The Essay: Long Live the Tosca Cafe Spirit

Oct 08, 2019 210

BY: Catherine Bigelow

When news hit in July that Tosca Cafe would close yet again, there was sadness mingled with a collective shrug — another San Francisco restaurant bites the dust. That abrupt shuttering by Chef April Bloomfield is a whole other, complicated skein of industry skulduggery and bad behavior. But what hit me in the plexus were treasured memories of why Tosca, the bar, long-reigned as a venerable and beloved North Beach boîte.

Sure, the gleaming revamped kitchen, with its open-window design, dazzled. Folks hovered against the wall along the bar, awaiting their table and platter of $48 roast chicken for two. But guests weren’t necessarily engaging with other patrons. Instead, the vibe was a more ungracious “Hey, I got my coveted spot. Now you wait your turn.”

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