12/17/2012 01:05:00 PM

Food Fight on Valencia as New Restaurant Moratorium is Proposed

Things are heating up on the Valencia Corridor where a whopping 16 new restaurants have opened in the past year. It’s been a boomtown for foodies - who can argue with the value of having Locanda, Craftsman and Wolves, Mosto/Tacolicious, Abbott’s Cellar and Wo Hing joining long-timers such as Bar Tartine? But the local Valencia Corridor Merchants Association recently voted to seek a one-year moratorium on new full-service restaurants on the stretch of Valencia between 16th and 24th Streets, and The Chronicle is reporting that the adjacent merchants association may follow suit.

Neighbors from nearby Noe Valley will recall how the 24th Street dining scene was stunted under the stronghold of a similar restaurant moratorium in the mid-80s. Since the freeze was lifted in 2010, the neighborhood has just started to be enlivened with new blood joining top spots such as Contigo and Firefly. 

What do you think of the ban? Is it a good idea to prevent gentrification or just a Nanny State tactic? Tell us in the comments below.


  1. Neither - like most such measures, it's obviously a power play by incumbent business owners to keep supply artificially low and depress competition. Clearly someone thinks there's enough demand out there in the Mission to sustain even more restaurants; otherwise they wouldn't think it worthwhile to take on the risk of entering a very crowded field and outbidding other types of businesses for the space.

    Who are the losers if the free market's allowed to do its thing in this case? 1) Restaurants with bad/overpriced food that get pushed out by cheaper/better ones that people would rather eat at. 2) there is no 2. Or at least there shouldn't be with a little thoughtful planning.

    Yes, it sucks that people might not be able to afford to eat at lots of the restaurants on their block. But there are far better solutions than simply declaring moratoriums by fiat. For example, if a more lucrative restaurant goes in the space...you can raise more in tax revenue from them...which means you can invest more money to make MUNI not a hideous joke anymore...which will make it more reliable and less expensive for people to take public transit to restaurants they can afford. Not to mention all the other cool stuff you could do with more revenue like beefing up HealthySF for lower-income people or doing other stuff that would help them save money and stay in the neighborhood.

  2. Instead of a moratorium why not put a cap on the number of restaurants? It still creates an unfair market but doesn't handcuff the area because of the moratorium. San Francisco has a tendency to go for an all-or-nothing approach which doesn't do it any favors in the long run.

  3. The moratorium has been proposed by the VCMA as a temporary measure to pull the reigns in a bit on the glut of restaurants coming to the corridor. Sixteen in such a short period of time is quite a lot. We've proposed it in the interest of maintaining the unique identity of the corridor as well as encouraging a variety of businesses available to residents as well as visitors. It is in no way a power grab in order to stifle competition. We want more variety not fewer businesses. It's simply in keeping with our organization's mission (below), important to the majority of our members and we think better for the neighborhood.

    Our mission is too cultivate and beautify the corridor for the benefit of visitors, residents and merchants. Additionally, we endeavor to combine our voices and views toward the goal of maintaining the unique identity and independent spirit of the neighborhood.

    -- The VCMA