Sunrise pupusa restaurant 24th Street is locked up because its closed.
Sunrise restaurant one day after its closure. Photo by Annika Hom. Taken Jan. 30, 2023.

The sun has set on the beloved pupusa spot Sunrise. And, it has also set for pizzeria Pi Bar and the Laotian eatery Hawker Fare. 

On Sunday, days after Pi Bar ended its 14-year run via Instagram, Hawker Fare and Sunrise served their last suppers. The closures are a drop in the bucket for a slew of pandemic closures in the neighborhood, according to SF Chronicle data analysis that shows the Mission lost 100 places in 2020 and 2021, the second-most for any neighborhood citywide. Only downtown topped it, with 150 closures. 


Alba Guerra, the owner of Sunrise Restaurant. Photo taken Nov. 1, 2018.

The pandemic proved insurmountable for Sunrise, which also experienced troubles in better times. Nevertheless, for years the casual restaurant at 3126 24th St. successfully lured in customers hungry for loroco and cheese pupusas during breakfast or lunch. 

“I’m really sensitive right now,” owner Alba Guerra said in Spanish, choking up. “I had it for 18 years.” 

By Monday mid-afternoon, the light-blue restaurant’s front door was shut, and the outdoor tables were nowhere in sight. Guerra was still fielding calls on Sunrise’s landline, “because some customers don’t know we’ve closed yet.” 

Guerra declined to add more details about the restaurant’s closure for now, citing the need to tie up loose ends and her emotional state. 

Still, it’s clear that money has been an issue over the past five years, starting when Guerra’s landlord, Andrew Kong, increased rent by $3,000 a month in 2018. In a previous interview with Mission Local in 2020, Guerra said the pandemic tanked Sunrise’s sales to $1,000 per week, leaving her far short of her $7,800 monthly rent. Just after the pandemic started in 2020, Guerra said she was $30,000 in debt due to landlord troubles, and she feared closure

The city awarded Guerra a $7,500 Resiliency Fund grant in 2020, but that went quickly after the owner bought new equipment she needed for SF New Deal, a pandemic-borne program that partnered struggling restaurateurs with food gigs to serve Covid-19 patients. Years earlier, Sunrise also received a $150,000 SF Shine Business Grant to pay for new equipment and refurbish her restaurant.  

relive it:

The Sunrise owners alleged then that Kong had failed to keep the building up to code and the restaurant experienced housing code violations, like eroded drywall and flooding.  

Guerra established Sunrise in 2005, and it’s now wedged between other Mission mainstays Adobe Books and La Reyna Bakery. Over the years, it became a neighborhood favorite for its casual atmosphere and delicious food, and it participated in Calle 24 Latino Cultural District programming and MAPP poetry readings. Guerra used the space to host events from other organizations, and donated some proceeds back to them. The Salvadoran immigrant’s pupusas inspired this video

Pi Bar 

Pi Bar 11th anniversary
Pi Bar owners Richard Rosen and Jennifer Garris enjoying a mushroom pizza and beer. Photo by Clara-Sophia Daly.

Pi Bar announced its adieu on Jan. 26 in an Instagram post, which divulged that a new owner would take over the space. 

“Hopefully, will be seeing many of you in the next few weeks while we wrap things up! Cheers!” it said. It will close in February, it told SFGate

Pi Bar was not immediately available for comment. 

The nearly 14-year-old pizza shop and craft brewery used to dole out $3.14 slices (get it?) and offer a wide selection of local beer on tap. Its happy hour, as a nod to the name, began at 3:14 on the dot. 

The shop was founded three years after owners Rich Rosen and Jennifer Garris met one fateful night at Anchor Brewing, as Mission Local previously reported. Later, Rosen met the pizzeria’s original chef, Joe Lee, who used to tend bar at Zeitgeist. Before its buzzing opening in 2009, the group held memorable test-run openings for friends and family that had Rosen “scared shitless,” and led to many trial-and-error pies that wound up in the trash. 

The New York-style pizzeria survived more than a decade at 1432 Valencia St., situated nearly equidistantly between 25th and 26th streets. The pandemic proved tough, too. Already, social media users are bemoaning  the loss of its Death by Mushroom pie, which incorporates Moonlight Death and Taxes beer in the sauce. 

“My favorite bar of all time. San Francisco’s biggest loss in ages,” one Instagram user commented. Another added: “Now this is some sad shit news.”

Hawker Fare 

Food from Hawker Fare. Photo taken Aug. 18, 2012.

Also through the internet grapevine, the colorful Thai and Laotian restaurant Hawker Fare bade farewell.

“It is with the gravest of sad news for me to announce. Hawker Fare’s Last Day of Service will be today. Please join us [for] our last big party,” the restaurant’s Sunday Instagram post stated. Two more posts appeared on Hawker Fare’s profile to say goodbye to owner James Syhabout’s “best friend” and the restaurant’s dishwasher of seven years, and to thank Syhabout’s Stockton friends who visited for last shift. 

Sunday’s Instagram post blamed the closure on “insurmountable” operating costs of food and labor. Syhabout told The Chronicle that the Mission’s “crime, grit and dirtiness” contributed to fewer customers, too. 

Hawker Fare leaders were not immediately available for comment. 

For almost nine years, diners experienced a whirlwind of flavor at Hawker Fare, which introduced the Mission to Lao Isaan favorites and fun, tropical cocktails. The menu was inspired by street food and “hawker market” culture found in Thailand and Lao. Those in-the-know also remember Holy Mountain, the quietly marked speakeasy just upstairs. 

As Asian hate crimes increased in 2021 and 2022, the restaurant redoubled efforts to raise awareness for the community, and highlighted Lao New Year with special events. The eatery hosted comedy shows, and despite its conspicuous location, Holy Mountain occasionally offered loud karaoke nights.

The location, at 680 Valencia St. near 18th Street, was Hawker Fare’s second site; the first was in Oakland, where Syhabout’s mom ran a Thai restaurant. That space closed in 2017. 

Syhabout told the Chronicle he still owns two restaurants Oakland, Hawker Fare’s sister restaurant, Hawking Bird, and Commis. 


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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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  1. “Andrew Kong, increased rent by $3,000 a month ”
    to $7800 a month…. and now Mr. Kong will get zero dollars.
    And in this new economy I don’t see many folks ready to start a biz at that rate right now.

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  2. Well, it was long overdue for Sunrise. As the owner had financial troubles i.e. paying the high rent a few years ago.

    Personally, I went to Sunrise Restaurant once to try them out several years ago when they advertised a promotion during a carnival/festival. But!!! When I went there, the cashier was okay. But the person that gave me my pupusas was extremely unfriendly, not nice. And when I asked him for more curtido (I had an order of 4 pupusas) he went to the kitchen and remove the curtido and gave me less. That was just rude. The pupusas were not the best either. I never went back!!! There’s Las Palmeras a few blocks away and I have been going there since I was a child.

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  3. Business owners keep telling us that the “crime, grit and dirtiness” are turnoffs, but progressives mock them for it.

    I liked Hawker Fare and Holy Mountain. We live close enough that we often walked by during the day, when they were closed. Homeless people basically trashed their outdoor dining area every single day. That had to be disheartening to clean up. I also walked by once when the workers had just come in and some homeless guy was arguing with the restaurant staff because he didn’t want to leave.

    We can keep prioritizing the homeless junkies, or we can try to make this a better city to live in. You might say “we can do both” but it isn’t working.

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  4. another example of the decline of USA as a center for manufacturing and innovation. we continue to bemoan the loss of the service industry jobs as if it is really important to our well being and future to be catered and pampered by a workforce of low paid workers tethered to an app for their survival. it is the selfish bastards looking for a profit that continue to innovate another ‘convenience’ app to perpetuate their own wealth at the expense of desperate families in need of food and shelter.
    until we as a community realize that a society dependent upon the continuous consumption of it’s citizens to remain vibrant and healthy, we are doomed to repeated cycles of ecomomic collapse for those dependent upon the consumerist mentality.
    this pyramid scheme will always benefit the few at the expnse of the many.

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  5. We live in the area and ate at Sunrise a few times. Honestly it really was not good. If you have great food , people will line up to get it and you will be able to survive. Look around the area and see the small eateries that are thriving…. They have out standing food. Sunrise sorry to say it is more like Natural Selection.

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  6. The new draconian regulations for outdoor seating and parklets will cause another wave of restaurant closures after the rules go into effect this March. Every city department has thrown its own wrench in – DPW, ADA, BSM, SFFD, Planning and on and on, have crammed their own rules into a 120-page “Shared Spaces” rule book that has already begun to cause restaurants to remove their public shared spaces en masse.

    Outdoor dining was a boon to the city, and especially the Mission, and a vital lifeline to restaurants that, as illustrated here in this article, were negatively affected by the pandemic.

    The city is now back to its old tricks of throwing endless bureaucracy in the way of business survival, and I guarantee the wave of restaurant closures will just increase from here as the outdoor-dining lifeline for restaurants is slowly strangled.

    Mark my words, when you look back a year from now and wonder why your favorite restaurant is a boarded up empty storefront, remember to thank your BSM / DPW bureaucrat for putting a final nail in the Mission’s vitality.

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  7. Thanks for shining a light on these closures. It’s a shame. Mayor Breed has a lot of the blame but it’s not just her. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund was only given to only 1 of 3 applying restaurants, no mention of this in the article. It really isn’t reported but the legislation was the important relief designed for an industry that bore an unequal burden to keep society safe. The government picked the winners and losers by creating that fund and not funding it properly. They gave money to the airlines for stock buybacks, paid tech to re-shore their once off-shored manufacturing and gave Ukraine the same amount of $ that Main Street was asking for to reopen their stores and restaurants. Will more restaurants file lawsuits against the city or insurance companies like John’s Grill? If your business can be shut down why would anyone ever invest and take the risk to open a storefront in their community?

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  8. Still waiting for Mayor Breed and other city leaders to apologize for their draconian business killing lock-downs that persisted way too long.

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