NFT San Francisco Inner Richmond

Inner Richmond

Essentials
This neighborhood has grown to be one of the city's premier eating and drinking destinations, so always allow extra time for parking. Lower rents have brought an influx of the young and hip looking for their San Francisco Days. Bordered by GGP to the south and the Presidio and Mountain Lake Park to the north, outdoor activities (and fog) abound.

Sundries/Entertainment
It's all here, everything from coffee shops, liquor stores, hardware stores, bookstores (Green Apple), and pet shops to several Irish pubs, rock 'n roll dives (540 Club), organic juice bars, and some of the city's best ethnic eateries -- Burma Superstar, Spices I & See more.




         



On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Maria Brock Schulman
Photo:  Maria Brock Schulman

Pho Clement
Don't feel like cooking? Not a problem. Got 5 bucks? Then head to Pho Clement and within minutes you'll be served up a huge hot bowl of goodness. Clean but far from cute, this is the go-to spot for lazy locals looking to enjoy a quick and cheap meal. Come in your sweatpants, wear your slippers, come straight from kickball in your uniform. There's no pretense here. Just a group of old timers looking to serve you a satisfying meal.



Posted By:  Jennifer Anthony
Photo:  Jennifer Anthony

Peche Mignon
Francophiles, take note. Here is a store for all your guilty French pleasures. Step beneath the mustard yellow awning and into a place that offers "unique French home decor and French home accessories." The store offers up everything from tabletop items to linens to kitchen products to edibles to gifts for kids and pets. When I walked inside and heard the song "Aux Champs-Elysees," a ditty my French teacher had beat into our heads in high school, I was both flabbergasted that I still remembered the chorus from this song (it's apparently occupying some memory and squeezing out room for critical work information) and sentimental. I was torn between the kitchen decor and the pet kitsch (their website claims that France holds the world record for number of pets per inhabitant). The owner of the store was especially friendly and rounded out the general warm and fuzzy feeling of the place. Bien sur, it's not inexpensive, but it's the perfect place to get a little cadeau for une bonne amie.



Posted By:  Jennifer Anthony
Photo:  Jennifer Anthony

Thidwick Books
All hail the independent bookstore! The front of Thidwick Books hosts an intriguing array of greeting cards to entice people into the store (toward the books). The place is narrow and a little stuffy, which only adds to its charm for bibliophiles like me. When we walked inside, the owner called out to say hello and let us know she was there to answer any questions we might have. We felt like we had found the perfect little neighborhood nook. The place has a particularly great assortment of children's books and toys, and the owner will order books not in stock. It feels like a labor of love. And though the street boasts another great independent bookstore, this book-lover thinks there's more than enough room for two.



Posted By:  Jennifer Anthony
Photo:  Jennifer Anthony

Park Life
Park Life is a small retail store and art gallery nestled among the grocery stores, cafes and bars of the Inner Richmond's Clement Street. According to its website, the "goal is simple; to showcase art and design that we find relevant." Their eclectic collection includes everything from contemporary art to magazines, books, gifts, toys, screen t-shirts, and fun gadgets. The airy space and array of both goofy and intriguing kitsch in the front room makes the backroom, with its walls adorned with art of various mediums, far from intimidating. It reminded me a bit of another store in the Mission, but this didn't keep me from moseying around. And any store whose inventory includes a few things from Gama-Go will keep me loyal. It is one of those stores that makes me wish I had the tiniest scrap of artistic talent.



Posted By:  Jennifer Anthony
Photo:  Jennifer Anthony

New Sunny Land
There is life before the Asian Pear, and life after it. If you think I'm being a bit dramatic, you have not tasted this divine fruit. Bear with me and stop by the New Sunny Land grocery, where you'll find a slew of these beautiful specimens, each cozied up in its own white little netting. They may go by Asian Pears, or YA Pears, or Chinese Pears. They look like yellow, apple-shaped pears. And they taste like a curious commingling of the pear and the apple--crisp like an apple, and sweet like a pear. Perhaps you still think I'm being dramatic. Just try one, and you may change your mind. Even if you don't, your body will surely say thanks for the abundance of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and dietary fiber you just inhaled. And if you still aren't convinced, you can load up on such produce as plump Thai eggplant, tender bok choy, and crisp snap peas instead.



Posted By:  Jennifer Anthony
Photo:  Jennifer Anthony

Martha & Bros
I've been a fan of Martha & Bros. since I first discovered it on 24th Street. The coffee is strict--certainly not for the pansy or intermittent caffeine drinker. In October of 2007, the company added another location on Clement Street, and the place now can be found in seven different neighborhoods (two in Noe Valley, Pacific Heights, the Financial District, Excelsior, the Inner Richmond and Bernal Heights). And yes, I suppose this makes it officially a chain, and I know there are those who eschew and vilify the chain. But like the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, this place seems to deflect such anger. It has a family vibe and local origins, so it is safe (deservedly so) from the barista bashing.



Posted By:  Jennifer Anthony
Photo:  Jennifer Anthony

Velo Rouge Café
The clock hands were barely tickling noon when my friend and I shimmied toward the Velo Rouge, walked under the red bike suspended over the front door, and ordered two Fat Tire beers. We got a few startled glances from the Blue Bottle Coffee sippers around us, but they turned back to their conversations when our sandwiches arrived to legitimize us. We had the Coppi (turkey, spinach, and jack with a jam spread) and the Pantani (grilled veggie and jack), each of which were complemented by a fanciful salad that also served to sanction the beers. We happily chomped our paninis beneath framed pictures of various bicycles from around the world. The owner is a traveler and cycling enthusiast who wanted to bring a bit of the neighborhood cafes she had experienced in Europe back home. Other perks of the cafe are the groovy bike rack just outside the front door (this place doesn't just talk the talk) and the fact that it offers live music on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons.



Posted By:  Jennifer Anthony
Photo:  Jennifer Anthony

Cherish
I am a sucker for stationery stores, and thus scurried across the street in childlike excitement when I spotted this little gem in the Inner Richmond. And no sooner had I stepped inside the door than I heard the cheerful sounds of actual children emanating from the back room. Turns out that a group of young girls was participating in a scrapbooking workshop and were so engrossed in their work that even a short stack of delivered pizzas did little to distract them. Cherish offers a variety of workshops. Its upcoming classes cover everything from scrapbooking and cardmaking, to creating holiday paper wreaths and learning how take inexpensive everyday items found at home and "transform them into something new and beautiful." Patrons can also dip into the store for open crop, card or craft nights and use the workspace for a studio fee of $10. And for those who are feeling less than crafty, the store has an offering of ready-made stationery and cards.



Posted By:  Elissa Pociask
Photo:  Elissa Pociask

First Korean Market
I'm told it's pretty hard to screw up bulgogi, which is nothing but good news as far as I'm concerned. These thinly sliced beef short ribs soaked in some kind of mystical voodoo marinade were absolutely worth my trek across town and near death dodge on the busy, stop-sign-free boulevard outside. Even though the short ribs were sold out upon my arrival, the kind man in the back promptly splashed all the ingredients together for me without so much as a furrowed brow. You can also pick up some economy-sized vats of kimchi, authentic sauces, frozen shumai/sticky buns, or rice packs at Costco prices while you're at it. A perfectly impressive tool kit for a lazy night or a kitchen-challenged bachelor. Just skip the aisle with the non-refrigerated cheese.



Posted By:  Elizabeth Tauber
Photo:  Elizabeth Tauber

The Bitter End
Picture this: you're huddled around a sticky wooden table in an Irish pub throwing around ideas for team names. You might be sitting on an empty keg, because it's Tuesday night and all the chairs are taken by 8. Someone on your team throws out a wildly inappropriate, yet topically funny name involving Heath Ledger and the phrase "I wish I could quit you." You (a) shake your head disapprovingly and say, "Too soon," or (b) crack up. At the Bitter End trivia night, if your team name gets reaction (b), you'll win a round of free shots. For those simply in pursuit of the trivial, there are cash prizes for the winning team of the 2 hour extravaganza, which includes two general knowledge rounds, one round naming celebrity faces, and a music identification-round. The host, Tim, is a fresh-faced prepster who has the dirty mind of a 7th-grader and the best damned announcer-voice in the city. To top off the rotating Newcastle and Sierra Nevada specials, there's a standard bar menu, and a healthy enough dose of competition to keep the post-college crowd coming back for more.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Schubert's Bakery
OK, so I’ve never actually been to Schubert’s Bakery. But I know that it would be torture to have to walk by it every day. Every time I sample one of their decadent cakes at someone’s party, I just can’t get enough. To be honest, I don’t appreciate rich, delectably sweet desserts as much as I used to. More often, the sweetness overwhelms my senses. But there are certain places that I will make an exception for, and Schubert’s is definitely on that list. Who can resist cakes so exquisitely crafted with cream puffs, lady fingers, fruit and chocolate shards? Don’t even get me started on the mousse cakes. I’m going to have a tough time picking out a birthday cake this year.



Posted By:  Eric Saxon
Photo:  Eric Saxon

Green Apple Books
This curious bookstore has all the bookworms giggling. Why all the giggles? "It's disorganized!" This offshoot of Green Apple Books is a sale store, a clearance sale designed to liquidate a terrific amount of books that have collected at a warehouse in South SF and the main location 2 blocks up the street. It opened the day after Christmas, and will go through April? June? August? August. Since its opening, thousands upon thousands of books have been recirculated among humanity. Those who have stopped short at the entranceway and walked backwards, away from the mind-screwing organization and basic unhelpfulness of the sullen staff, have missed out on some great books and other wildly varied ephemera. Because it was not just books, but a whole civilization's evidence that they were here. It's amazing how much pop culture a country our size produces in the form of books, records, movies, toys, etc. There's still plenty of good examples of the semi-living fossil record here, such as How to Catch Crabs , an old book for fishermen titled with no apparent ironic self-awareness.



Posted By:  Eric Saxon
Photo:  none

Inside Super Tokio are two walls teeming with candy and snacks. Snack aisle is a misleading term in this case, as there has never been a snack aisle so mesmerizing. There are no mars bars or ruffles here. Instead, this is candy and seafood-flavored snackage that comes from the East. To find this place is a revelation to the Western candy boy, who suddenly realizes that an entire half of the world's candies has been unknown to him for his whole life. There are some delicious “chews” here in unknown flavors (the cover features impossible fruits, covered with needles and bursting out with a grapefruit-like center) that you don't know whether to chew or to eat. It is between gum and an American-style fruit chew. For those who get off on colorful package design, this is the place for you. It's a store where “Octopus Bus” could mean anything. It will take a long time to eat through this store's mysteries.



Posted By:  Dan Johnson
Photo:  Dan Johnson

Little Vietnam Café
It’s a cold day in the Inner Richmond, the kind of November afternoon when the wind is whipping off of the ocean and you can see the tendrils of fog as they work their way between the fibers of your sweater. You need lunch, but you’ve only got three bucks. Taco Bell might beckon, but…no. Instead, head over to the Little Vietnam Café on Sixth Avenue, a new joint with friendly service and dirt-cheap prices on the best Vietnamese sandwiches in town. Veggie, chicken, or the wonderful BBQ Pork, all served with cucumber, carrots, and jalapeños with some serious balls. Three bucks for the veggie, add fifty cents for meat. Yum.



Posted By:  Dan Johnson
Photo:  Dan Johnson

Flaming hot oil. Explosive chili pepper. Stinky tofu? If those three sentences don’t scare you away, make your way to one of the two Spices restaurants in Inner Richmond for a Chinese food experience that will blow your mind, sear your mouth, and may do a tap-dance on your intestines. This is a new breed of stateside Szechuan cuisine; not a typically depressing food hall filled with crones like they have down in Chinatown. Here, the owner dresses like he’s auditioning for Miami Vice, the waitresses are friendly and hot as hell, Chinese gangsta rap videos play on the plasma TV in the corner, and the crowd is young, beautiful, hip, and speaks in rapid-fire Mandarin. Eat anything and everything, but beware–anything above one spice dot can put whitey down for the count.



Posted By:  Ksenya Gusak
Photo:  Tina Reid

Some of us have dreams that never pan out, but the owner of this Inner Richmond bicycle-friendly coffee shop rode hers to feat in August 2005. She had envisioned a cozy living room atmosphere where people meet for a drink or show off neighborhood pride by ordering the Arguello Breakfast or the McAllister Scramble alongside their morning coffee. Velo Rouge is one of the very few coffee shops within an eight-square-block radius. With a location right on the Arguello bike path (connecting Golden Gate Park to the Presidio) and scores of cyclists passing every morning, the old-school bicycle-inspired décor, the black-and-white Tour de France pictures, and the shiny red vintage cruiser permanently parked on an equally polished red bike rack outside draws customers. The idea is great; let’s now hope that as the popularity and business pick up, so does the pace of the service.



Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Giorgio's Pizza
As a pizza-sodden New York Asshole, Grade A, I was more than dubious when I heard that Giorgio’s was supposed to be a good approximation of “New York” pizza. Well, the verdict is in and Giorgio’s is simply damned good, and a welcome surprise 3,000 miles from my regular pizza beat (3,000 miles west that is; 3,000 miles east of NY will get you pizza from Italy, which is, of course, on a totally different level). A totally informal and basic atmosphere also helps immensely, in my view, since you’re not going to be distracted by the décor and instead must get your jollies from the actual food, thank you very much. As for the pizza itself, it’s thankfully completely straightforward—no strange basic ingredients or anything like that, and plenty of beer on hand to wash it down perfectly. Simple, good, and cheap—APPROVED!



Posted By:  Catherine Wargo
Photo:  Catherine Wargo

Kamei Restaurant Supply
On Clement Street in the Richmond, in what some people in the city are now calling “New Chinatown” sits the young homeowner’s (or renter’s) new best friend (Ikea is out). This superstore is the official supplier for many local restaurants. The aisles and aisles of beautiful, eclectic, and diverse Asian-inspired dishware are staggering. Tea kettle? Sure. Garlic press? Absolutely. Baking sheet for nine dozen cookies? If you have an oven big enough for that kind of production, they’ve got you covered. Since restaurant owners shop in bulk for dishes, glasses, and silverware, the goods are extremely reasonably priced—there’s no Crate and Barrel $15.99 for one cereal bowl nonsense. From large serving platters to tiny wasabi dishes, Kamei has every size of bowl imaginable. Restaurant-quality kitchen tools such as non-stick spatulas, noodle strainers, tongs abound. This store makes moving, gaining or losing a roommate, or getting married way less painful.




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