The Restaurant at 903 Cortland Has Closed

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Neighbor Teresa was very sad to discover that 903 Cortland, the  restaurant operated by Matsumi Takhara of Sandbox Bakery, has closed:

With the weather so delightfully spring-like today, I decided it was a prime time to spend lunch on the 903 parklet. Fully expecting that every one else would have the same brilliant idea, I was surprised to find the parklet deserted and the stools missing.

A quick glance at the storefront explained why: They closed down, for good, a week ago! According to the sign in the window, they’re now planning to focus on catering. Despite the promise that 903 faves would be showing up at Sandbox, the good people behind the counter didn’t seem to know much about when that would happen in full force, saying they had received “a few more sandwiches today,” but those were all gone by the time I tried to snag one around 1pm.

I consoled myself with a nice patio lunch at Liberty, but it’s a sad day nonetheless, especially since I didn’t get a chance at a farewell meal. And I’m full of questions! What will happen to the parklet? And Kinfolk? And my fried chicken sandwich craving?

Here’s the detail of the sign in the window:

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PHOTOS: Teresa Aguilera

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37 Responses to The Restaurant at 903 Cortland Has Closed

  1. Pamela says:

    No surprise. Whenever I went there in both incarnations, the service, food was very disorganized, nobody seemed to know what they were doing. Even when going to Sandbox down the street, the staff always have a duh, blank look about them, plus at times I have gone there about 11am & either they’re low on baked goods or have already sold out. No way to run a business.

    • Donna says:

      We always had the same experience. Very disappointed that Mutsumi could not turn it around. What will happen to the parklet now? Will Bernal eventually covet the two dreaded/needed parking spots again?

  2. TG says:

    We were sorry to see this news too. They definitely need to put some permanent seating in at the parklet so that it doesn’t stand deserted. As someone who supported the parklet on Kickstarter, I’d be really disappointed if they continue to neglect it.

  3. wintrberg says:

    I think the Kinfolk pop-up is in the process of taking over the space full-time. They’ve expanded hours to Tue, Thu-Sun dinners and brunch on weekends.

    • Greg G says:

      Actually I spoke with Greg, the chef at Kinfolk on Friday night and he said he is in talks to take over the space where Pizza Express used to be a few doors down. Kinfolk and the Noodle pop up are still open at 903, but I’m not sure for how long.

  4. Bummer. My son and I will miss those shrimp balls. ;-(
    And what about my T-Shirt from the Kickstarter campaign to build the parklet??

  5. Brian says:

    I still see kinfolk (the popup that was in 903 at night) are they going to continue to be open anybody know?

  6. Judge Crater says:

    I think Kinfolk may be taking over the space.

  7. sanderlb says:

    I just picked up my Kickstarter tshirt at Sandbox last Saturday. Now I guess it’s a collector’s item!

  8. H says:

    + 1. I so wanted to like this place. But dealing with the staff was so, so aggravating that we only made it to a table to eat in there only one out of three times. Our last experience there, we stood at the counter for 10 minutes with no service before we gave up and left. So many people on the hill who want to have and have the money to spend on SF quality food and service- why the difficulty in implementation? On the plus side, the bakery looks to have hired a couple of new people who seem more engaged than the last round of servers…

  9. Maureen says:

    Sorry, but good riddance to Kinfolk. Cortland needs affordable dinner options and Kinfolk was definitely not affordable. Not all of us here in Bernal are buying the million $ homes.

    • Cortlander says:

      It’s 903 that’s closing, not Kinfolk. While I agree that there should be affordable options, I don’t think that all restaurants necessarily have to be “affordable” to exist on Cortland. Nothing wrong with having a range of options.

    • I think Cortland can support a range of options. I’d be happy to see some cheaper dinner choices there, but I’d also like Kinfolk to continue to thrive. These aren’t mutually exclusive.

      • bldxyz says:

        +1 I don’t think Kinfolk (or any other higher-priced establishment) is putting pressure on rents that would drive away more affordable options. Supply is probably big enough.

        While I bemoan the loss of a local bookstore, I can’t think of another small neighborhood that can support a bookstore in 2014. If a higher-priced restaurant can make a go of it here, more power to him (to Greg, who seemed totally nice, btw).

  10. j says:

    i ate at 903 at least once a week for lunch and/or dinner. the food was always good. there were at least 4 items, that in my opinion were excellent / awesome and i hope some of them well make it onto the Sandbox lunch menu.

  11. jg says:

    I was devastated when I saw the sign the other day. I always found the staff to be friendly, and the food to be heavenly. And very fairly priced. I’m going to miss the shrimp ball sandwiches, bento lunch plates, crispy fried potatoes… I need to stop making this list, I’m re-traumatizing myself!

  12. BSL says:

    Does anyone know what is happening with that Pinhole Coffee (that doesn’t look close to opening) or that place where the organic market was going to open by the church? Kinfolk will be a nice option if they take over the space. I dream of the Chinese and Thai going out of business and better places taking over for them….

    • Judge Crater says:

      I hear the Thai place has been sold (it was on the market a long time). Raw bar type seafood place moving in.

    • steve says:

      I talked with the Pinhole owner a few days ago and she’s targeting a June opening date. There’s still a bit of construction to do before she’s ready. They do serve coffee out the door occasionally. She always seems happy to chat when you can catch her.

  13. k says:

    They are such a hard working serious family! I wish them lots of luck in their future projects. Running a business on Cortland it very hard.

  14. Crumpetilicious says:

    Ohhhhhhh I’m so sad!! The Chicken Rice Burger were my most favorite sandwich in the world! I hope they have it at Sandbox!

  15. 3KsOnParkStreet says:

    Okay – I know 903 is closing :(
    Does that mean that the Parklet will be eliminated?
    Sorry… What is Kinfolk?

  16. 3KsOnParkStreet says:

    Wishing for a good burger-type place on Cortland.
    Or – Something like “Toast” in Noe Valley :)
    Would love to spend my money in Bernal Heights.

    • bldxyz says:

      I loved the burger at Cafe Chez Maman that at was in the space where the Thai restaurant is now. Sigh…

  17. Mirit Cohen says:

    I had the same experience last week but was able to speak to them. Kinfolk will continue to operate out of there for dinner and will be adding weekend brunch. plus Wednesday noodle night is still on, I think. Sandbox will have some of the non-noodle menu options and those will be more available after they make some modifications to their kitchen.

  18. JT says:

    How can the hottest neighborhood in America have so many empty storefronts? 903, the old Pizza place, the corner market on Ellsworth where Harvest Hills was supposed to go, very soon Badger Books, etc.

  19. L says:

    RIP spicy miso ramen:(.

  20. nooo! the tofu/rice sandwich is SO GOOD.

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