Noe Valley Voice October 2011

And Now For The Rumors Behind The News

Drink and Be Merry

By Mazook

WINE WALK, WINE TALK: It’s not too soon to circle Sept. 12, 2012, on your calendar for the second annual Noe Valley Wine Walk. Yes, the first Noe Valley Wine Walk—held Sept. 14, in 19 stores on 24th Street from Diamond down to Chattanooga—was “a smashing success,” reports Bob Roddick, president of the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association. It was so smashing that “we have already scheduled next year’s wine walk and we are trying to arrange a wine walk as one of the events in this year’s 24 HoliDays on 24th Street.”

According to Roddick, there were 800 tickets sold, half presold ($15) and half on the street the day of the event ($30). Roddick estimates that 25 percent of the crowd were Noe folks, and everyone else was from someplace else.

“I have heard so many favorable comments from our members,” said Roddick, who attended himself. “I was impressed with how many stores I visited during the event that were jam-packed. The motorized cablecar worked out great for everyone.”

“Wow” was the reaction of Global Exchange manager Corinne Regan. “Our place was packed with 200 or more people at one time for almost four hours. So many people told me that they had no idea we were here, and the wine people [C’T’Z’N of Lucas Winery] were spectacularly nice people. Store sales increased by over 50 percent, with many people saying they would be coming back.”

Up the street at Qoio, our famous jeweler Gilbertina Guarini too was surprised that so many people visited her store and stayed there even after the Rosa d’Oro wine ran out. “I would say we had about 300 people in here and out in the garden. When some left, others would come in. I have never seen so many people in this place,” Guarini said. FYI, the garden in the back is wonderful and is always open to the public, so check it out when you’re on one of your Downtown Noe Valley strolls.

One shop, Small Frys at 24th and Castro, served beer. Said owner Carol Yenne, “We were packed most of the time, and everyone loved the four varieties of beer being served by Sudwerk.” Business was up 30 percent, “and we got to meet a lot of new people from other parts of the city,” Yenne smiled.

The wine walk was perfectly timed for Downtown Noe Valley’s newest merchant, Raquel Settels, who was holding the grand opening of her new jewelry shop, Raquel Settels Metalsmith, the same day. Located at 4128 24th St., next to Barney’s burgers, the boutique sells Settels’ own jewelry creations as well as those of other local jewelry makers, plus scarves and decorated belts.

“What a way to open our store. We were jammed—there were so many people that I was absolutely amazed, and our sales were remarkable—and the people really liked the wine!” said Settels. That would be Tapeľa and Gloria Ferrer.

Settels, who lives on 24th Street, praised all of her fellow merchants and said she was delighted to be joining the NVMPA.

Apparently, the sole mayoral candidate who attended the walk was our former District 8 supervisor Bevan Dufty. “It was great, although I couldn’t partake because I was attending a forum later that night. I spent some quality time in Just for Fun,” Dufty said.

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READY FOR OUR CLOSE-UP: Dufty, by the way, says to look for his TV ads, one of which was shot in (Way Upper) Noe Valley at Diamond and Moffitt. It features several kids from the neighborhood.

On YouTube, you might want to check out the video recently made on Church Street at Day called “RF in the ’Hood: Stealth Antennas Pump It Out in Upper Noe Valley.” It’s about the barrage of secondhand radio frequency radiation coming from a building at that corner. People around there must have really great cell phone reception.

And speaking of RFs, some Noe Valleyans appeared on Channel 7 News in a Sept. 23 segment about what happened when the Water Department changed their water meters to wireless “smart” meters. During the switch, several homeowners found themselves flooded when their water pipes burst. Noe Street resident Dianne Zinky reportedly had to fight to get reimbursed for the $3,000 cost of repair. According to the news report, claims were made to the city, which referred the claimants to the contractor, who then referred the claimants back to the city, who then...

Thanks go to SF Weekly for running a story about a Sept. 21 BBC travel article by Sunshine Flint called “Living in: San Francisco.” Flint determined that “Noe Valley is one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in San Francisco right now. It is close by the Castro and the Mission, but it [is] filled with yummy mummies and the stroller set, sidewalk cafes, and lovely old Victorians.”

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OH, GIVE ME LAND: One of those Victorians, at 3822 24th St. near Church Street, is currently on the market for $1.3 million, but it is not as valuable as the vacant lot next to it, which is for sale for $2.2 million.

“We, of course, are open to negotiation,” says ­Roxanne Mercer of Herth Real Estate, and the seller is willing to carry half of the vacant property for five years at 7 percent per annum.

The house on this double lot was built in 1900 and has a little over 1,300 square feet. It was the longtime home of Bertha Wyrsh, who died three years ago at age 98.

There may be somebody out there who’d like to buy both the house and lot, build on the vacant lot, and remodel that great Victorian gem, or else try for a demolition permit and develop the whole space. Mercer says that is one of the reasons the seller is not asking for all cash and has been showing the separate parcels together.

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THRILLZ WITH PHILZ: September rumors proved to be true that Phil Jaber has signed a lease to rent the space on the corner of 24th and Douglass, recently vacated by the Animal Company (which moved to Cover to Cover’s old spot on Castro).

“I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to open a coffeehouse in Noe Valley and become a part of the neighborhood community and culture,” says Jaber. “It’s kind of amazing, since I opened my first store on 24th Street and Folsom 34 years ago and I know we have many people who come from Noe Valley.”

As you Philz fanz know, the coffee is prepared by drip only. “That’s right, we have no espresso machines and there is no steam [or froth], just the taste of our special blends,” he says, “which we have found people really like. This will be our ninth shop—four in San Francisco, two in Palo Alto, and one each in San Jose and Berkeley—and we supply a lot of coffee to Whole Foods, Google, Facebook, and Twitter.”

Jaber says he hopes to open in December. “First, the owner wants to do some seismic upgrades to the building, and then we can build our space.”

Curiously, before that site became the Animal Company 32 years ago, it was the home of Noe Valley’s most popular lunch counter: Hopwell’s. In 1970, Hopwell’s moved down to where the Le Zinc cafe is now, then in 2001 the “greasy spoon” closed and slid into nostalgia.

Also, it appears that the space recently vacated by Cosmic Wizard (4028B 24th) has been leased. Noe Valleyans Ariel and Durand Ford came to the September meeting of the NVMPA to announce their plans to open a “frozen yogurt and treat” shop. “We just signed the lease,” says Ariel, “and hope that the neighborhood will support us as we go through the permit process.” Rumors from reliable sources say that the space on the corner of 24th and Castro just vacated by Bespoke will be soon occupied by a maternity shop.

It’s hard to tell what could be moving into the J & J Grocery space on the corner of 24th and Chattanooga streets. It’s being painted and the “For Rent” sign has been removed, but it is still listed for lease at $5,000 per month. Cassidy Real Estate has not returned calls from the Voice. Rumors were that Peet’s Coffee was trying to locate, but those rumors were strictly from the hearsay and gossip departments.

Also vacating 24th Street at the end of September was Joseph Andrade Floral (across from Whole Foods), a little over one year after opening. “I moved my work studio to 542 Thornton [in Silver Terrace]. I’m continuing with my corporate clients, but the retail was just not working,” Andrade says. He says customers can reach him at his website, The 3961 24th St. space is for rent, listed at $3,300 per month.

First National Nail and Tanning Salon closed its doors rather abruptly and moved out of its space at 304 Vicksburg (off 24th), where they’d polished and bronzed for the past 20 years. Poof, without a goodbye.

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SOAP PUP: A dog wash will be opening soon at 1734 Church near Day, in the space where medical offices used to be for umpteen years. It had been rumored that Planned Parenthood was going in, but not so. The K9 Scrub Club is the name of this new and different kind of business, and it’s the creation of Glen Parkster Steve Davis, who hopes to open his world headquarters in early November.

The Club will be a self-service dog wash with five tubs, says Davis, “in which we will provide the towels and dryers as well as a blueberry face scrub.”

The store will also carry a variety of dog toys, apparel, bedding, dishes, food (like freeze-dried beef, chicken, and lamb), and doggy treats.

“We launched online sales earlier this year of our variety store for dogs, and have had a good response, so we are very much looking forward to our [brick-and-mortar] grand opening,” says Davis. He says the building has been in the owner’s family for many years. Originally, it housed the family business, which was a five-and-dime variety store.

Davis says he chose to open his doggy spa in Upper Noe Valley because he knows there are many dogs living in the Noe Valley, Fairmount, and Glen Park neighborhoods. Also, he knows what is commonly known by us all: there are more dogs living in San Francisco than children.

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James Lick Middle School math-and-science teacher Catherine Perez (center) was honored Sept. 19 as a “Symetra Hero in the Classroom." The award, which included a $1,000 check for schoolroom books and supplies, was presented Sept. 19 by members of the San Francisco 49ers’ Gold Rush cheerleaders, Chris Galang of Wells Fargo Bank (second from left), and Jennifer Lee from the San Francisco 49ers (second from right). Symetra Financial partners with the 49ers and Wells Fargo in recognizing heroes throughout the Bay Area.

KUDOS TO JAMES LICK sixth-grade math and science teacher Catherine Perez for being a “Symetra Hero in the Classroom” and winning a $1,000 award for the middle school on Noe Street. The award was given by the SF 49ers, Wells Fargo Bank, and Symetra Financial.

Perez was acknowledged during an on-field presentation at Candlestick Park at the Sept. 18 Dallas Cowboys vs. 49ers game.

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CONDOLENCES go out to the family of Kimball Allen, who died last month at age 91. As you longtime residents know, Allen with his wife Jane Allen started up a very small chain of natural food stores in the late 1960s, including one in Noe Valley called the Real Food Company.

In the early ’70s, the couple designed and built—in redwood—a restaurant and bar called Woodworks (later it became the Noe Valley Bar and Grill, then Tien Fu, and now Fresca). The original restaurant featured healthy fare and was renowned for its salads. In the ’80s, Kimball went on to open Kimball’s, a jazz club across from the SF Opera House; he later moved the jazz to the East Bay.

He and his wife (who survives him) sold the Real Food biz, including the Noe Valley outlet, to Nutraceutical Corporation in 2002. The Nutra people closed the store on Labor Day of 2003, and the storefront has remained shuttered ever since.

What many of you might not know is after World War II, Kimball Allen developed the machinery and started the first chain of coin-operated laundromats in San Francisco.

You might also be interested in noe-ing that long, long ago the Noe Valley Bar and Grill was an Eagles Public Hall. Before that, in the 1920s, it was a mortuary. When Allen built the Woodworks restaurant, he preserved the huge stained-glass window that was a survivor from the old mortuary. When Fresca took over from Tien Fu, the stained glass disappeared.

And that is what I will do now, until next month. Ciao.