The Noe Valley Voice • December 2013 / January 2014 39
RUMORS behind the news Sneezin’s Greetings By Mazook
OLL DANCING: The municipal election held on the fifth of November generated only a smidgen of excitement among Noe Valley voters. The SF Department of Elections reports that of the 18,707 people registered to vote in the ’hood, only 33 percent voted. At least we beat the city average, which was just below 30 percent. Some voters probably stayed at home because Carmen Chu, Dennis Herrera, and Jose Cisneros were all running unopposed, in their respective races for assessorrecorder, city attorney, and treasurer. However, there was a rise in blood pressure over Propositions B and C, which would have allowed the 8 Washington St. luxury condo development along the Embarcadero to be built. Although Supervisor Scott Wiener and the Noe Valley Democratic Club endorsed the measures, Noe Valley voters gave a thumbs-down to both, by a two-to-one margin (Prop. B: No 4,121/Yes 1,945; and Prop. C: No 4,216/Yes 1,830). The measures also failed citywide by similar margins. Guess people are skittish about the d-word these days.
THAI-FI: At the end of November,
James Sawatdee and his wife, Rita, closed the doors of Swatdee, the Thai food restaurant they’ve owned and operated at 4166 24th St. since 1987.
Real Food Gets Ticketed
Sheila Ash of Noe’s Nest is even flashier than usual this holiday season in a pearl headdress made by Gilbertina Guarini, designer and owner of the Qoio boutique on 24th Street.
KEEPING US IN THE FOG: It looks like La Nebbia (1871 Church at 30th) has postponed its opening—it was originally set for before Thanksgiving—until “hopefully, sometime mid-Decemberish,” says owner and chef Massimiliano Conti. Conti says the Health Department has given its “final” approval to open the café, which he previously said would be an “enoteca, lasagnaria, pizzeria, and prosciutteria.” Now, Conti is building suspense about the menu. “There will be some warm dishes and a lot of cold dishes…remember our name means ‘the fog’ in Italian.” If La Nebbia is half as successful as Conti’s first neighborhood restaurant—La Ciccia on 30th Street—it will be hot from the day it opens. THE WRITE STUFF: Local neighborhood activist Peter Gabel will be reading from his just-released book Another Way
all it bizarre timing. After allowing their building to sit vacant for more than 10 years, the owners of Real Food Company recently said they planned to demolish the 24th Street eyesore early next year and replace it with a retail complex. That’s cool. But on Friday, Nov. 15, the city’s Department of Building Inspection slapped a notice of violation on the building at 3939 24th St., citing the owners for “failure to comply with vacant or abandoned building ordinance 194-09.” Building Inspector Alan Lei, who posted the notice, said he acted after his department got an anonymous complaint. Lei couldn’t say when the tip came in. However, with 600 abandoned buildings in the city and only two inspectors, Lei said it could have taken as long as a year for the city to make an onsite inspection after the complaint was lodged. Still, the notice of violation surprised District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener and neighborhood activist Carol Yenne, who had flown to Utah in October to lobby Nutraceutical Corporation, Real Food’s corporate owners, to do something about the dilapidated, unused building at 3939 24th St. Yenne said the notice caught her off guard, and when she checked with Wiener, the supervisor said he also knew nothing about it. It may be a short-lived victory for the tipster if Nutraceutical does in fact demolish the building soon. But if the company doesn’t tear it down or fails to heed the city’s injunction, then it could face a fine that Lei says tops out at $6,885. —Corrie M. Anders
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“I am retiring, and it is really that simple,” says James, “but I will really miss all of our customers. Many came to us as couples, and then got married, and many had kids who then we got to see grow up.” Rita too says she “will have nothing but good memories of every day we were here, and all the wedding and anniversary parties [we hosted] over the years.” Perhaps the most unusual engagement, she recalls, was a party where “he was going to propose to marry her and we buried the ring at the bottom of the rice.” Also memorable was the large dinner party thrown a couple of years ago by tennis star Martina Navratilova. “Many very interesting people attended the dinner and ordered many dishes and liked our Thai beer, Singha.” Both say they are looking forward to taking it easy and “doing some traveling, especially take a trip back home,” says Rita. They are originally from Cha-Am, Thailand. A new restaurant will open at the location “after we do the improvements to make the restaurant fully ADA-compliant,” says James, “and then New Delhi Restaurant, which also has a location on Ellis Street, will open and serve Indian food.” In further Thai-tanic news, a quick check at Regent Thai on Church and 29th Street revealed that plans to open a second restaurant at Church and 25th, reportedly with an Asian fusion menu, are still on hold. The restaurant spokesperson said they had no comment as to when, if ever, they would open the new place. You might be interested to know that the storefront at Church and 25th was a bar in the early 1900s, then a speakeasy during Prohibition, and then a barbershop until 11 years ago, when the building was sold and the barber (Stephanie Smith) moved to 24th Street and opened Of Barbers and Bears.
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