Jose Mendoza, one of the owners of soon-to-be El Rey Taquiza Artesanal, next to a tortilla machine. Photo by Annika Hom, taken on August 20, 2021.

Movement in the Mission

As a twin, I know the cardinal rule is, don’t play favorites. Last week, the column began with Valencia Street news, so this time it’s Mission Street’s turn to kick us off. 

Taco supreme 

Speaking of favorites, ugh, bickering about NorCal and SoCal burritos again??? Old news, people. Let’s talk tacos. 

Jose Mendoza* opens an eatery that prioritizes tacos with his family and friends on Mission Street and dubs it a “taquiza,” or taco party. “There’s so many taquerías in the city, and they all do burritos,” Mendoza said. “No one really focuses on the taco thing.”

The Mendoza family hails from Guanajuato, México, but the taquiza’s roots run deep in San Francisco. Mendoza, a Mission High grad and its current head soccer coach, said he hopes to eventually hire some students. His family partners up with Mendoza’s old soccer coach and his dad’s best friend, Pepe, whose family comes from Guadalajara, México.

El Rey Taquiza Artesanal will open in about six weeks at 2491 Mission St. near 21st., which was formerly home to Myriad Gastropub (another Covid-19 casualty). Mendoza’s family took over the lease in May, 2021, and continue to foster their other Mexican street snack restaurant, Fiestabowls, at 2290 Mission St. near 19th Street. 

At El Rey, expect homemade tortillas and masa, and a trompo, or a spit, to supplement tacos al pastor. Also promised are frozen sangria, beer, and TVs screening soccer.  

Though the ex-gastropub easily translated into another dining spot, Mendoza hoped to add a second kitchen range hood to ventilate the spit for tacos al pastor. Ultimately, though, he figured the city permit process would delay El Rey’s launch by another few months, so instead he opted to open sooner. For now, Mendoza’s still on the hunt for the space’s signature yellow, evidenced by a corn-on-the-cob-like paint swatch on the wall. 

“We’re trying to make it simple, but pop,” Mendoza said.

Riding High

All aboard at Union Station. I caught work occurring on the soon-to-be 3,500-square-foot cannabis lounge. It gained Planning Commission approval in 2019, paving the way for construction at 2075 Mission St. near 16th Street. To refresh, the lounge is the brainchild of San Francisco natives Eric Post, Miguel Royale, Alejandro Lucas, Joseph Hunt and Precita Eyes muralist Suaro Cervantes. 

The project represents one of the Mission’s original cannabis lounges, and an initial San Francisco cannabis equity partner. Despite past pushback from community groups Cultural Action Network and United to Save the Mission, the drama appeared to chill out. (An effect weed can have.) 

Gaining consciousness

When Muddy’s Coffee House shuttered its location on 1304 Valencia St. near 24th Street in February, readers were heartbroken. The 27-year-old establishment moved out and left an empty shop behind. Now, as I first reported this week, consciousness takes over.

Conscia Space, an eco-minded hair salon, retailer and haircut education center, moved from downtown when it couldn’t match its prior landlords’ rent. A friend owns the building at 1304 Valencia St. and runs scissor company Mizutani, and agreed to let Conscia set up camp at least until February, 2023, when he’ll consider retrofitting the building. Starting at month’s end, Conscia will open, and Mizutani will run most of its haircutting classes on Mondays and Tuesdays and sell scissors, combs and the like. 

Meanwhile, Conscia co-owners Nicole Brown and Victoria Heldt will oversee the other streams of revenue, like the salon, which will operate Thursdays through Saturdays. The salon is conscious of the environment, which is why its staff donates unused metal tubes, coloring dye, and even hair — yes, hair — to be recycled. (Those locks become storm drain mats, apparently.) 

Plus, Brown developed powdered and bar shampoos that nix excess packaging and water usage. Snag these online or in store from Wednesdays to Saturdays.

“It’s been our passion. We just love it,” Brown said, who’s been snipping hair for 19 years and desires to “pass on what [she] know[s]. We’re excited to be in the neighborhood” instead of a “more tourist downtown.”

catch up on muddy coffee house’s departure:

Housekeeping: What you missed and what I’m reading

From us, to you, with love: 

Lydia Chávez and I patrolled Valencia Street and give you the skinny on all the empty storefronts — more than our count in the Great Recession — and why brokers aren’t worried. 

I also took the pulse of the local and state rent relief programs, which lag in applications. It’s partially due to a confusing process. Apply today

What I’m reading

The San Francisco Public Press tracks rental applications and payments in a cool and handy visualization. 

Wildfires and smoke got me thinking about heated living conditions. An article printed in the Mercury News a few weeks ago reminds us how generally underserved areas, like the Fruitvale in Oakland, are structurally hotter than higher-income neighborhoods.  

I loved this local Boston Globe story that reviews a controversial Northeastern University dorm project. The college and ex-mayor argues it could free up apartments rented by students (a similar issue confronting UC Berkeley), and thus unlock housing stock and lower rent prices. Residents and the interim mayor counter it’ll harm the neighborhood (which is historically Black and underserved) and cause gentrification. The extra layer of Beantown politics is a bonus.

* Disclosure: I volunteer with Mission High School students during the school year to make a newsletter. I didn’t know Jose Mendoza or his affiliation with the high school until the initial interview.

Follow Us

REPORTER. Annika Hom is our inequality reporter through our partnership with Report for America. Annika was born and raised in the Bay Area. She previously interned at SF Weekly and the Boston Globe where she focused on local news and immigration. She is a proud Chinese and Filipina American. She has a twin brother that (contrary to soap opera tropes) is not evil.

Follow her on Twitter at @AnnikaHom.

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