Noe Valley Voice June 1997

Rumors Behind the News: Quiz Time

By Mazook

NOE VALLEY HISTORY is on display for the month of June at our own Noe Valley - Sally Brunn Library on Jersey Street. The party is previewed on page 1 of this issue. Check it out June 8, 2 to 5.

As a pre - History Day pop quiz, I offer you the following 10 questions:

1. Where is the oldest house in Noe Valley, and in what year was it built?

2. What is the longest-running business in Noe Valley? Hint: This business has been in the same location, "near the end of the line," since 1888.

3. What Noe Valley eatery was opened in 1943 by Cyril Saunders and then bought two years later by Herbert Gaines, who remodeled the place and changed its name in 1953? (Gaines continued to operate it until 1974, when he sold it to Sam Kawas.) Also, what was the restaurant called from 1943 to 1953?

4. What stands now on the site of (a) the old Noe Theater? (b) the old Palmer Theater? (c) the old Princess Theater? (d) the old Wilopi Hall?

5. This man was one of Noe Valley's first developers, who built many single-family dwellings in Horner's Addition in the 1880s and '90s. We even have a 285-foot alley named after him. Who is he? Where is his alley?

6. Who was Alvarado Street named after?

7. This Noe Valley barber will tell you that he started cutting hair at Martin's Barber Shop (which used to be where Matsuya is now, on 24th near Vicksburg) in 1953, then opened up his own shop on the corner of 24th and Diamond (Arte-misia's spot) in 1958. Then in 1972 he moved his shop down to what is now the back dining area of Panos', where he stayed until the restaurant expanded in 1988. Then he moved to a storefront on Church near 24th (where Do Dah Days is now). In 1994, he moved again, this time to J&S Barber Shop on Church near 25th. Can you name the barber?

8. What would you say are the boundaries of Noe Valley?

9. John and Lena Aleo -- the parents of Harry Aleo, proprietor of Twin Peaks Properties on 24th near Castro -- opened a grocery store in 1923, which closed in about 1955. In the 1960s it was called "Len's." Can you give me the original name and address of that grocery store?

10. When did this Rumors column first appear in the Noe Valley Voice (month and year)?

Write your answers down on a piece of paper (with your name and phone). Address it to Mazook at the Voice. Then bring it to the June 8 party and leave it in the in-box at the library's front desk.

I will pick the quizzes up and grade them. After less than an hour of frolic at the library gala, you should have no problem scoring a perfect 10!

The "correct" answers (and the contest winner) will be published in the July installment of Rumors.


IN MORE RECENT HISTORY: The Hahn's Hibachi story will just not go away. Neighbors on Jersey Street have complained about the odors emanating from the Korean-style barbecue ever since it opened in early 1996. (Hahn's replaced Simon's Spanish Shop, on the east side of Castro near 24th.)

Hahn's owner Dave Bass has been trying to snuff the odors, but evidently the elaborate exhaust filtration system he installed last year has not stopped the fuming neighbors' complaints.

When we last updated this stink in April, the Jersey Street group was marching to City Hall to air their grievances. They went to the Health Department, the Planning Commission, the Mayor's Office, the San Francisco Police Department, and even to the Bay Area Air Quality Management Control Board.

Well, the plot has now become as mirky as the restaurant's exhaust. The city's zoning administrator, Robert Passmore, told everybody who attended a meeting in mid-April that the Planning Department was looking into whether Hahn's should be classified as a "large fast-food restaurant" or a "full-service restaurant." If it's the former, that's okay. But if it's the latter, then Bass will have to apply for a conditional use permit.

Bass disputes any "full-service" classification and has hired an attorney, Joel Yodowitz, to explore his legal standing.

Meanwhile, Korean Television came to Downtown Noe Valley last month to do a story on the odor flap. Several neighbors told the Voice that when the TV news team was conducting interviews, the reporters appeared to be angling for anti-Korean comments.

The neighbors are going nuts now, because most of them enjoy the food at Hahn's and want the restaurant to stay. They just want to be rid of the backyard barbecue smell, through whatever filtration system would do the trick.

Is that possible? And if so, how much does it cost?

Bass's attorney says he and Bass are more than willing to sit down again with the neighbors and Mr. Passmore, to try and put a lid on this stew.


NOE VALLEY NIGHT OWLS must be nearing a state of panic, what with their only 24-hour eatery -- Happy Donuts at 24th and Church -- still in limbo over its "cabaret license."

As you Voicers know, Happy Donuts owner T.Y. Chan was told in early February that her donut shop needed a cabaret license to remain open from 2 to 6 a.m. She was also informed she'd have to stay closed during those hours pending a March 26 police hearing. "I was told that the permit would be no problem, and I paid them the $908 fee," said Chan.

Just how did this situation come up? It seems the SFPD officer in charge of permits was doing some "routine work" last winter and discovered there were four donut shops in the Mission staying open 24 hours without a special license. Notices went out to all four, but only Happy Donuts and Hunt's (20th and Mission) applied. Hunt's got its permit in a snap.

After 20 years of serving the insomniacs, the coffee-seeking inebriates, and the very early birds of Noe Valley -- not to mention the night shift at the SFPD -- you'd think Happy Donuts would sail through too.

But as of late May, no permit had been issued, and Chan was still waiting. (My spies tell me someone has voiced an objection, and even though it's the only complaint, it has slowed the process.)

My question is: Since when does a donut shop become a "cabaret"?


THE NEW CREW at Urban Cellars -- on 24th Street a few doors up from Unhappy Donuts -- has installed a computer in their store and programmed a complete wine list, which has technical descriptions as well as the winemaker's notes.

Kenny Zawaideh and his niece Lima Zawaideh took over the store at the beginning of this year and hired Walid Masoud, who is working the computer.

Masoud is entering the alcoholic content, pH, and bottle date for each wine, plus its composition, appellation, growing region, type of barrel used, and the "toast level."

Soon the Cellars will have a Web site, so we all can do our homework before making that wine purchase.


SHORT SNORTS: That new house on the corner at 21st and Sanchez streets, atop "Battle Mountain," sold recently for $1.5 million. Wonder if the tenants have met the neighbors yet. (C'mon, Noe Valley, let's remember to roll out the welcome wagon.)

Thank you, DPT, for finally (May 19) making the intersection of 27th and Sanchez a four-way stop. Hopefully, the new stop signs on 27th will halt the rash of crashes and near-misses.

By the way, that was a great review of Eric's Restaurant, down the hill at 27th and Church, in the April edition of Spunk!, a new "all-girl" 'zine. The review should bring even more foot and vehicle traffic to the 27th Street corridor. Now don't ignore the new stop signs.

Congratulations also to the Liberty Hill residents who have had their utility lines undergrounded, especially when the timetable for the rest of us ranges from 5 to 100 years. Of course, those of us who are in the baby boom generation are never going to die, so we can afford to wait.


IT WAS A FUN WAIT on 24th Street near Sanchez last month. Red Dog Films had a crew of 50 shooting a Pacific Bell commercial, which will air sometime this summer.

According to Red Dog's local production manager, Lisa Ewald, the ad -- for Pac Bell's message center -- shows a little boy answering the phone while he's looking out the window of his apartment above Common Scents. He then becomes totally distracted by an ice cream truck parked on the corner and gets the phone message all wrong.

"The script called for a busy colorful spot, which is exactly what 24th and Sanchez is," says Ewald. "And we were able to hire several people in the neighborhood to work on the crew."

Lisa Ewald is a former Noe Valleon currently living in Cole Valley, "but I am looking for a place in Noe Valley again."


THAT'S ALL, YOU ALL, but before I go, "congraduations" to all you students who have matriculated from nursery, grammar, middle, and high schools.

Also, all you parents, remember there is a big election June 3, and you must set a good example and go out and vote. Vote yes on A (school bonds) and C (zoo bonds), and your conscience on D (49er stadium).

I'll have the local tally next issue.