| February 2012
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By Karen Topakian
Store Trek is a regular Voice column profiling new stores and businesses in Noe Valley. This month we introduce a dog-washing service and pet supply store, and a sushi restaurant with popular happy-hour specials.
Jason O’Hara and Steve Davis (right) welcome both toy and live dogs to K9 Scrub Club, their new “dog wash” and pet supply store. Photo by Pamela Gerard
K9 Scrub Club
1734 Church Street at Day Street
Clawfoot bathtubs painted the color of orange juice occupy center stage at the K9 Scrub Club, a new shop on Church Street described by co-owner Jason O’Hara as “a self-serve dog wash with a retail twist.” That “twist”—read treats—is what Buddy may lap up first.
Lifelong animal lovers, O’Hara and co-owner Steve Davis spent two years planning and four months transforming the 2,000-square-foot former medical office at 1734 Church St. into a brightly colored bathhouse and store for their four-legged friends.
They hired Noe Valley contractor Bertie Penny on a recommendation from Gary Craddock at nearby Kitchen Sync, where they purchased the store’s countertops. “We wanted to keep it local,” says Davis, who has been in the retail business for many years.
The bright blue front of the store serves as the Dog Bakery, complete with glass cases displaying handmade baked treats that cost $1.50 to $5. Health-conscious dogs will love the selection of organic, vegetarian, soy, and wheat-free dog food, for $5 to $15. Beds and blankets, stylish neckwear, and dog tugs and toys ($5 to $20) occupy floor-to-ceiling shelves.
“We focus on things for your dog that are unique in design, organic, natural, healthy, fun, durable,” says O’Hara, a mortgage broker at the Castro branch of Wells Fargo Bank.
Davis and O’Hare started their business online last March, selling bedding, bowls, bath, and other dog-related items.
But it’s the dog wash, unveiled in November, that they are most proud of. Five giant tubs, spaced an ample distance apart, allow washers to scrub and rinse their pets from all angles. One of the tubs is ADA-compliant to accommodate washers with special needs. A metal ramp allows access for older dogs.
The bath starts with a complimentary blueberry or plum facial scrub. “The face scrub is relaxing for the dog,” says O’Hara, who owns a corgi shepherd mix with Davis. “We want to make sure the dog is having a good time.”
The shop provides a rubberized apron for the dog washer and a choice of shampoos, brushes, dryers, and unlimited towels. A basic wash costs $20 and runs 20 to 30 minutes. “All you’re doing is scrubbing and drying your dog,” says O’Hara. One of three trained staffers is available to offer assistance.
Dog owners can drop in to the store or let K9 do the scrubbing by scheduling an appointment online . The store also offers a nail-trimming service every other Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for $15, which can be booked online as well (www.K9scrubclub.com). Cats also are welcome to come in for nail-trimming.
K9 Scrub Club is a club with membership benefits. Pet owners join by answering a few online questions such as, “What’s your favorite dog park?” “By answering,” says Davis, “your dog will be getting perks,” including a first wash at half-price and a free sixth wash.
The club also sponsors dog and cat adoption days, courtesy of the SPCA. The next will be on Sunday, Feb. 5, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
“We want to be a resource to the community,” says O’Hara. “We want to give back to the community.”
K9 Scrub Club is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Chef Adrian Huang tempts diners with a tray of nigiri sushi at Kama Sushi restaurant on Church Street. Photo by Pamela Gerard
1497 Church Street at 27th Street
“Japanese is my favorite food,” says Eric Deng. “I could eat it every day.” Now, as the owner of a new Japanese restaurant called Kama Sushi, he can eat it exactly the way he likes it.
Located in the former home of Amberjack Sushi at 1497 Church St., Kama Sushi opened its doors Aug. 4, after a month-long renovation of the small corner sushi bar.
A former manager at Naked Fish on Chestnut Street, Deng searched the city for the right spot to open his first restaurant. “I found this place and I stopped by here more than 10 times. I liked the area and I wanted to be here,” says Deng.
The restaurant, which seats 38, serves an impressive array of Japanese seafood specialties—two dozen kinds of nigiri (riced) sushi, including shrimp, tuna, salmon, octopus, and eel; and almost as many sashimi raw fish selections. Maki rolls also abound, from California (snow crab, avocado) to New York (cooked shrimp, cucumber). Most sushi dishes run $3.95 to $6.95.
There are also more than 20 vegetarian options, ranging from Inari nigiri, sweet bean curd nigiri ($2.95), to the Veggie Dragon Roll, a tempura sweet potato roll topped with grilled eggplant ($8.95).
Deng says among the customer favorites in his menu of 27 appetizers are the hamachi carpaccio, thin slices of yellowtail and avocado in ponzu sauce ($9.95); and beef enoki, grilled enoki mushrooms wrapped in slivers of beef in teriyaki sauce ($8.95).
Also popular are the Crunchy Lobster, a lobster and avocado roll sprinkled with crunchy flakes ($10.95); and the Red Dragon, a spicy roll topped with seared tuna ($7.95). Noe’s Flowers, at $11.95, has salmon-wrapped nigiri and flying fish roe. But you might prefer the 49er, a combination of snow crab, avocado, salmon, and sliced lemon ($10.95).
According to Deng, local families have been flocking to Kama Sushi’s happy hour, held 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and Sunday. On those nights, the two-piece nigiri costs $2.99 and special maki rolls go for $4.50. A large sake or beer sells for $3.50.
Deng says he knows what sets his restaurant apart from other sushi bars. “The prices we’re charging are fair. The food is fresh. Some of the chef choices are what people are coming in for,” says Deng. “We have good customer service. We make everyone here comfortable.”
Kama Sushi is open nightly for dinner from 5 to 9:30 p.m., and until 10 p.m. on Saturdays. The restaurant serves lunch daily from noon to 2:30 p.m.
Customers can order takeout online through Kama-sushi.com or Kama-sushi.net. Delivery is free between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. for addresses within a one-mile radius (minimum order $20).