It’s a growing pet peeve of mine—glorious (if not perfect) food at many Mission restaurants, but a pace of dining more suitable to McDonald’s. In fact, Mission Local pointed out in a piece years ago that McDonald’s lets its customers occupy their tables longer than some of our better restaurants.
Whenever I’m hustled out of a restaurant, I’m reminded of the Chico Club, a superb place, in Honduras. This was in the 1980s, when I was a foreign correspondent covering the civil wars in Central America. One day, a few colleagues and I arrived at the Chico and announced with great self-importance that we were in a hurry, we were reporters! (Translation: We needed to be served rapido!)
The host smiled. “Well then, you don’t have time to eat here,” he said with great courtesy. I can still remember his triumph and our deflation.
In the Mission these days, it’s the restaurateurs who want to turn tables rapido!
Perhaps that’s why lunch, or even breakfast, is my preferred meal out. No one hurries you. (Okay, at Tartine you may suffer glares from would-be diners who want your seat, but the management never seems anxious for guests to leave, or for that matter, to move you through the line to order and pay. However, that’s another story.)
But at Mission Pie, it feels like home. (Or it would be, if my home had fresh flowers on immaculate tables.) I always feel as if I’m walking into the serene and lovely dining room of an exceptionally gracious friend. The divides of the Mission stop at the door. Everyone, it seems, loves pie, but I’m convinced everyone just loves being in Mission Pie’s space.
There’s a nice Mission mix of old-timers, hipsters, students and techies. The smells are always inviting and the pies, walnut scones, salads and now, stews in the evening, all look delectable.
Perhaps it’s because the owners, Krystin Rubin and Karen Heisler, are always around. And obviously they’re owners who care. Other restaurateurs should take note.
Mission Pie has created the perfect ambiance. I’d feel perfectly happy to sit there all day.