I've been walking the streets of the Mission District for years now and while the long stretch of Valencia Street—and, of course, the 18th Street gourmet ghetto—has become nationally recognized as a dining destination, Mission Street itself has held tight to its collision of dollar stores, taquerias, cheap furniture stores and generally cheerful, Latin-influenced funk. Foreign Cinema, which is set back and cloistered, is the only upscale restaurant to have successfully existed on Mission Street.
But last week, I got off the BART at 16th Street and walked south along Mission Street to Hog & Rocks, taking note how much things are changing. For those of you that dread genetrification, never fear: There are still plenty of ripe corners and a couple best-avoided blocks of sidewalk that a handful of hoodlums have staked out as their own. The Mission District as its been for years is still alive and well.
But intermixed in all this is a slew of new restaurants that are definitely not catering to the aforementioned Mission District locals. In three blocks, I walked past The Sycamore, Gracias Madre, The Corner and Commonwealth. The latter is probably the biggest chance Mission Street has seen in a while. The restaurant brought to us by Anthony Myint and chef Jason Fox opened last week in the former El Herradero space. Gone is the landmark sombrero signage and in its place is an ambitious restaurant serving the likes of goat in hay and cocktails with liquid nitrogen.
On 19th Street, I rounded the corner to Hog & Rocks, brought to us by longtime Mission District chef Scott Youkilis of Maverick and Eric Rubin of Tres Agaves tequila. The restaurant is a great space, with huge windows. It was packed with revelers enjoying the good cockail and bar program and easy-going food. I see it becoming a solid neighborhood staple and more restaurants like it continuing to open. As Mission Street turns: Stay tuned.