How Do Bustling Neighborhood Restaurants Affect the Rental Market?

(Above: A typical layout for a Victorian-era flat in SF, though perhaps originally this was the ground floor of a two level house. It’s similar to a place we recently checked out in the Mission.)

We’re looking for an apartment in San Francisco, which, as in other cities where lots of people want to live, is a challenge. Add to it the fact that we have certain constraints — proximity to BART, either garage or parking, or decent street parking — and our search is narrowed to the sections of town where it seems everybody wants to live. Sorry, Inner Richmond! Sorry, Inner Sunset!

During a recent viewing of a flat, it was pointed out that a number of restaurants were nearby, including currently hip places like Flour + Water. I hear this frequently on this search but it struck me that neighborhood restaurants have a significant impact on rents and the availability of rental units in San Francisco. You sort of take this stuff for granted, but it’s definitely true. Especially when, like us, you’re weighing your options in relation to your needs, and considering paying at the top of your rent budget for a flat that’s, well, on the small side. Oh for a time machine!

Sure enough, have a scan on Craig’s List of available one- and two-bedroom apartments in locations like Hayes Valley and the Mission, and you’ll find rents ranging in the $2,000’s on up. I wonder, to focus on the Mission for a moment, how much places like Flour + Water, Range, Dosa, Beretta, etc., affect rents? In the sense that property values themselves are affected, then it’s likely that they do. The question is how much? Does proximity to a bustling neighborhood restaurant that’s something of destination itself meant that, say, another $200+ is added to the asking rent amount? Ditto the economic and commercial vitality in the surrounding neighborhood. Hayes Valley, where we currently live, is a great example: Anchored by original restaurants like Hayes Street Grill, Absinthe and even the fratboy-infested Suppenküche, Hayes Street itself now features numerous boutiques and more bars, restaurants and even a ramen truck.

And it seems that new restaurants inspire a bit of neighborhood envy. From an article in yesterday’s Chronicle about removing the restriction on the number of restaurants along 24th Street in Noe Valley:

Yenne and others in Noe Valley began the push for new restaurants on 24th Street four years ago after seeing new, attractive restaurants open on nearby Valencia Street and other areas without the restaurant limits.

There were 29 restaurants along 24th Street in 1987, and today there are 22, according to city Planning Department documents.

In 2006, the city allowed three new restaurants to open in the 24th Street-Noe Valley Neighborhood Commercial District, which runs on 24th Street from Chattanooga to Diamond streets and parts of some adjoining blocks. Of the three that obtained permits, only Contigo, a Spanish and Catalan restaurant on Castro at 24th Street, has opened.

(via Curbed SF)

Meanwhile, all leads on a one- or two-bedroom apartment in SF are most appreciated!

Hayes Valley Ramen Bust

The local internets were afluttler last week with word of a new addition to San Francisco’s growing street food scene, this time in Hayes Valley. Two factors converged to make this opening a particularly exciting one: 1) Most of the street food action is taking place downtown or in the Mission, so for a new venture to open in Hayes Valley, well, that’s exciting news; and 2) it’s a ramen truck!

(Above: People waiting, and waiting some more, for their bowls of ramen. On a side note, when a truck or business or whatever displays all those social media tags, Twitter, Facebook, etc, does that mean they’re sponsored to do so?)

San Francisco’s ramen scene is lacking. Sure, there are options but we’ve got nothing on New York when it comes to ramen. And why is that? There’s a fairly large Japanese presence here, and god knows there’s enough sushi options to keep people sated in their quests for the perfect serving of uni.

(Above: the menu. We had shoyu and miso.)

Anyway, Shirohige Ramen-Ya’s truck idea is a good one but I’m sorry to report that the ramen isn’t quite there. It’s not bad, but there’s not enough broth for one thing, and the bowls of noodles just lack balance. Which again, might be an issue with the broth, an element that seems to be essential for pulling all the ingredients together. Combined with the obnoxiously long waits — a problem the guys in the truck (who, it must be said, were friendly and polite) attributed to their water supply. That right there is a major flaw, one that hopefully gets worked out rather quickly. Part of the appeal of ordering a steaming bowl of noodles and sliced pork from a street vendor is that it’s, well, served up fast.