Pizza is only a slice of the Academy

Photograph of Academy chef Nick Pallone by Marc Gamboa

Photograph of Academy Bar and Kitchen chef Nick Pallone by Marc Gamboa


Nick Pallone is being interviewed, juggling phone calls from business partners and purveyors while a vendor waits patiently to discuss the possibilities of adding more wine to the list. That night the restaurant would have its first dinner service and the benches were still tacky from the last coat of black paint.

Such is the drama of a restaurateur’s life: multitasking, flying seat-of-the-pants and concentrating on the thousands of details it takes to open. Luckily for Pallone, his new restaurant, the Academy Bar and Kitchen, is in the space of an old one — the 21-year-old Pizza Inferno, on the corner of Fillmore and Sutter Streets.

Pallone would often eat with his kitchen staff at the pizza joint after working at Florio, the spot two blocks up Fillmore where he was executive chef for the past four years. Pallone is an Italian food purist, who fought for a pasta machine at Florio to ensure all pasta was freshly made. From Italian American roots, his fondest food memories were watching his Grandma Pallone form the gnocchi for their bountiful Sunday feasts. It didn’t take long for Peter Fogel, Pizza Inferno’s owner, to ask Pallone to become a partner and reinvent the restaurant. An alliance was formed.

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Rising from the ashes

Glenda Queen and Terry Brumbaugh founded Union Street Goldsmith in 1976.

Glenda Queen and Terry Brumbaugh founded Union Street Goldsmith in 1976.


For a small retailer to survive in San Francisco for 40 years — and rebound from earthquake and fire — takes something more than luck. For Union Street Goldsmith, scheduled to reopen November 14 after a fire in early June shut down its longtime Union Street home, the key to longevity is no mystery. It’s having loyal customers.

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Bringing the outside in

Designer John Wheatman’s  garden is an extension of his home.

Designer John Wheatman’s garden is an extension of his home. Photographs © David Wakely


At the corner of Jackson and Steiner Streets, atop a garage once filled with rooms for servants, rests a handsome experiment in rooftop garden design created by John Wheatman, San Francisco’s eminent emeritus designer.

“I am as old as this building,” Wheatman declares, gesturing skyward at the elegant 12-story apartment tower built in 1926 at 2500 Steiner Street. “I have squatter’s rights.”

His decades of experiments in bringing the outside in, blending home and garden, are evident in the extraordinary design of the small rooftop space Wheatman has been tending for the last 30 years.

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Classically inspired — and connected

Pacific Heights School was built in 1924 at the corner of Jackson and Webster Streets.

Pacific Heights School was built in 1924 at the corner of Jackson and Webster Streets.


A headline in the November 15, 1922, edition of the Chronicle proclaimed: “Board of Education Cites Pressing Need for Additional Quarters.” The ensuing article provided a long list of “needy schools.” City Architect John Reid Jr., a hometown boy who graduated from Lowell High School and UC Berkeley, was faced with a crisis in accommodating the city’s schools.

Within a few years, he and his colleagues designed almost 40 schools. Reid’s designs included several schools in the neighborhood: Pacific Heights Elementary, finished in 1924 at Jackson and Webster Streets, now San Francisco Public Montessori; Sherman Elementary, also completed in 1924, at Union and Franklin Streets; and Grant Elementary, dedicated in 1922, situated between Pacific and Broadway near Baker Street, now demolished.

Under his direction, his peers designed a number of other neighborhood schools, including the Emerson School at 2725 California, now Dr. William L. Cobb, and the Madison School at 3630 Divisadero Street, now part of Claire Lilienthal.

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Pascal Rigo’s boulangerie is reborn

THE $100 MILLION MAN is coming home.

Pascal Rigo reopened his original Pine Street boulangerie October 5, barely two weeks after it was shuttered by Starbucks, which in 2012 bought the maison mere and the 22 La Boulange cafes that grew from it. In the coming weeks he will also reopen five of the cafes, including the prime locations on Fillmore and Union.

For Rigo, it is a homecoming that rarely happens — a return to the place it began 17 years ago when he built his dream bakery and lived with his family above the shop.

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Conversation with a cop


Lt. Ed Del Carlo, all 6 feet 6 inches of him, rises out of his chair in a gritty windowless office inside the fortress-like Northern Station on Fillmore Street and extends a welcoming hand the size of a catcher’s mitt. In his other hand are 32 police reports from the day before. The 25-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department doesn’t try to whitewash the situation: Crime is mushrooming citywide — and it’s worse in the Fillmore.

Lt. Ed Del Carlo

Lt. Ed Del Carlo

“The big growth trend is property crime. But no longer is it only drug dealing addicts who break into cars to steal a laptop, a smart phone, an iPad or any electronic device they can fence within minutes at 7th and Market,” he says. “We’re seeing more sophisticated, more violent criminals who’re coming in from the East Bay, Sacramento, the Central Valley and the Peninsula because they know if they get arrested, chances are they won’t do any jail or prison time.”

The neighborhood crime surge is affecting both residents and retailers, and criminals are more brazen. This year, thieves drove a stolen car through the front glass  door of the Marc Jacobs fashion boutique at Fillmore and Sacramento around 4 a.m., looted its merchandise and were gone in an estimated five minutes. And twice this year, the glass door of the MAC makeup shop on Fillmore near Pine was shattered in the early morning hours and the shelves were cleaned of expensive skin creams. In the summer, thieves smashed the glass front door of Dino and Santino’s restaurant at Fillmore and California and carted off the cash register.

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‘People’s shoes of Italy’ come to Fillmore

Shop owner Claudia Volpi says Superga is a perfect fit for San Francisco's casual vibe.

Shop owner Claudia Volpi says Superga is a perfect fit for San Francisco’s casual vibe.


Claudia Volpi throws down a friendly ultimatum: “I challenge you to find an Italian who doesn’t own a pair of Superga shoes.”

And she’s hoping the sporty “People’s Shoes of Italy” will soon become common footfare for Fillmore residents as well, now that the doors to her new boutique are open at 2326 Fillmore Street.

The shoes — slip-ons, tie classics and hi-tops for women, men and children — look fresh and modern. But in fact, their origins hark back to 1911, when an entrepreneur in Torino, Italy, Walter Martiny, had the idea of using vulcanized rubber to make waterproof boots, revolutionizing footwear for the agricultural workers there. In later years, the shoes evolved to become tennis wear with carefully crafted cushioning and support — and then fashion statements when leather, wool and silk and thicker soles and wedge heels were incorporated into the designs.

Volpi says she has worn and loved Superga shoes since she was a little girl, and she has the evidence to prove it: a picture of a slightly tattered red pair she wore back in the day, later worn by each of her three children.

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Architect to the stars

Photograph of 2555 Divisadero Street by Shayne Watson

Photograph of 2555 Divisadero Street by Shayne Watson


The house at 2555 Divisadero was designed by an “important, neglected California designer,” the Planning Department’s Citywide Historic Building Survey in 1976 noted. That architect, Paul Revere Williams, has since been rediscovered.

Williams, one of the few African-American architects working in California in the decades before World War II, is now well known, thanks to the perseverance and publications of his granddaughter, Karen E. Hudson. Her books lovingly tell the story of this remarkably talented and pioneering architect. A key designer of the Hollywood Regency style, Williams was a master at slenderizing and refining Classical forms and motifs, creating a Modern version of shapes and features extracted from traditional architecture.

Often referred to as “the architect to the stars,” Williams designed many Hollywood and Beverly Hills mansions, as well as some iconic Southern California buildings such as the Golden State Mutual Insurance Company — the largest black-owned insurance company west of the Mississippi — and the Music Corporation of America headquarters and the Saks Fifth Avenue store, both in Beverly Hills. He also made important renovations to two luxury hotels: the Beverly Hills and the Ambassador, which has since been demolished.

While Williams’ work in Northern California was limited to a few commissions, he partnered with his clients at 2555 Divisadero to create a Hollywood Regency style house set amidst the much more traditional Colonial Revival houses atop Pacific Heights.

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Local Anglican archbishop resigns

Archbishop James Provence at St. Thomas Anglican Church in San Francisco

Archbishop James Provence at St. Thomas Anglican Church in San Francisco

JAMES PROVENCE, the longtime rector of St. Thomas Anglican Church at 2725 Sacramento Street — who advanced to become archbishop of his entire breakaway province in 2007 — has resigned following allegations of sexual misconduct with a former parishioner of St. Thomas.

In a July 20 letter to the church’s governing body, Provence wrote that he had been advised  for reasons of my health and chronic medical condition to step down from my ecclesiastical duties. I am therefore submitting to you my resignation as archbishop. I am relinquishing my seat on the council of bishops, resigning as ordinary of the diocese of western states and as rector of St. Thomas Anglican Church, San Francisco.”

His resignation followed a formal complaint alleging “pastoral misconduct within a counseling relationship” submitted for the parishioner by attorney Charles H. Nalls, who is also an Anglican priest and executive director of the Canon Law Institute in Washington, D.C.

“We regard the matter closed,” Nalls told Virtue Online, a website that bills itself as “the voice for global orthodox Anglicanism,” after Provence resigned.

“We presented a detailed complaint with exhibits including photographic evidence,” Nalls later commented on the website. “Mr. Provence resigned shortly after the complaint and accompanying evidence were presented without availing himself of procedure or even offering a defense.”

The former parishioner, Kathy Webb, alleged in a public letter that Provence had engaged in improper sexual behavior with her and with another woman.

Calls and messages to Provence and St. Thomas Church seeking comment were not returned.

EARLIER: “Archbishop of the neighborhood

For Jet Mail, the end is here

Photograph of Jet Mail's Kevin Wolohan by Kathi O'Leary

Photograph of Jet Mail’s Kevin Wolohan by Kathi O’Leary

IT SEEMED AS IF Jet Mail had cheated death.

Two and a half years ago, with its prime retail space at 2130 Fillmore coveted by the onrush of fashion boutiques eager and able to pay far higher rent, the packaging and mailing store moved south to 2184 Sutter. In the process, they sparked new life on a sleepy stretch of Sutter Street.

Now the gig is up.

Jet Mail will go out of business on September 15, ending a 25-year run in the neighborhood. The space will become an insurance office.

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