December 31, 2022

This Year in Noe Valley: The Biggest Stories of 2022

2022 had all the hallmarks of what looked to be a bad year: A brutal war, an ongoing tripledemic, burn-it-all-down billionaires behaving badly and a contentious and high-stakes election. And yet, for all the gnarly badness, it was a shockingly hopeful year.


Democracy works. It’s raining in California this winter. And beautiful Noe Valley is still a bright spot in a wild and crazy world.


Here were the biggest stories in our little corner of universe in 2022: 

Toiletgate Drove the World Wild

It’s mind boggling that anyone figured it was reasonable to sign off on a $1.7 million toilet for anything but because this one was for the Noe Valley Town Square the response was … predictable. Loo-dicrous: San Franciscans flushed with anger over $1.7m public toilet wrote The Guardian and S.F. is spending $1.7 million on one public toilet: ‘What are they making it out of — gold?’ was the headline from The Chronicle. Fox News hailed it as part of the Left tearing down America. Oy. Calm down everyone. The toilet plans are on hold and the ridiculous price tag is being investigated. Life goes on.

The Market Has Cooled But It’s Still Unreal Estate

Feeding the outrage machine was a $1.9 million teardown on Day Street that also broke the Internet. 'No wonder everyone is homeless!' Derelict San Francisco home with boarded-up windows and ZERO BEDROOMS but located on city's 'best block' sells for $1.97 MILLION screamed The Daily Mail (which was also parroted by hundreds of other pseudo news sites). Yes, that’s expensive—but when you consider the average cost of a San Francisco home is $1.4 million and Mark Zuckerberg sold his Noe Valley compound for $31 million … is all this really worth the freakout? It’s expensive to live here. If you are fortunate enough to own a house here consider yourself very, very lucky.

Slow Streets Are Here to Stay (And Awesome)

One of the best things to come out of the pandemic, Slow Sanchez is now the heart of Noe Valley and this year we learned the transformation will be permanent. The new people-first space is regularly filled with walkers, bikers, dogs, and kids and adults playing. And Noe CafĂ©, which now spills out onto Sanchez in a good way, is always a hive of activity. Now just imagine if more of San Francisco became more people-friendly too… 

We Said Some Sad Goodbyes…

Peter Gabel, a longtime Noe Valley resident, activist and co-founder of Noe Valley Farmers Market passed away this fall at 75. The many heartfelt tributes were a testament to his incredible contributions to the neighborhood. RIP, Peter and thank you for everything.


Other departures from Noe Valley this year were the loss of 24th Street Cheese Co. and the original Lehr’s German Specialties. Massimo and Lorella left La Ciccia (although the restaurant is still open under new management) and Ardiana closed down. We’ll miss them all. There were also other closures including Patxi’s, Inle Burmese and Ambiance as well.

This was also the year we said goodbye to Twitter and migrated our real-time updates to Mastodon.

... And We Welcomed Some New Neighbors

Change is hard but with departures come some new friends. Lehr’s re-opened this November with the same name and a new owner bringing German specialties back into the hood. Birch & Rye opened on Castro Street and quickly landed on best new restaurant lists. Our main drag also gained a new veterinarian, a new bone broth dispensary, a spice shop and more. The old Ardiana spot became Damansara, an acclaimed Malaysian restaurant. And of course, on the topic of new neighbors, there were several coyote sightings as well.


And there’s more good stuff on the way. Michelin-starred chef Brandon Jew is opening a new “affordable” Chinese restaurant called Mamahuhu in the old Toast space on 24th Street.

And that's a wrap! 2023 beckons.

Happy New Year, Noe Valley. Be well and we’ll see you out there.

This blog is now 14 years old (!), and although we don’t always have time to post weekly, it’s still a labor of love and we always appreciate your tips. Thanks for reading both here and on and on Mastodon.

Feeling nostalgic? Here were the top stories of 202120202019201820172016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012

[Photos: Sunrise via sanfranciscoist, Town Square via SF Chronicle, 350 Day via Reddit, Slow Sanchez via Slow Sanchez Street SF, Peter Gabel via SF Chronicle, Noe Valley Run Club via Noe Valley Run Club, Noe Valley sunrise via Bob Horowitz

December 4, 2022

This Week In Noe Valley: Lehr’s Reopens, a New Mural, Inle Burmese Moves to Sunset

The latest news from, about and for Noe Valley from around the interwebs.
[Photo: The fornmer and the new owner of Lehr's German Specialties via lehrssf]