10 Legacy Businesses to Love in San Francisco
Legacy Businesses, indie shops and restaurants over 30 years old, form the bedrock of San Francisco. (Courtesy of @historyofsanfrancisco)

10 Legacy Businesses to Love in San Francisco


In 2015, the city of San Francisco set one of its best ideas in motion.

Concerned about the loss of long-standing family businesses and restaurants in the face of rapid gentrification, it established a program to recognize those still holding strong amid the city’s transformation.

Today, the Legacy Business Program champions small businesses that have been in operation for at least 30 years, bedrock businesses on which SF itself was built. The registry currently includes more than 100 of them in categories that range from bakeries and bars to restaurants and theaters. Like these 10 Legacy Businesses we love, every single one is worth a visit—and will be, we hope, for years to come.

Roxie Theater

(Courtesy of @jc3_d)

By the time it assumed its current name in 1933, the Roxie Theater had already been entertaining the Mission District for 30 years. Back then, the neighborhood movie house was where you went to catch a second or third run of popular Hollywood pictures; by mid-century, it was regularly screening foreign films (and, for a few years, porn). Finally, in the mid-‘70s, the Roxie became the hub for independent film it is today, screening small films, foreign masterpieces, and the work of up-and-coming directors. But the theater isn’t just for silent viewing. Regular events and festivals like Frameline give the Roxie’s audiences the chance to interact and learn from the filmmakers, entertainers, and curators whose work is featured on screen. // 3117 16th St. (Mission), roxie.com

Cinderella Bakery & Cafe

(Courtesy of @cinderellabakerycafe)

For 70 years, the Cinderella Bakery & Cafe has occupied its quiet corner of the Inner Richmond, turning out Russian favorites by the bushel. For lovers of piroshki, vareniki and blinchiki, it’s a menu that reads like a fairytale. At the heart of the story are Cinderella’s cakes and pastries, Russian and Eastern European delicacies that include sweet honey cake, sour cream cake, poppyseed rolls, and hamantaschen. Sweet or savory, there’s really no way to go wrong here, whether you eat on their generous outdoor patio or take your goodies to go. // 436 Balboa St. (Inner Richmond), cinderellabakery.com

Mr. Bing's Cocktail Lounge

(Courtesy of @paulybarbo)

At the crossroads of Chinatown, North Beach and the Financial District, Mr. Bing’s Cocktail Lounge has been attracting the thirsty since 1967. The dimly lit dive is known for its inexpensive drinks (try the Bing’s Old Fashioned) and friendly vibe, which comes courtesy of a solid rotation of neighborhood regulars. A parklet added in pandemic times doubled the classic drinking establishment’s footprint, making it easier to snag a seat at peak times seven days a week. // 201 Columbus Ave. (Chinatown), instagram.com/mrbingssf

Green Apple Books

(Courtesy of @greenapplebooks)

Among San Francisco’s independent book shops, Green Apple is something of a celebrity. What started out as a 750-square-foot store stocked with used books, comics, and National Geographics in 1967, has evolved over time into a labyrinthine space more than six times that size, filled from floor to ceiling with new and used books, magazines, records, and gifts. In recent years, Green Apple has taken up the mantle at two other shops—Green Apple in the Inner Sunset and Browser Books in the Fillmore—but it is the original location, with its somewhat chaotic stacks and regular author events, that remains a beacon to bookworms everywhere. // 506 Clement St. (Inner Richmond), greenapplebooks.com

Tú Lan

(Courtesy of @the4n20)

Julia Child's mid-1980s meal at Tú Lan is the stuff of local culinary lore. And despite a history of health code violations, this hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurant at the corner of 6th and Market has nevertheless become a legendary spot for excellent, affordable imperial rolls, Hanoi-style pho, and other favorites. While the restaurant has dealt with those cleanliness issues, the third-generation family restaurant is as authentically spare as it was when first opened in 1977. Julia’s still there in spirit, too. Even decades after her visit, her portrait still graces the front of Tú Lan’s menu. // 8 6th St. (SoMa), yelp.com

Cafe du Nord

(Courtesy of @tessapaneri)

Beneath the Swedish American Hall, Cafe Du Nord pulses with the beat of live music and DJs several nights a week. The small speakeasy-like space, now the headquarters of the Noise Pop Festival, nods to its early days as a turn-of-the-20th-century club for Scandinavian immigrants. The venue is a go to for indie bands with strong followings; it doesn’t take a massive crowd for the intimate Cafe Du Nord to have the energy of a club three times its size. // 2174 Market St. (Castro), cafedunord.com

Piedmont Boutique

(Courtesy of @piedmontboutique)

The Piedmont Boutique’s got the most famous gams in San Francisco. Since 1972, they've poked from the Haight Street store’s second story window, high-heeled, stockinged, and looking fabulous—a perfect metaphor for the shop itself. Inside, it’s wall to wall “be who you are” fashion along with bright disco party wear, drag queen regalia, and costume essentials. A better selection of sequins, faux fur leggings, statement jewelry, wigs, and feather boas you won’t find anywhere else in SF. // 1452 Haight St. (Haight), piedmontboutique.com

Yasukochi's Sweet Stop

(Courtesy of @butteryexistence)

Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop, a family-owned bakery in Japantown, has been slinging its cakes, cookies, and pastries for 50 years. Everything from the matcha cake rolls to the butterhorns are delicious enough to have caught James Beard’s attention; Yasukochi’s was named a semi-finalist in the outstanding bakery category in 2023. But it is the coffee crunch cake, a light yellow cake layered with whipped cream and dusted with handmade coffee candy, for which the shop is especially known. Buy it by the slice or, take our advice and spring for an entire 9-inch cake. // 1790 Sutter St. (Japantown), sweetstopsf.com

Avedano's Holly Park Market

(Courtesy of @avedanos)

Since 1901, Avedano’s has been Bernal Heights’ friendly neighborhood butcher. Its current owners, who took over the shop a little over a decade ago, practice whole animal butchery probably much the same way the shop's founders did. Not only is nothing wasted, they can tell you exactly the farm where each animal was raised on. In their onsite classes, they’ll teach you how to break down your own animal or make pork sausage the old fashioned way. Take home fresh cuts or sign up for a meat box that’ll keep your household full for at least a week. // 235 Cortland Ave. (Bernal Heights), avedanos.com


(Courtesy of @suppenkuchesf)

Suppenküche was founded 30 years ago with a mission to bring a bit of Bavaria to Hayes Valley. With a warm beer hall vibe that draws jovial crowds for hearty meals and free-flowing German beer, they’ve done just that. At dinner and weekend brunch, heaps of chicken schnitzel, bread dumplings, and sausage platters pair perfectly with enormous boots filled to the brim with pilsner and helles. // 525 Laguna St. (Hayes Valley), suppenkuche.com

Related Articles
Now Playing at SF Symphony
View this profile on Instagram

7x7 (@7x7bayarea) • Instagram photos and videos

From Our Partners