By Ruth Carlson (Photos by John Williamson)
If there’s a doom loop in San Francisco, you wouldn’t know it in the North Beach neighborhood. Much like Mark Twain said his death was grossly exaggerated, North Beach is alive and thriving, said Aaron Peskin, President of the Board of Supervisors. Peskin spoke during our luncheon at Convivium Enoteca, https://conviviumenoteca.com, an Italian restaurant and wine bar owned by Sofia Scarpone and her father Lorenzo, a wine importer originally from Abruzzo, Italy.
Thirty BATW members attended a meeting June 10 where they got to see first-hand the revival of this traditionally Italian area. Just a few years ago 40% of the buildings were vacant, now the streets are packed with people dining at new restaurants, like Convivium Enoteca, Cassava, the Red Window, and Park Tavern. At the end of June, the much-anticipated opening of Flour and Water will draw even more foodies.
There’s a new club, Keys Jazz Bistro, and traditional favorites like Savoy Tivoli and the former Washington Square Bar and Grill, re-named Lillie Coit’s, have re-opened after being vacant for years. Tony Nik’s, the first bar to re-open after prohibition has a new owner, the former bartender Sebastian, who re-ignited the neon sign.
The day began with a tour on a vintage fire engine, www.sanfranciscofireenginetours.com, with commentary by Mike Zwiefelhofer, owner of Z Cioccolato and Vice President of the North Beach Business Association.
After lunch North Beach icon Tony Gemignani led a walking tour of his many restaurants. At Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, he demonstrated baking one of his famous margherita pizzas in a wood fired oven. This pie, limited to 73 a day, has consistently won the international world pizza competition. The tour included the Jeremy Fish art gallery, the Beat Museum and concluded at one of writer Jack Kerouac’s favorite bars, Vesuvius.