SFCED | San Francisco Center for Economic Development

Cooking Up Plans for Mid-Market

Restaurateurs leap into Mid-Market

Market Street is, by nature, literally divisive. In 1847, a 26-year-old Jasper O’Farrell split the city of San Francisco when he forged Market, a diagonal slice running from the bay to Twin Peaks.

These days, Market Street is the topic of debate that is splitting the city’s restaurateurs, as the expansive South of Market district has become a frontier luring chefs with promises of neighborhood upheaval and a small invading army of office workers.

For local chefs, it’s become the water cooler fodder of choice: Is it worth betting on the area’s undeveloped pockets-particularly the one dubbed Mid-Market, centered around Ninth and 10th streets?

Before the recession hit six years ago, a wave of new SoMa apartment complexes – the Millennium, the Infinity and the SoMa Grand, to name a few – struck deals with high-profile chefs in an effort to woo potential residents and buyers.

Those chefs were used as marketing tools to lure prospective residents to the new towers: “Buy a condo and enjoy Michael Mina’s exclusive RN74 burger delivered to your doorstep! Live here and be a barfly downstairs at Charles Phan’s Heaven’s Dog!”

Now, another crop of restaurateurs is considering a flurry of new developments. But this time, it’s the chefs chasing rising populations of tech workers and condo residents, instead of the other way around. The hunted have become the hunters.

Read more: San Francisco Chronicle Restaurateurs leap into Mid-Market