At long last, Hapa Ramen’s brick-and-mortar opens tomorrow!

After doing the farmer’s market pop-up thing for years, Richie Nakano is finally opening his long-awaited ramen shop tomorrow. The Hapa Ramen restaurant is located at 2293 Mission Street, in the former 99¢ Depot. As a long-time noodle advocate, I headed over to report from the front lines, armed with a fellow noodle-loving lady.

The opening menu features snacky small plates (ribs, a raw fish tartare, a Korean seafood pancake), steamed buns a la David Chang, and with three types of ramen. The restaurant’s namesake bowl, pictured above, is generously topped with pork slabs, nugs of fried chicken, a poached egg, and seasonal vegetables.

There’s also a full bar and cocktail menu, which includes a gin drink involving Hi-Chew tincture and Hawaiian Punch syrup (above, right) that tastes exactly like a Pixy Stix. The bourbon drink on the left contained banana, black sea salt, and cacao.

Above, two of my favorite things I ate: a savory pile of roasted baby carrots and radishes, and an adorable fried chicken-and-pickle steamed bun that, in the most flattering way possible, reminded me of the classic sandwich from my childhood favorite now-shunned fast food establishment.

Oh, and those in-progress booths we reported on awhile back cleaned up real nice:

[Booth photo by Erin Conger]

P.S. Visit Girls Love Noodles!

New signage for new Emmy’s!

As we mentioned last month, our favorite spaghetti shack will be taking over the former El Zocalo space (RIP) very soon. And according to Emmy’s Instagram, the (meat)ball is rolling along steadily!

A Drama Talk & Drinks special: The future of SF nightlife

Ignoring The Space Between Windows
[file photo by Ariel]

As a passionate theater and event-goer, Brittany went to a forum on the future of SF’s nightlife amid recent closings due to economic and cultural shifts in the city, as well as neighbor complaints. Here’s her report:

Empty Sign
[file photo by Ariel]

People are moving into cities for a reason. We endure small apartments, high prices and the discomfort of living on top of each other to gain access to the inspiration and entertainment that comes with being surrounded by crazy creative people. Arts and culture are the lifeblood of what makes any city unique, particularly San Francisco.

I review theater here because I want to shine a light on one element of what makes our city so great (even if I don’t always love what I see). So when I heard CMAC (California Music and Culture Association) was hosting a “Supervisor Nightlife and Entertainment Forum” allowing Supervisor candidates to “discuss their visions for the future of nightlife and culture in San Francisco.” I wanted to hear what they had to say.

Something About The Elbo Room
[file photo by Ariel]

With the SF Bay Guardian closing announcement happening earlier in the day, the conversation about what will happen to SF if our arts and culture can’t make the rent seemed more urgent than ever. Which is why it was disconcerting that only three candidates — Supervisor Scott Weiner, Supervisor Jane Kim, and Juan-Antonio Carballo — out of six who were invited to participate even made it to the event.

(more…)

Even Mission News is rebranding to keep up with the times

According to Capp Street Crap, the iconic porn shop is revamping for a less seedy look, apparently taking design cues from Good Vibrations:

The decades-old shop near 17th and Mission streets is also being renamed Mission Secrets, all part of an effort, according to manager James Aragon, to attract more female clientele. This week, the store’s previously blue exterior was being painted beige, the interior had been lightened up, and a worker had taken down its trademark “Adult Superstore” sign. Those giant, suggestive and utterly ridiculous pictures of a man and woman that used to flank the front door, had also been covered up.

Aragon said the remodel is not to draw in more of the Mission’s moneyed residents, just to make the store more inviting to passersby.

“You have your good and bad,” he said, adding that more police presence seems to have brought more weekend foot traffic to his stretch of Mission Street. “During the weekends you have a lot of people, a lot of women walking around.”

According to Aragon, the store has begun carrying hosiery, more sex toys geared to women, and will soon have a display in the front window with a mannequin modeling the lingerie it has begun selling. On Friday, the area behind the cashier had been wallpapered and two fake orchids hung on shelves on either side of an ornate mirror. With upgrades, however, comes higher costs. Aragon said the store’s viewing booths will go from $5 to $10 and there will be a $15 all-day pass.

Boy, I’m gonna miss seeing that iconic storefront and signage from the Secret Alley. Read on for more photos and a quote about the “riff raff” in the neighborhood.

[First photo via Yelp]

The African Outlet closed their doors; new location in the works

The normally jam packed African Outlet in Hayes Valley has completely emptied out, and according to their facebook page and IndieGoGo campaign, they are looking for help to relocate, possibly to the Bay View. They claim to be just looking for a larger space, but it seems like this has been in the works for a while, and they are in reality falling victim to the city-wide rent increases [via SFExaminer].

LOL Look at this weird old dude eating hipster ice cream

[via Humphry Slowcombe's twitter]

Today’s edition of Your Constantly Changing Neighborhood

First, Hoodline has the renderings of the condos that will replace Flax Art & Design. After years of their wooden guy trying to take down Travelodge, they finally lost the battle. The new condos will pay homage to San Francisco’s rich architectural history and – oh wait, it’s just another big boxy building.

[via Hoodline]

Next, Uptown Almanac reports that after thirteen years, Therapy’s furniture store on Valencia will close at the end of this month. The landlord increased their rent from $5,700 to $10,500, so, make of that what you will. It’s hard to remain shocked at this point.

[UPDATE: Image by Google Streetview inserted to clarify that the furniture store, on the left, is closing, while the clothing store is remaining open]

From UA:

In conversation, Whelan mentioned that he was never late on rent, and that there is simply “more demand for [Valencia Street] than there is Valencia.” Whelan believes that with the average “consumer on Valencia Street [being] a hyper-affluent tech person,” a Valencia Street store “becomes a billboard to promote [a company’s] brand.” The outrageous rent paid simply becomes another line item in a company’s marketing budget.

You know, like Times Square or something. Cool. Awesome. Love it. I’m sorry, I’m trying not to be so negative. But this neighborhood is being smothered by a huge pile of money. Speaking of money, you can save some by taking advantage of Therapy’s clearance sale!

Clothes Contact will in fact stay open through Burning Man *and* Halloween, at least

(Thanks, Capp Street Crap!)

Marc Maron is a Cancun guy

20140731-122054-44454613.jpg

Closed Contact

Looks like Clothes Contact is gonna peace out within 60 days:

$14000 / 2000ft² – Great Ground Floor on Valencia (mission district)

Great Frontage on Valencia and 16th. Nice three story building with great potential. Space will vacate approx 60 days… Possible to double space with full basement. Shown by appointment only.

Guess you gotta sell thrift by the ounce, not the pound, in this economy.

[via Craigslist]

Update: The gone-in-60-days figure may be inaccurate, according to current employee Travis:

Alright, I work there right now, and the truth is, it’s gonna be around at the very least until the end of the year. After that, we’ll have to wait and see what happens. But it’s sure as hell not closing in 60 days. Come in, you’ll see.