SF family restaurant chain The Grove Shutters Design District Cafe


The Design District location at The Grove, a family-friendly neighborhood cafe popular for its warm interior and reliable comfort food, has closed permanently. An ad posted outside the restaurant explained that the Grove was unable to recover its pre-pandemic clientele.

“We fought valiantly to survive and survive the moment… Alas, time has passed,” the ad read. The restaurant owners could not be reached for comment.

Ken Zankel, a New York native, and his partner Anna, a fourth-generation Californian, have operated several locations in The Grove since 1999. When they met, Ken owned Zinzino in the marina. He hired design firm Anna’s North Beach, and four years later they collaborated on the first iteration of The Grove, a small cafe near Zinzino. The Grove – Design District opened in 2017.

During the pandemic, the Zankels have focused their Design District location on outdoor dining, trying to take advantage of a 2,000 square foot heated patio that can seat more than 100 diners.

The closure of The Grove in the Design District comes as downtown San Francisco’s post-pandemic recovery lags behind all other major cities in North America.

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On the closure announcement that was posted outside the restaurant, a customer hand-wrote a message lamenting the closure and called the Grove “a neighborhood institution.”

The Yerba Buena Grove will remain open.


About Vivian J. Smith

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