As we wrote about this long-shuttered local landmark back in 2014:

Having operated as a restaurant since 1922, but shuttered in 2007 amid allegations of landlord fraud and un-permitted renovations, San Francisco’s landmark Julius’ Castle at 302 Greenwich Street hit the market in 2010 listed for $4,950,000.

Having failed to find a buyer and saddled with debt, the owner filed for bankruptcy in 2011. And in early 2012, the property was liquidated to a buyer with plans to re-open the landmark restaurant.

The building is legally a residence, however, and situated within an area which no longer allows for restaurants. And while the former restaurant use was grandfathered as a legal “nonconforming use,” San Francisco’s Planning Code states, “whenever a nonconforming use has been…discontinued to a period of three years…such use shall not be reestablished and the use of the property thereafter shall be in conformity with the limitations of the Planning Code.”

And having not served a meal since 2007, San Francisco’s Zoning Administration has just determined that the building’s nonconforming restaurant use has, in fact, expired.

That being said, while a nonconforming use will no longer be allowed, there is an exception to the Planning Code for commercial uses within landmark buildings when such uses are deemed essential to the feasibility of retaining and preserving the landmark, but a special Conditional Use Authorization would need to be sought and approved, an authorization which could be fought by the neighborhood.

And the formal application to secure the aforementioned Conditional Use Authorization, and correct for the aforementioned un-permitted work, has just been submitted to Planning.

As the castle appeared nearly eight decades ago:

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Philip

    It never was a very good restaurant, but I still have fond memories of going there with my father years ago. Their crepes Suzette (does anybody remember that dish?) were a specialty, served with a lot of theatricality.

    Of course they should reopen, and so should The Shadows. The neighborhood needs a couple of local watering holes, for Pete’s sake.

    • Posted by Orland

      Memories indeed…. Crepes Suzette! Remember chateaubriand for two? I recall dining there while freighters docked at the finger piers below for break bulk unloading by real live unionized stevedores… Ah, memories

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      i liked the restaurant and especially the view

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        Lucky for you the best part (the view) is still there. And free!

  2. Posted by Brian M

    Phillip: But parking! And…strangers hanging around at all hours in the midst of our sacred upscale suburb….oops, city neighborhood….

  3. Posted by Metroliner

    From what I remember, they had a pretty good valet system there seven nights a week. They would shuttle the cars down to a lot not far away.

  4. Posted by AnonAnon

    I ate there once after I first moved to SF. Food was not great but it was a cool spot because of its location away from any commercial businesses and nice views. would be cool to see it reopen. They had valet parking, although I’m not sure where they parked the cars while you ate.

  5. Posted by Tom

    Parked the cars down on Powell, across from Amelio’s. Fun times parking for Julius’ Castle and for The Shadows in the mid-70’s!

    • Posted by AnonAnon

      Powell? Man that’s a hike, good workout for a valet parking job.

  6. Posted by Friscan

    Funicular. C’mon. It was there before, from the Embarcadero to the top of the Hill. Of course it can be put back. What are the other options? The 39 Coit? A Bruno Stairlift on the Filbert Steps?

  7. Posted by Alai

    B..b..but zoning is sacrosanct!

  8. Posted by Notcom

    Also, of course, the site – sort of – of a 1951 Film Noir.

    Maybe some creative sort can borrow from the film and make it a thematic B&B…one of those “Murder Mystery Weekend” places. Would be a shame if it becomes just another private house (used 2 weeks a year).

  9. Posted by MB

    Here’s hoping they can bring the restaurant experience back to this attractive location!

Comments are closed.

Recent Articles