As we first reported back in 2015:

Prior to closing escrow on his purchase of the iconic Grubstake restaurant at 1525 Pine Street, buyer Nicholas Pigott quietly engaged D-Scheme Studio to draft plans for razing the restaurant and constructing a slender seven-story building on the Polk Gulch site, with 28 small residential units averaging around 400 square feet apiece and 2,000 square feet of retail space fronting Pine.

In a Chronicle article about the pending sale…in which the retiring sellers implied having accepted Pigott’s offer in order to avoid selling to a known developer who would raze the Grubstake and build condos, Pigott was quoted as planning to take over the restaurant and “run it as is,” and that “nothing is going to change.”

Pigott has since authorized D-Scheme Studio to act as his agent in order to obtain the necessary permits to pursue the development as outlined above and the required applications have started working their way through Planning.

As we subsequently revealed in late 2019, a revised set of plans an 8-story building to rise up to 83 feet in height on the site, with 21 apartments over an all-new restaurant space incorporating the existing restaurant’s lunch wagon facade, windows and interior elements, a space into which Grubstake is “envisioned” to return, were then drafted by Kerman Morris Architects and formally submitted to Planning, along with a request for demolition permits.

And while the Grubstake diner has been identified as a potential Historic Resource, with the development team having agreed to develop and implement “an interpretive program” that focuses on the history of the site, with the primary goal of educating “visitors and future residents about the property’s historical themes, associations, and lost contributing features within broader historical, social, and physical landscape contexts,” the proposed project has just received a key environmental clearance to proceed.

All that being said, building permits for the project have yet to be processed, much less secured. We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

21 thoughts on “Grubstake Redevelopment Granted Key Clearance to Proceed”
  1. Glad it’s moving forward; would be even cooler if they repurposed the street parking as an open-air lunch-wagon parklet instead.

  2. Surprised there’s this much interest in Grubsteak the restaurant. Every time I’ve eaten there, its been much less than half full…

    1. There’s an absurd lack of late night dining in this town.

      Grubstake has filled in for decades.

      For a “world class” city, it’s annoying how much of the town would shutter tight at 9pm like some stodgy Bible belt bedroom community

  3. Dumpy diners like GrubStake are considered “Historical Resources” exactly why? Because they are old? What’s the historical significance of serving bad food to drunks and drug addicts at 3.00 AM?

    1. They are probably considered historic because they, you know, represent history. It’s a sadly American affliction to just pull down buildings and build new, hopelessly boring ones in their place that will never have any significance. Historic structure come in all shape, sizes and meanings.

      1. I’m sure people 50 years ago thought the Grubstake was hopelessly boring and would never have any significance. Just give these “boring” buildings time, and when you are long dead, lots of people may find these new buildings do have historic significance.

        1. Can’t speak for 50 years ago but 30 years ago the food was just what a lot of people wanted after entirely too many beers on Polkstrasse. But the people in question were mostly solid middle class folk just having a good time on Friday or Saturday night and almost none of them were “drug addicts”. SF was different back then. And oh by the way, the Grubstake in its heyday served a decent Portuguese menu aside from the American diner food.

    2. Iconic is probably a more fitting word than historic much like the Brown Derby in Los Angeles which is now gone. In the same way that Victorian Houses are iconic to San Francisco, not all necessarily historic.

      How much of the flavor of a city’s charm are people willing to destroy? I guess if you’re just investing in real estate and have no real reverence for a city, anything is fair game.

      1. Playbook from the pro development rowd here. Downplay any real community value in the place with subjective declarations, ladle on the condescending judgementalism with a soupcon of offensive stereotyping.

        “Drug addicts”? Really?

    3. And you’ve been a denizen of our fair city for exactly how long? The chances of a real San Franciscan making such a snide and self-righteous statement as you just did, are slim to none. But hey, thanks for being transparent.

  4. Operative words: “All that being said, building permits for the project have yet to be processed, much less secured”.

    Its a safe bet the entitlement will be put up for sale.

  5. The Grub was a favorite gathering spot for some. I went there once or twice, recall a good Caesar. A late pal: bit of a pinch-hitter local “Foodie Celebrity” fell in love with the Linguica. I’d guess the Grubstake might possibly reincarnate prosperously in newer digs. And all those peeps at the Holdiay Inn on Van Ness have to eat somewhere.

  6. 21 luxury apts is not worth any potential loss of the Grubstake…

    That “envisioned as” better be buttoned up tighter. If this ever gets off ground (doubtful)

    1. 8 floors at 1600 sf/floor (assuming same footprint as the previous 7 story building) is only going to get you 21 600sf apartments. Hardly luxury.

  7. The food and service has grown consistently deplorable since Mr and Mrs Santos sold their wonderful and iconic, (yes iconic, for those of you questioning the usage of the word in reference to who clearly have no imagination or creative instinct whatsoever as evidenced by your zeal for 400 sq ft, “luxury” concrete urban prisons) diner which was a late night fixture on the Polk for decades.

    Mr Pigott of Grubstake Redevelopment obviously lied to poor Mr Santos when he promised to retain the Grubstake as is. Pigott has operated the restaurant with a minimal staff and absolutely atrocious quality for the last six years. Given that he owns and operates the popular with the techie kiddies, Mayes on Polk, it’s beyond obvious at this juncture that he has bid his time before proceeding on the Grubstake site so as to save face and reputation in this often transient community that has a very short memory.

    As for me, I’ve lived here for thirty years and I have a memory like an elephant. And I will never forget nor forgive [people] like Nick Pigott whose only interest in our city is to fleece it for a fast buck. I hope his ill-gotten gains eventually destroy him. What comes around goes around.

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