Café Cocomo Counting Down Its Final Months
After almost two decades of dance parties, CafО Cocomo enjoyed what’s likely its last summer at its 650 Indiana Street location. The building is slated to be demolished within the next 18 months. The site will be converted into two residential buildings, with retail shops on the ground floor. The beleaguered Dogpatch club — there’s been a strained relationship for years between neighbors and the late-night loud party space — wants to stay in the neighborhood, and is searching for a new space to set up shop.
Last spring the club’s general manager, the owner’s nephew, Rhush Wanigatunga, distributed a letter to neighbors outlining the decision to sell the space, which was no longer compatible with the growing neighborhood and families moving into the area. The club’s owner, Drew Wanigatunga, is looking at other Dogpatch spaces that can accommodate the salsa, tango and other late-night entertainment for which the venue has become known. He said the club will operate at its current location until as late as June 2014. “We are a salsa institution,” he said. “We are Number One.” Wherever the club lands, Wanigatunga assured loyal patrons that similar offerings will be found there, along with most of the same staff. Although Wanigatunga is preparing for the move, he said customers can expect business as usual at the current location, and encouraged locals to come for happy hour drinks offered Monday through Saturday.
As many as 120 units will be built at the site, adding to the residential options in fast-developing Dogpatch. Plans include a 135,000-square-foot apartment complex comprised of two buildings, each standing five stories. An alley will separate the buildings, according to Build Inc., which is developing the project. Designs also call for a 1,500-square-foot art cafО at the corner of 19th and Indiana streets and a public square, “Decompression Plaza.” An annual post-Burning Man event is held at Club Cocomo in October; that tradition will continue at the new space. Construction is expected to begin sometime in 2015.
Meanwhile, Drew Wanigatunga has teamed with the proprietor of Cup of Blues, at 900 22nd Street, to open a French cafО. “It’s a lot of things happening at the same time,” Wanigatunga said. The cafО, to be named “Niche,” will open by the end of this month. According to Wanigatunga, there aren’t enough restaurants to accommodate demand from Dogpatch and east slope Hill residents. He claimed that his restaurant, a French bistro-inspired establishment, will offer inexpensive food and beverages in an attractive atmosphere.
Wanigatunga wants the small venue, located next to the Rickshaw bag shop, to serve as a corner cafО, with a lounge feeling and music. There’ll be outdoor seating, which he hopes will evoke Parisian al fresco dining. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as wine and cocktails, will be on offer. An onsite bakery will vend fresh bread and croissants.
The new restaurant is revamping the coffee shop, which has been open for almost 20 years. According to Wanigatunga, the remodeled eatery “…will benefit the neighborhood” adding to the growing 22nd Street business corridor, where Piccino Cafe and Just for You CafО have found a steady stream of customers, just blocks from a Caltrain station.
More information: cafecocomo.com.
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