The MacNiven family got the go-ahead from the Planning Department Thursday to open West of Pecos, a “rustic American-themed joint” at 500 Valencia St. However, they will have to stop selling alcohol at midnight on weekends and 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays.
The brothers, who run Woodhouse Fish Company on Market Street and on Fillmore Street, plan to take over the former Bombay Bazaar space, and open a 3,190-square foot American comfort food restaurant.
The full-service restaurant and bar could generate as many as 30 jobs.
Jamis MacNiven, the father of Dylan and Rowan, who owns Buck’s restaurant in Woodside, said he was grateful that the commission asked the family to go to community members earlier this year and get feedback on how they could make their projects a better fit for the Valencia corridor.
“We have re-evaluated who we were and it’s a lot more fun,” Jamis MacNiven said.
The family had planned to open an upscale Southwestern restaurant called Mohave that would use Native American ingredients. West of Pecos, Jamis MacNiven said will be much more affordable and casual.
Neighbor Amparo Vigil, the owner of Puerto Alegre, a Mexican restaurant that’s been here for more than 40 years, was especially concerned about the original restaurant concept because it was too close to what she serves.
The Vigil family has since talked with the MacNivens and come up with an agreeable new plan.
But at Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting, it was clear that all the Vigil siblings still feel threatened by West of Pecos.
Each one took turns speaking before the Commission, tearing up as they expressed their concerns.
“There’s been a lot that’s been coming very fast,” Patricia Virgil said referring to new restaurants on Valencia. “It’s a little overwhelming because we live there and we have our children there. We are a small business and we hope that we don’t get pushed out,” she said.
Although West of Pecos was unanimously approved by the commission, the conditional use request prompted a lengthy conversation about how to set comprehensive rules for all Valencia Street restaurants.
“When projects do come we need to make sure that everyone is playing by the same rules,” said PODER community organizer Oscar Grande.
Grande also said that the Commission needs to determine when to stop letting new restaurants come in.
With too many restaurants, Grande said, “it doesn’t become a community, it becomes a destination, a bridge and tunnel area.”
The MacNivens tried but failed to get the Commission to let them close later insisting that its the style of the street.
However, the Planning Commission agreed to study the closing times of restaurants in the area.
The retail space formerly used by Bombay Bazaar and Bombay Ice Creamery is “structurally unsound,” according to Chris Stokes because the roof collapsed.
Parmar has since relocated to 245 S Van Ness Ave.
Stokes said that the MacNivens will install a new roof, a new storefront to blend in better with the Valencia Street style, and a new sprinkler system.