Noe Valley Voice September 1997


By Anne Gates

In the fast-food sweepstakes, there was only one new contestant in Downtown Noe Valley this summer: WrapWorks, a tortilla takeout that promises to serve "a sit-down meal you can eat standing up."

4042 24th St.

After two months of remodeling, WrapWorks, a trendy tortilla parlor serving "wraps," salads, and smoothies, opened July 9, in the storefront formerly occupied by Cybelle's Pizza on 24th Street near Castro. (Cybelle's moved down to 24th and Church last spring.)

The newly renovated space seats 28, at several small tables -- some high off the floor -- and a tall counter along one side of the shop. The decor is a mix of wood and industrial-chic steel. Cushiony window seats and stools, a pressed-tin ceiling, and a huge menu board have replaced the pizza ovens and bench seating.

The wraps ("Don't call them burritos!" says restaurant manager Julie Andrews) are similar to, um, the filled tortillas on Mexican menus, but the fillings are international and often surprising in their flavor combinations.

Andrews says the most popular wraps are "Coat & Thai Chicken," a red chile tortilla stuffed with spicy peanut chicken, spinach, black beans, ginger rice, mango salsa, and lime sour cream ($4.95), and "Ken and Barbecue," featuring spicy barbecued chicken or steak, with garlic mashed potatoes, corn and pepper relish, black beans, chipotle slaw, and lime sour cream ($5.75).

Also in demand is the "98% fat-free" wrap called "The Big Juan," with vegetables, salsa, and Mexican rice, for $3.95. Other wrap fillings include Caesar salad with chicken, Japanese soba noodles, spinach cheese tortellini, and blackened fish with mango salsa and ginger rice.

A "Rug Wraps" menu for children (or adults with smaller appetites) offers kid-friendly wraps like cheese quesadillas and grilled chicken with rice.

WrapWorks also serves custom-made salads ($3.25), a low-fat "Asian Noodle Salad" ($4.95), and plate versions of the wraps, for those who'd rather use a fork. Food can be ordered "for here" or to go.

Smoothies like "Screamsicle" (vanilla yogurt, orange sherbet, and orange juice) and "All That Razz" (raspberries, strawberries, banana, and raspberry juice) are available with or without "boost spikes." The spike menu includes bee pollen, multivitamins, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, and antioxidants, priced at 35 cents each. Smoothies sell for $2.25 (for the 12-oz. size), or $2.95 (24-oz.).

WrapWorks also has a beer and wine selection, and a fruit frap -- fresh fruit over shaved ice -- special of the day.

There are currently three other WrapWorks in San Francisco, on California, Union, and Castro streets (near 18th). And an Irving Street location is in the works. Chevy's, the "fresh Mex" restaurant chain, provides financial backing for WrapWorks, but Andrews and WrapWorks' Union Street manager, Joe Horacek, emphasize that the smaller outfits are run completely separately from Chevy's.

"We want to be a neighborhood place," says Horacek, "and each WrapWorks has its own character. We treat the neighborhood with respect."

WrapWorks will deliver food to businesses on 24th Street at off-peak hours or whenever there's an extra staffer to do the carryout. Eventually, Andrews would like to deliver to Noe Valley residences, too. "We've had a really good response here," she says. "It's been great!"

WrapWorks is open every day, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and an hour later on Fridays and Saturdays.

Storetrek (the column) is devoted to new shops, restaurants, and other start-up enterprises in Noe Valley. If you are the new kid on the block, we'd like to hear about it. Send your business announcement to the Noe Valley Voice, 1021 Sanchez St., San Francisco, CA 94114.