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100 Brannan St - kiss of death location

We talked about this before and I wanted to see if others had more opinions about this.

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/46736

100 Brannan Street is along the South Beach waterfront, near the AT&T ball park. There have been a long list of restaurants which have set up shop and then closed down, with one exception being Slanted Door. As posted by others in the previous thread (plus some web sleuthing), this location has housed:

Embarko (late '80s, early '90s) - thrived before '89 earthquake, then suffered from freeway changes

Short lived Italian place called something like "Prego, Pizza, Pasta & More"

Pickled Ginger (1997) - pan Asian by chef Andrew Toy and Bayside Restaurant Resources (a Bulow connection?), including Chinese, Korean, and Filipino influences. There may have also been a "Ginger Express" at this location, based on some obscure web listings.

Live Fire (2000) - chef Fred Halpert's attempt for an SF location of his Yountville restaurant serving steak and wood fired pizza.

The Slanted Door (2002) - the only restaurant in the past decade to make this location successful, due in large part to the existing fan base of chef Charles Pham's trendy Vietnamese food. This was essentially a temporary location, first to wait out the earthquake retrofitting and refurbishment of their original Valencia St location, and then later to wait for the eventual Ferry Building facility to finish remodeling.

La Suite (2004) - Jocelyn Bulow's attempt at a larger restaurant (sibling to Chez Papa and Chez Mama), starting with chef Bruno Chemel, and later chef David Bazirgan, featuring French brasserie cuisine

Sutra (2006) - Bulow's makeover attempt at French-Asian Fusion, starting with chef Mike Yakura (previously of Le Colonial) and later chef Yo Matsuzaki (previously of Ozumo). Recently closed.

On the bright side for this location, there are even more condos in the neighborhood, Beale Street under the Bay Bridge has been reopened which alleviates some afternoon traffic, and the parking lot next door got a minor makeover.

Discouraging for this location, the Giants are terrible this year. The nearby planned cruise ship terminal development is indefinitely delayed due to the withdrawal of the private developer from the city's partnership deal. Nearby Java House may get shut down from jacked up rents by the Port.

I really think this location can only work for a place with a price point that neighboring residents can afford to eat at frequently, and is welcoming in atmosphere and space configuration to Giants fans who walk by on game days.

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Sutra (CLOSED
)100 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94107

Java House
40 Pier 45, San Francisco, CA 94133

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  1. I don't think the freeway changes had anything to do with Embarko closing. It was popular when I worked in the neighborhood in the early 90s and didn't close until 1995.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I liked Embarko while it was there...

      As noted, Slanted Door used the space as a temporary location...La Suite deserved to close...

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Popular, maybe, but not profitable after '89 (I knew an investor). Big overhead and not enough business to justify its existence.

      2. We went to Embarko fairly often when I worked in that neighborhood - I loved their salmon croquettes. I understood that they closed rather abruptly due to some sort of tax problem. It certainly does seem to be a doomed location!

        1. There's a few "cursed" locations in SF. The NE corner of 9th St and Folsom, the NW corner of 19th Ave and Lincoln.

          4 Replies
          1. re: ML8000

            I don't live there so I may be confused, but isn't the NW corner of 19th Ave. and Lincoln in Golden Gate Park?

            1. re: wally

              I think she meant the SW corner which has had more changes than Carter has pills.

              1. re: wally

                Indeed, my bad, SW corner. It's been a bunch of different restros and other things. BTW, I'm a he.

                1. re: ML8000

                  Now it's my bad. My apologies.

            2. The Giants continue to sell out their games on a regular basis (including at least some of the games this weekend, well after Barry broke the record.) Their lack of success in the standings is NOT reflected in their box office and thus they can't be blamed even in part for the location's lack of success (unless it is a general curse on the neighborhood.....)

              Seems like the good restaurants were succesful in that location, based on your list and description.

              1. La Suite was frequently not so good; Sutro never lived up to its price, and those extra long seats were uncomfortable - so was the looped techno pop.

                But there we have it - really a pretty good location but overpriced. Difficult to buy top drawer ingredients when rent's eating your lunch.

                I enjoyed the view from the bar.