December 2012

Axis Café Spin-Off to Open on Treasure Island

Sasha Lekach

Axis CafО and Gallery, which occupies an industrial space on 1201 Eighth Street, at 16th Street, will close this month. The building that houses the eatery is to be demolished, replaced by two multi-story mixed-use buildings, featuring retail and offices on lower floors and living space above. An old warehouse that used to be a mechanic shop was converted into the current dining space in 2004.

Many Potrero Hill residents are sad to see an end to the restaurant’s roughly seven year run, which included hosting mommy’s groups, Halloween parties, and Easter egg hunts. According to general manager and executive chef Linda Edson, the cafО was originally slated to shutter in October, but after hearing from neighborhood patrons mourning the loss of the eatery, closure was pushed to December to allow for a final holiday celebration. 

Redevelopment at the Axis site will include razing the existing single-story building and constructing two 58- and 68-foot tall buildings, with a 22 parking spot garage for residents and commercial use. Some of the upstairs units will be set aside for production, design, or repair-related enterprises. 

Edson plans to open an off-shoot of the cafО on Treasure Island, doubling the number of restaurants on the former San Francisco naval space. The co-owners of the 175-seat restaurant and gallery space, Mark and Gail Smallcombe, both Australian pastors, are prepared to bring Axis back to the redeveloped space in one to two years. But in the meantime Edson decided to start her own place, called “Aracely,” after her almost three-year-old daughter. 

Aracely, which is expected to open by March, will feature many of the elements offered at Axis, from its outdoor space to family-friendly feel and even a garden. Edson, who is from Argentina, plans to incorporate that South American country’s flavor into her menu. She brings restaurant experience from Bay Area heavyweights Gary Danko and French Laundry. “It’s been a great experience, getting to know our customers. We’ll really miss this area,” Edson said. 

Many Hill residents lamented this year’s loss of a Halloween party, which in the past has included a costume contest, bounce house and other pre-18th Street parade activities. Some of these Axis traditions are expected to continue on Treasure Island, with Easter and Halloween celebrations. 

Mission District resident Mark McCormick, who works at Wells Fargo, said he loves Axis, and that he’s “so sad it’s closing.” The cafО has become a part of the 51-year-old’s weekend routine, which includes bicycling into the neighborhood on Saturday mornings. “It’s long been a part of my Saturday morning ritual: swimming at UCSF Mission Bay, then breakfast at Axis. Sam made the best latte in town, Jenni was the sweetest waitress, George was the perfect host.” 

As the closure approaches, the restaurant has reduced its hours. It’s no longer offers dinner, with weekday hours limited to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch and brunch are available on weekends from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The imminent end is hard for Edson and everyone at Axis to fathom, she said. “Thank you everyone for your support,” she said. She reminded Hill customers that Treasure Island is a quick seven minute drive away in no traffic, with great views, palm trees and uncharted restaurant opportunities, with the essence of Axis to continue there.

More information: axis-cafО.com or 437.2929

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