Noe Valley Voice February 1997


Cybelle's Pizza Moves Down The Street to Make Way For 'Wraps'

By Anne Gates

This spring a hot new trendsetter will join the fast-food parade on 24th Street.

Wrap Works, a restaurant and takeout featuring tortilla "wraps" -- an upscale cousin to the burrito -- will be moving into the storefront now occupied by Cybelle's Pizza on 24th near Castro. The franchise is a subsidiary of the Chevy's restaurant chain, known for its popular Tex-Mex cuisine.

Meanwhile, Cybelle's, currently serving 150 pizza slices a day at 4042 24th St., is taking over the space formerly occupied by Noe's Grill at 24th and Church. Noe's Grill closed for good on Jan. 12, and owner Gaetano Basso bid farewell to the neighborhood.

But the cheeseburgers and pasta are staying. Fans of the food at Noe's Grill will be relieved to hear that Cybelle's chefs will keep most of the items on the old Grill menu. They'll just add them to the pizza menu.

Neal Meyers, working partner at Cybelle's, says he's glad to do his bit for Noe Valley's culinary diversity. "We want to try to satisfy the existing customers for both Noe's and Cybelle's." Some of the staff from Noe's Grill may also stay on, he adds.

The move is expected to take place in mid-February, depending on when Cybelle's obtains all its permits. Meyers will repaint the former Noe's Grill, do some minor remodeling, and install new signs. "We don't want to change much of anything [in the decor]," Meyers says. (Patrons should note that the bar portion of Noe's Bar and Grill is separately owned and operated, and thus will stay the same as always.)

Both Meyers and Basso speak fondly of the neighborhood and of the customer loyalty they've enjoyed over the years.

Meyers was born and raised in Noe Valley and has worked at Cybelle's for 12 1/2 years. He says of Cybelle's, "We're really involved with the community, schools, and charity. We're going to keep our neighborhood image...and we want to continue our customer support in the new location."

Basso, who's departing Noe's Grill, thanks the community and local merchants for the support he's received over the past 6 1/2 years. "I couldn't have found a better community to move to," Basso says. "I've really grown to like the neighborhood." He cites economic and personal reasons for leaving, and is unsure what his future plans will be.

As for the new kid on the block, Wrap Works plans to open in May, assuming the permit process goes smoothly. Hours of operation have been tentatively set for 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (midnight on weekends).

In December, Wrap Works representatives attended meetings of the Friends of Noe Valley and the East & West of Castro Street Improvement Club. Jane Winslow, community liaison for the restaurant, along with two architects working on the storefront design, presented their sketches for a new exterior.

So far, the feedback from the neighborhood has been positive. "The design should be a great improvement," says Friends treasurer Georgia Finnigan. "It's very tasteful."

Friends board member Cecile Lozano agrees: "Wrap Works is keeping the Victorian flavor of the building, and they took the architecture of the neighborhood into consideration."

Finnigan adds that Friends of Noe Valley has developed a good working relationship with Wrap Works. She noted that the restaurant is not affected by the current moratorium on food takeouts on 24th Street because it is replacing Cybelle's, a similar operation.

In return, Wrap Works has dropped plans for a patio and for outside tables and chairs. (Sidewalk seating at that location was prohibited anyway.) The chain has also promised to minimize its impact on noise, odors, and garbage on 24th Street.

Restaurant spokesperson Winslow said those who'd like to preview the menu should visit the Wrap Works already in operation on Union Street near Laguna. The takeout specializes in large folded tortillas with meat, fish, bean, or veggie fillings spiced with a variety of international flavors.

According to Winslow, Noe Valley's Wrap Works will also offer juice drinks and smoothies, with optional vitamin spikes. However, the main fare will be "wraps" with pun-intended names like Coat & Thai Chicken, In Like Fin, Hail Caesar, and Madame Curry.

And that's...a wrap.