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Ever-evolving vitality on Fillmore


Every time I take a walk, there’s something new. Fillmore Street is constantly evolving. 

Every stroll up the street brings new signs of vitality — new stores and restaurants, creative opportunities, neighbors meeting friends and going about their daily lives. In recent weeks returning college students have arrived, eager to fill the “help wanted” signs dotting the street. And the Fillmore Jazz Festival — everybody’s favorite street party — is coming up on July 6 & 7.

With the transition go familiar friends: Gone is the iconic goldfish mural (above) at the corner on Wilmot and Fillmore. The static aquarium was a favorite of Instagram influencers. Now it has been painted over to match the minimal aesthetic of SVRN, the men’s store soon to open in that building, formerly home to Prana. There are now a number of striking murals near Geary. But who will create the new Instagrammable backdrop to entice selfie fans to celebrate shopping and dining on upper Fillmore? 

Pop-up shops Little Words Project and Pollen and Wool are gone. … Merchant Roots is moving its Michelin tasting menu from 1365 Fillmore to 7th and Mission later this summer.

The fates of popular corner restaurants Palmers and Noosh remain mysteries. That warm and woody Palmers interior, ruined by a massive water leak, has been stripped of its long bar and furnishings; litigation is said to be involved. Noosh shows no signs of reopening.

Welcome to the neighborhood: After much anticipation, Sue Fisher King has now opened at 1913 Fillmore. Her upscale home furnishings emporium, long a mainstay on Sacramento Street, is a beautiful addition to Fillmore’s offerings.

Several “For Rent” signs have been taken down — including those for the old Mio and Dry Bar locations — but no new tenants have been announced. … Sterling Bank’s successor at Fillmore & Bush will be a sister act. The owner of Chapeaux by Michelle next door is being joined by her sister, an artist who is still deciding on the space’s future. Stay tuned.

Dr. Aja Hall has opened OneDental, a comprehensive dental care clinic at 2226 Bush, next to Mattina. Check the website for new patient specials.

OneDental’s sleek new office at 2226 Bush Street.

New eateries: Fillmore just got a PHD — the new Pac Heights Deli on California near Fillmore. They’re serving made-to-order sandwiches, smoothies, wraps and coffee from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, with variable weekend hours, at 2411 California in the old Sift Dessert Bar spot. They come to the neighborhood with experience: owner Al Alhaj also operates Marina Deli on Chestnut Street.

Kevin Chen’s intimate sushi restaurant Bubu has opened a few doors west at 2417 California. Don’t miss happy hour, with $5 drinks and sushi specials. Chen opened the cozy izakaya Nono at 1730 Fillmore last July.

Hotel Kimpton Enso, in Japantown at Sutter & Buchanan, is home to Hed11, an 11-course Thai tasting menu from chef Piriya “Saint” Boonprasarn, renowned for his work in Michelin-starred restaurants and with Hed Very Thai in downtown SF. Enjoy unique cocktails inspired by Thai and Japanese liquors along with an exceptional wine list. … Ganji, located in Buchanan Plaza in Japantown, offers a fusion of traditional Japanese cuisine with a modern twist, focusing on katsu. Also on the menu are a selection of udon and yakitori, Japanese beers and sake. It’s the sister restaurant of Nara in the lower Haight.

Welcome back: Bumzy’s Cookies is coming back to the Fillmore. The dynamic mother-daughter duo is bringing back their famous chocolate chip cookies to the other side of the street at 1521 Fillmore.

Burger King is open again at 1701 Fillmore after a fire in the apartments above shut it down temporarily. No further word on earlier reports that the upscale Super Duper burgers will dethrone Burger King on the corner of Fillmore and Post.

Rendering of the proposed Super Duper on Fillmore by William Duff Architects.

They’re drinking less on Union Street: According to a recent Gallup poll, the number of adults under 35 who drink alcohol has fallen 10 percent from a decade ago, down to 62 percent, and even those who drink are drinking less. See it for yourself: Head to Fillmore and Union Street and check out New Bar. Or, a few blocks east, Better Sunday at 1695 Union. Satisfy your thirst with non-alcoholic mocktail mixes, beer and wine. Both venues offer in-store events including happy hours, social events and cheese and wine pairings.

Experiential is in: At Honey Art Studio, located at 1981 Sutter, Ericka Scott and her team offer classes in the visual and performing arts, all with a social justice focus. Not artistically inspired? Sit back with a cocktail and enjoy the Fillmore Eclipse at the Studio. It’s an immersive theatrical experience celebrating Fillmore’s heyday as the Harlem of the West. Performed by San Francisco’s Walking Cinema, an SF-based “storytelling studio,” the show brings alive again the area’s jazz clubs and cultural history several nights a month. Check their website for class and performance schedules.

Wheelhouse Clay Studio is a new pottery studio at 2201 Sutter Street. Learn how to make pottery with classes taught by a collective of women artists or buy a membership to practice your craft at your leisure.

Real estate update: Coming soon is an $18 million co-op at 2000 Washington Street on the northeast corner of Lafayette Park. … A couple of blocks away: the least expensive listing in Pacific Heights, a $550,000, 791-square-foot studio at Franklin and Jackson. … On the block again, this time for $6.5 million, is the “Full House” Victorian located at 1709 Broderick. Sorry, no public tours. Neighbors of the “Tanner House” quashed plans by the creator of the TV series to turn the home into a fan site.

A time for giving: Goodwill is accepting donations again at Post and Fillmore after a long hiatus. Donation hours are 10 to 2 on Saturdays and 11 to 3 on Sundays. … Join the next “Refuse to Refuse” Fillmore clean-up on June 21. Meet at 3 p.m. at Compton’s Coffee House at 1910 Fillmore.

Celebrating the neighborhood: Explore Fillmore history with the Jewish Community Center’s free lecture “Glimpses of Fillmore District’s Jewish Past” on June 10. … Celebrate Juneteenth on Saturday, June 15, on Fillmore from Geary to Fulton with live music, a kids zone, fashion show, car show, carnival rides and games.

Cynthia Traina is a longtime Fillmore resident and an agent with Vantage Realty San Francisco. Send items for Street Talk to CT@cynthiatraina.com.

Fillmore’s on sale for Memorial Day

Get a monogram on new bags at Clare V.


Come to Fillmore Street this Memorial Day weekend for the food, stay for the sales. Among the promotions: Get “tagged” at Clare V, which is offering on-site monogram services for their bags, or buy a leather tag and get a complimentary monogram. And Rag and Bone will be serving canned cocktail spritzers while supplies last.

Some of the other promotions being offered over the Memorial Day weekend include:


  • Alexis Bittar: 20 to 30 percent off most pieces.
  • Jonathan Adler: 25 percent off everything, up to 70 percent off select items.
  • Mio: Get 38 percent off many items for their 38th anniversary sale. 
  • Margaret O’Leary is offering 20 percent off all Margaret O’Leary items. 
  • Marcella: 40 percent off select items.

Spend and Save

  • Third Love: 20 percent off when you spend $150 or more.
  • Velvet: 20 to 30 percent off, based on purchase amount.

Sale on Sale

  • Athleta: Additional 25 percent off sale items, select items up to 40 percent off.
  • Alice and Olivia: 25 percent off sale items.
  • Veronica Beard: 20 percent off sale items.
  • Eileen Fisher: 30 percent off sale items.
  • Heidi Says: 30 percent off sale items.
  • Frame: 30 percent off sale items.

And Lululemon offers 15 percent off all purchases to active military and veterans and their spouses this weekend and throughout the year.

Cynthia Traina is a longtime Fillmore resident and an agent with Vantage Realty San Francisco. Send items for Street Talk to CT@cynthiatraina.com.

Fillmore boutiques carry on, but slim down

“Fashioned on Fillmore” by Joe Ceballos, from his SF/LA exhibition.


Seems like even retail is slimming down these days, with three longtime Fillmore shops moving to cozier spaces.

Shuffle & Reshuffle: Mio, a Fillmore fashion staple since 1976 known for its chic European and Japanese clothing, has relocated two doors south to a smaller space at 2031 Fillmore. . . . Mudpie, offering luxury babywear and gifts, moved a few doors down the block from the grand old Fillamento space to 2121 Fillmore. . . . Scarlet Sage gave way at 1903 Fillmore for the Cielo boutique, formerly at 2225 Fillmore, which has been catering for decades to Fillmore’s high-fashion enthusiasts.

Hail & Farewell: We’ll miss grabbing sweet treats at the Sift Dessert Bar, which has permanently closed at 2411 California. . . . Fillmore Street lost another ATM with the departure of Sterling Bank on the corner of Fillmore and Bush. . . . And craft beer haven Pizza Inferno quietly closed in April after decades on the corner of Fillmore and Sutter.

Hello & Welcome: The surge in new fashion options on Fillmore — with the arrival in recent months of Sezane, Finirie, Pollen & Wool, Marcella, Flannel, Lawrence, Rachel Comey and No Rest for Bridget — continues. SVRN is the next addition, bringing high-end labels like Marni and Kenzo to the former Prana location at 1928 Fillmore. . . . Sue Fisher King, whose treasure trove of global home goods has been a fixture for decades on Sacramento Street, is moving to 1913 Fillmore. . . . And Ministry of Scent is expanding from Valencia Street with a second location on Fillmore, bringing more fragrance to the neighborhood.

Woodhouse’s $15 lobster rolls for its 15th anniversary were a big hit, with long lines.

Dining delights: Newcomer 7 Adams at 1963 Sutter is making waves in the Michelin Guide with its incredible $87 five-course tasting menu, and there’s an even more decadent $157 eight to 10 course option. This prix-fixe restaurant was the only Bay Area addition to the 2024 California guide. . . . Get ready for authentic New York bagels with Emily Boichik’s expansion of Boichik Bagels into the old Johnny Rockets/Glaze space on the corner of Fillmore and Pine. . . . On the opposite corner, a note on the door indicates Noosh is closed due to mechanical issues. Rumors swirl about a possible connection to the Mehta mega real estate deal, which could be pushing out this popular Fillmore restaurant.

Real estate news: Seven buildings on Fillmore between Pine and Clay have changed hands since January. After a secretive buying process involving numerous LLCs, it was revealed that Neil Mehta, founder of GreenOaks Capital and a Pacific Heights resident, purchased the buildings for approximately $36.1 million — reportedly “bent on boosting the quality of retail stores” and replacing chain retail stores with locally owned shops and restaurants. The buildings now house Noosh, La Mediterranee, Starbucks, Joe + the Juice, the former L’Occitane, Alice & Olivia and others, including the historic Clay Theater. Locals are keen to know what’s on his vision board.

On the calendar: The 45th San Francisco Decorator Showcase continues at 2898 Broadway through May 27. . . . Japantown Peace Plaza’s $34 million upgrade is underway. Take a peek at the proposed Geary Blvd. mural design on May 11 from 2 to 2:30 p.m. at Issei Memorial Hall at 1840 Sutter. . . . Refuse to Refuse is hosting volunteer cleanups on Fillmore Street. Meet at Compton’s on May 17 and Pinsa Rossa on May 31 from 3 to 4 p.m., with free drinks afterward. . . . And get ready to groove at San Francisco’s favorite street party: the annual Fillmore Jazz Festival is happening on July 6 and 7.

Cynthia Traina is a longtime Fillmore resident and a realtor with Vantage Realty San Francisco. Send items for Street Talk to CT@cynthiatraina.com.

‘We’re seeing a huge retail fallout’

Palmer’s and other restaurants, now serving outside, may lead the recovery.


Almost a dozen Fillmore businesses have permanently closed, and more are likely to follow.

“It’s a tumultuous time for Fillmore Street right now,” said Vas Kiniris, executive director of the Fillmore Merchants Association. “We’re seeing a huge retail fallout.”

Kiniris listed numerous businesses that are permanently closed: Frye Boots, Samovar Tea, Prana, Illesteva, Lip Lab, CBD Garin, Aday, Asmbly Hall and Repeat Performance, the S.F. Symphony resale shop.

“I’ve been on the street for 25 years and I’ve never seen so many closings,” Kiniris said. “It’s a little bit alarming.”

A leader and close observer of businesses citywide, Kiniris said he expects the recovery of neighborhood commercial districts to be sparked by restaurants and bars.

“These businesses really pull traffic to the corridors,” he said. “They give rebirth to those corners.” Bars remain closed for now, and indoor restaurant service has been pushed back, but eateries are now allowed to serve outside, in addition to the takeout and delivery service that has kept them alive for the past four months.

“We see this right now with Noosh,” he said. “Noosh opened, then Kiehl’s opened, Glaze is opening, so there’s activity there” at the corner of Fillmore and Pine.

The city’s shared space program, which has let stores and restaurants serve on the sidewalks and in parking spaces, has been helpful, Kiniris said. “It’s another revenue stream for the merchants,” he said. “But it’s also very important to the visual well being and the rebirth of our street. It makes the street visually more enticing, and it makes it more sticky, so people want to linger — and therefore they’ll go to other stores as well.”

At least one new business is preparing to open. Liberty Cannabis, after two and a half years, finally has the permits for its new shop in the former Unity Church space at 2222 Bush Street, near Fillmore, and plans to open in the fall.

Formerly bustling upper Fillmore Street still “is pretty healthy overall,” Kiniris said. But he added: “It’s gonna be a rough ride. We’re all in startup mode now.”

Keeping us fed, and connected

Photograph of Massimo Lavino at Via Veneto by Daniel Bahmani


A great joy of our neighborhood is the number of neighbors you run into walking up and down Fillmore Street. 

But not so much these days.

Much of the street is boarded up — an overreaction, many feel, but then come reports of another break-in.

One longs for the slightest bit of community and connectedness during the lockdown. A few still brave a walk on our high street, sometimes to pick up a take-out dinner from a familiar face at a favorite restaurant. Via Veneto owner Massimo Lavino is one of those who is keeping the neighborhood fed — and serving up a side of his boisterous good cheer as people wait for their puttanesca and tricolore salad, carefully standing six feet apart.

As I walked up Fillmore yesterday, Massimo hollered out: “Hey — do you know Betty Brassington’s phone number? I can’t find it.” I stopped to be sure he had the spelling right, but he had no phone book — who does anymore? — and couldn’t find the number online.

He wanted to tell her he had some nice ribeye steaks of the kind she and her husband Mike like.

Well, I told him, I’ll stop by on my way home and let her know. Betty and Mike live only a block from Via Veneto. I knocked on their front door, even though it seemed a little naughty in this time of social distancing. Betty came to the door with a bite of dinner already in her mouth. I told her Massimo had steaks he thought she’d want to know about, then walked two more blocks home.

That was yesterday. Today when I walked up the street in the late afternoon light, Massimo hollered out again. I stopped and walked in. There was Betty, picking up two steak dinners and a bottle of red wine.

EARLIER: “Opening night at Via Veneto

Illustration of Via Veneto by Christopher Wright