Zaytoon, a Mediterranean restaurant known for its big and hearty wraps, will be closing its 1136 Valencia St. location on Saturday, Sept. 7. A sign posted on its front window confirms the closing. Zaytoon’s Divisadero Street location, which opened in 2018, will remain open.
Owner Christopher Totah said a combination of a staffing shortage and a rent increase caused him to rethink the location. He declined to say how much he currently pays for rent or the amount of the rent increase.
Totah opened Zaytoon in 2009, part of a resurgence of businesses on a street once lined with vacant properties.
When Totah saw the property, he knew he had to rent it. “There wasn’t much happening on Valencia,” Totah said, but nearby City College had opened its Mission branch in 2006. The San Francisco native believed that ”everything would change.”
Totah was raised in a Palestinian household and grew up eating the food his mother and grandmother prepared. “These are all my grandmother’s recipes. She moved my dream forward,” Totah said.
He wants people to know that “we’re not 100 percent out of the picture,” and that their Divisadero location, nestled between the Fillmore District and Lower Haight, is open for business.
They get considerably more customers there, which Totah attributes to tourism.
At 12:30 p.m. on a recent Wednesday, there were no customers in the shop aside from a Zaytoon newcomer who was late to a doctor’s appointment.
The cashier, Jinan Flores, greeted them with a warm smile. Flores has been working at the shop since March 2017 and will be moving to Divisadero Street. He’s happy to keep his job, but he lives in the south part of the city, so his commute will be a bit longer.
According to Flores, most of the shop’s regulars live within walking distance and “they say it’s one of the reasons they like the neighborhood.”
Totah said his regulars have supported him from the beginning and he has forged close bonds with a lot of them. “I’m going to miss all the friendships and relationships I’ve made in the neighborhood.”