Welcome to Mission Moves! This originally reported roundup notes newsy Mission development, housing moves and happenings. Please send us your tips and curious questions.
Happy Halloween to all, and a Feliz Día de los Muertos very, very soon. This week’s Mission Moves provides a mix of history and answers a (lowkey) neighborhood mystery. Ready, set, ghost!
Mission Housing turns 50
Though 50-year anniversaries warrant deep-diving historical features, I wouldn’t dare to step on the toes of Julian Mark’s beautifully-written 2019 profile of Mission Housing leaders. What more is there to say? In terms of dynamics, little has changed. If we’re talking output, that’s a different story.
Since Mark’s excellent piece — executive director Sam Moss still speaks of it in reverent, hushed tones usually reserved for the dead of night — Mission Housing built plenty of housing. There’s La Fénix (157 units) and Avanza 490 (81 units), for example. Let’s just say I’ve attended enough ribbon-cuttings to last a lifetime.
With its feet wet and respect redeemed, Mission Housing is now eyeing development beyond the Mission. West-side San Francisco, be warned. Though just three years ago the organization was fighting for a chance to be taken seriously, it’s now playing in the Major Leagues and creating a reputation that incites praise and anger. Some advocates laud its ability to add hundreds of affordable housing to the Mission and San Francisco; others denounce its name as an “affordable” developer, referring to Moss’s pro-market-rate housing stances.
Moss, though he does not call me “bro” or “man,” as he did Mark, still rambles with a boy-genius demeanor, occasionally pausing to apologize in case he is accidentally mansplaining. (Truly, he never is.) He’s cemented himself as a controversial, fast-talking, crass expert, who unapologetically and snarkily criticizes those he believes have done wrong. But 2022 Moss shows some signs of change. He found his other half, Laura Foote, YIMBY Action executive director and a hilarious housing force in her own right, and married her. Both are included in Conor Doughtery’s “Golden Gates” — though the love story is lacking, Foote clucked to me once — and have recently welcomed a child who has his own emoji on YIMBY Slack. Maybe the pair will lift up the child, like Simba, and point out the Mission Housing properties near 16th Street. “Everything the 22 touches is yours,” they might say. “Fuck parking minimums.”
And the woman behind Mission Housing’s resurgent success, deputy executive director Marcia Contreras, still pulls the strings behind the scene. She appears to help cut the ribbon at 100-percent-affordable housing openings, and is extremely humble about the work she does to keep the organization growing and to serve low-income Latinx residents. Contreras collaborates with other community groups, like Dev Mission, which provides technology access in Mission Housing affordable properties.
Welcome, Lol Tun
This week, a Yucatecan Mexican restaurant opened, adding to the influx of Latinx-owned businesses moving onto the block between 20th and 21st streets on Mission Street. As the memeing Gen-Z says, ‘”nature is healing” — and the healing comes in the form of restaurant Lol Tun, which means Stone Flower.
“We want to expose [Yucatecan] food to other Latinos, but also to the larger community,” owner Hector Daniel Chan May told Mission Local in Spanish.
Lol Tun opened officially on Monday, and already a handful of customers hoping to stop in for a quick bite of cochinita and empanadas filled the tables during Mission Local’s recent visits. Each time this reporter walked in, an attentive and bilingual waiter perked up immediately, ready to assist.
It’s not the first entrepreneurial venture for owners Chan May, 45, and his son, Hector Eduardo Chan Corona, 26. The pair own and work at El Rincon Yucateco in the Tenderloin. (Chan Corona tended the Tenderloin restaurant while his dad answered Mission Local’s questions.) What about mom? Rosa Corona is in the kitchen with Chan May, while their son works the front.
Chan May immigrated to the U.S. from Yucatan, Mexico, in 1999. His son later followed in 2008. Working together isn’t much different from family time off-the-clock: “We still make time for each other,” Chan May said in Spanish.
Between the trio all language-bases are covered. Chan May speaks fluent Maya and Spanish, and “a little English;” Corona speaks Spanish best and no Maya; their son is the English master, though he speaks Spanish, too.
Chan May recommends folks order the poc chuc or the cochinita, but the latter is his favorite. No alcohol is sold on the premises: “We want to create a family-friendly environment, where kids can come.”
Though Lol Tun is hardly the first Yucatecan restaurant to hit the hood, most are concentrated in the north Mission. And for those who recall Lol Tun on Folsom Street from back in the early 2000’s, it’s not the same restaurant nor ownership. In 2007, that restaurant went south after its owner was busted for selling cocaine and meth, a fact that did not surprise unsatisfied guests on Yelp.
Stop in Chan May’s Lol Tun from Sundays to Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., or Thursdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 2471 Mission St. near 21st Street. Call 415-817-1286 to order by phone, or to ask for more information. Order online via DoorDash or Grubhub.
Chan May said: “Everyone come and try it.”
Xanath: Mystery solved
The ever-present sign promising a spring reopening has been turned over. Plastic lines the inside of the ice cream store. You’re thinking it, so I asked: What the heck is happening with Xanath?
Nothing much. Just a bit of painting, a bit of prepping for when owner Juan San Mames wants to reopen the shop to customers and staff again. “We just want to take our time. We’re relaxed,” Mames said, who added he owns the building where the shop is located. Though the closure was supposed to be temporary, Omicron-variants this January led to staff shortages, and Xanath never opened. Promises to open by spring turned to promises to open by June and, well, it’s Halloween.
Mames told me on the phone he wants to see how the pandemic plays out after this expected fall/winter surge, specifically in regards to staff. He doesn’t want temporary closures again.
“People get disappointed when you say you’re open but you’re closed,” Mames explained. “Hopefully we have a better picture by January or February.”