Short Cuts: May 2023

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Bus Fires

A dozen “smallish” privately owned buses went up in flames last month beneath Interstate 280 in Dogpatch. Firefighters extinguished the blaze in just under an hour. No injuries were reported.  “They look like they are abandoned buses,” that were stored on 23rd Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and Iowa Street, said San Francisco Fire Department spokesperson Captain Jonathan Baxter. “But who knows.” Twelve buses were damaged in the blaze, some fully consumed, others partially burned. Fire investigators are investigating the cause, including whether arson was a possibility.

Just Closed

Just For You Café, known for its pillowy beignets and bottomless cups of coffee, closed last month after 43 years in business. According to Reid Hannula, the café’s owner, the business has been “bleeding for years. We’ve made no money since COVID.” Just For You opened in 1980 on 18th Street, operating out of a shotgun space with two tables and a countertop seating about a dozen patrons. In 1990, Arienne Landry, a Louisiana native, took over the diner, adding Southern influences from her grandmother to the menu, like buttermilk fried chicken and “Creole crab cakes.” In 2002, Landry moved the business to Dogpatch. “When I went down there [the neighborhood was] pretty much tumbleweeds,” she said. “You could just pull in and park anywhere.” Around that time, Landry introduced her sugar-dusted beignets. They were a hit and gave the business a boost. Debbie Findling, a longtime Just For You patron reminisced, “Twenty-two years ago, I waddled into Just For You; nine months pregnant and ready to pop. Our waiter said the delicious and mildly spicey huevos rancheros would do the trick. Sure enough, I gave birth to our daughter that evening. Just For You will always be in my heart.” 

Naturally Retired

After 34 years of patient care practice in San Francisco, 25 years on 20th Street, San Francisco Natural Medicine will close on May 31, 2023, when the clinic’s lease expires. Carl Hangee-Bauer, ND, Lac, who turns 70 this year, is ready to retire. 

Green Grows

Carolina Green Space (CGS) continues to improve the large median between 22nd and 23rd streets, which is owned by the San Francisco Public Works (SFPW). CGS is an unpaid organization composed of about 85 members, mostly Hill residents. “Volunteers are always needed to help cleanup, particularly after all of the rain and heavy wind,” said CGS member Cathryn Blum. “We keep in touch via an email list that people can join by visiting our website at We’d like to create or establish family-friendly events, like decorating the pink melaleuca tree with hanging ornaments and hosting ongoing neighborhood gatherings.” CGS, under the aegis of Greening Projects, a City-based nonprofit that creates sustainable spaces, hopes to raise funds to add benches and “more grown-up seating” beyond the five large “Soma Stones” at the median’s southern end, which SFPW provided in 2017. It’s also applied for an Urban Watershed Stewardship Grant sponsored by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. “If we receive the grant, we’d like to build infiltration gardens and bioswales, to pool and transport stormwater. Such hardscaping helps filter water runoff from the median before entering into the storm drains…is ecologically beneficial,” said Blum.

Space Retained 

Hardware and telecommunications company Cisco renewed a seven-year, 247,000-square-foot, office lease at 500 Terry A Francois Boulevard. It’s by far the biggest San Francisco let so far this year, at a time when tech giants are shrinking offices and the City’s commercial vacancy rate has surged to a record 29 percent. Cisco laid off more than 4,000 workers last fall,  but said it’d keep hiring and maintain a staff of around 83,300 people… Seven tenants are moving into Pier 70’s Building 12: Standard Deviant BrewingBreadbelly bakery, custom sneaker designer Studio Duskus, florist Marbled Mint, design studio Prowl Studio, alternative motorcycle dealer Scuderia, paper artist Zai Divecha and metalsmith and maker Emi Grannis. Each will open at different times throughout the next year. Building 12 was constructed 82 years ago as part of World War II shipbuilding. The football-field sized steel structure has undergone extensive restoration by Brookfield.