in this space just a couple months back: the 63rd Anniversary of the venerated Caffe Trieste. Anyone who knows North Beach knows the Trieste; as much as any one business, the caffe seems to exemplify the culture of our little neighborhood.
I recently sat down with Fady Zoubi of Caffe Trieste for a brief chat; our conversation is below.
Joe Bonadio: How long have you been in North Beach?
Fady Zoubi: Twenty years now.
You’ve seen a lot of changes. How do you feel about North Beach, circa 2019?
It’s looking good. Better than other neighborhoods, actually. Think about it: North Beach is still one of the few neighborhoods that, when you walk into a business, there’s a 90 percent chance you’ll be served by the owner of that business. Actually served with passion, by a San Francisco entrepreneur.
Sure, over the past twenty years, there have been countless changes here. And that’s one of the things I love about North Beach: it’s a living neighborhood, it’s not cookie- cutter. It’s alive—it goes up, it goes down. It moves with the economy, with the times. It’s a living thing.
There are a lot of new faces in the neighborhood, and new spots opening up.
Yes. Here’s a good example: across from the caffe, when Tamarind Hall closed their doors a while back, we were worried about what would happen there. But as we speak, there is a new business already operating in the space. The Showdown SF, and they seem to be doing really well.
How long did it take for someone to lease that spot—a couple of months?
That’s right, they jumped on it. Because North Beach is still a destination for entrepreneurs. It’s a hotbed for new concepts, and people want to open their businesses here.
Thanks once again to Fady Zoubi of Caffe Trieste for spending the time with us, and make sure to visit the blog again soon for more North Beach news.