Bi-Rite Market, La Méditerranée, Let’s Do Wash Coin Launderette, Make Out Room, & Mon Sing Noodle Co. Approved As Legacy Businesses
*** PRESS RELEASE ***
BI-RITE, LA Méditerranée, LET’S DO WASH, MAKE OUT ROOM, MON SING NOODLE CO. APPROVED BY
SF SMALL BUSINESS COMMISSION FOR THE LEGACY BUSINESS REGISTRY
San Francisco, CA — On Monday, March 11th, five businesses – Bi-Rite Market, La Méditerranée, Let’s Do Wash Coin Launderette, Make Out Room, and Mon Sing Noodle Co. were unanimously approved by the San Francisco Small Business Commission for the Legacy Business Registry. The Registry recognizes longstanding, community-serving businesses as valuable cultural assets to the city. There are currently 172 businesses on the Legacy Business Registry.
Bi-Rite Market: 3639 18th Street and 550 Divisadero Street
Nominated by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman
Bi-Rite Market is a full-service grocery store offering farm-direct foods and an array of fresh meals prepared in-house at two locations. The 18th Street market, a staple in the Mission, was founded by Bill and Joe Cordano. The business was purchased by the Mogannam family in 1994 and has been under the helm of Sam Mogonnam since 2004. Sam’s impact as a chef and restaurateur has been transformative. Today, Bi-Rite is a renowned champion of small and local food producers, has created hundreds of good quality jobs offering robust employee benefits, and instilled a mission of “Creating Community through Food.” Bi-Rite is now a family of businesses with a creamery and bake shop, a farm, catering company, a nonprofit that offers free and subsidized cooking and nutrition classes, and its newest addition – a café at Civic Center Plaza.
"This recognition is a testament to the commitment of our community," said Sam Mogannam, second generation owner of the Bi-Rite Market. "Every week, thousands of guests engage with us to eat good food, enabling us to employ 350 people with good jobs and to economically empower a local network of good food producers, all of whom share our values: to lead with love, pursue with passion and act with integrity."
La Méditerranée: 2210 Fillmore Street, 288 Noe Street and 1624 Powell Street
Nominated by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman
For nearly forty years, La Méditerranée has served Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine using fresh ingredients inspired by Armenian and Lebanese family recipes by founder Levon Der Bedrossian. Mediterranean cuisine was new to the U.S. in those early years, but its success proves San Franciscans were curious to discover new and exotic foods, such as lamb lule, hummus, and falafels. Today, it has three locations in the Fillmore, Castro, and North Beach, run by Bedrossian’s son, Vanick, and Vanick’s partner Alicia Vander Heuvel. La Méditerranée invests in their employees, many of whom have been with the business since the 1980s, offering family friendly workplace policies and robust medical and retirement benefits. Further, it consistently gives back to the community through food donations to nonprofits and cultural organizations. Praised by locals and visitors alike, La Méditerranée has garnered many accolades, including “Best Middle Eastern Restaurant” from Zagat SF Bay Area and “Best Middle Eastern” and “Best Mediterranean” in the Guardian and SF weekly, respectively.
"We are honored to be recognized as a Legacy Business on the eve of our 40th anniversary,” said Vanick Der Bedrossian, co-owner of La Méditerranée. “Since the first day, La Méditerranée has served homemade Middle-Eastern cuisine to San Francisco's diverse community. We hope to continue for many years to come."
Let’s Do Wash Coin Launderette: 3725 Balboa Street
Nominated by Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer
Let’s Do Wash Coin Launderette (“Let’s Do Wash”) is a neighborhood laundromat in the Richmond District offering reliable laundry facilities and an inspired space with tranquil garden, art studio, movie screening, and community gathering place for events. The business was founded by a German immigrant couple, Ivar L. Hoftvedt and Dolores Shiu-Hoftvedt, in 1996 and is currently run by owners Wei and Kelin Huang who took over the business in 2007. Wei and Kelin continued the creative trend at Let’s Do Wash by accentuating the space with fine art. They transformed the laundromat into an art gallery featuring 40 paintings they have collected over the years. Let’s Do Wash Coin Launderette has operated continuously in San Francisco for 23 years.
Make Out Room: 3225 22nd Street
Nominated by Supervisor Hillary Ronen
A mainstay in Mission entertainment, Make Out Room is a classic dance hall with high ceilings, dark moody walls and a sparkly disco ball amidst red leather booths. The business was co-owned by Martin Rapalski and Michael Chestney until 2001 when Martin became sole owner. The bar hosts live music and serves as a special event venue through comedy, theatre, fundraisers, literary events, benefits, and weddings. Make Out Room’s early history traces back to a Latin founder, so the business carries out its tradition of weekly and monthly Latin music events. Make Out Room has operated at 3225 22nd Street since its founding and has operated continuously in San Francisco for 23 years.
"Having been a Mission denizen for the past 30 years, I've seen a lot of businesses come and go," says Martin Rapalski, owner of iconic watering-holes The Make Out Room and Latin American Club. "It's a privilege to serve this community I love. With the help of the Legacy Business Registry I hope to continue to do so for years to come."
Mon Sing Noodle Co.: 1950 Innes Avenue, #3
Nominated by former Supervisor Malia Cohen
Established in 1932, Mon Sing Noodle Co. is family-owned business that makes fresh artisanal noodles using traditional methods passed down through generations. The business expanded under current ownership, the Kong family, who have a long history with the business and the craft of noodle-making. Today, it specializes in egg noodles and offers a line of Asian noodles and wraps and Middle Eastern and Italian pastas, serving wholesalers and restaurants throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The business is located in the Bayview, though has moved several times in the early years and may have operated under a different name. Mon Sing Noodle Co. was the one of the first noodle factories in Northern California to make fresh wonton noodles, a Hong Kong favorite.
“We’re thrilled that Mon Sing Noodle Co. is the first noodle factory inducted into San Francisco’s Legacy Business Registry,” said Connie L. Kong, owner of Mon Sing Noodle Co. “We would like to thank former Supervisor Malia Cohen, the Legacy Business Program, and generations of our customers for this recognition. My husband, Aaron, and I worked hard to bring fresh noodles and wraps. We look forward to serving our community for many years to come.”
About the Legacy Business Program
A Legacy Business is a for-profit or nonprofit business that has operated in San Francisco for 30 or more years. Businesses that are between 20-30 years old may be eligible for the Registry if they meet the eligibility criteria. The business must contribute to the neighborhood's history and/or the identity of a particular neighborhood or community, and it must commit to maintaining the physical features or traditions that define the business, including craft, culinary or art forms.
The registration process for the Legacy Business Program includes nomination by Mayor London N. Breed or a member of the Board of Supervisors, a written application, an advisory recommendation from the Historic Preservation Commission and approval of the Small Business Commission. Inclusion in the Registry provides Legacy Businesses with recognition and support as an incentive for them to stay in the community. The program also provides educational and promotional assistance to encourage their continued viability and success in San Francisco.
For more information about the Legacy Business Program, including a list and map of businesses on the Legacy Business Registry, visit http://sfosb.org/legacy-business.
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Press Contact: Gloria Chan, 415-554-6926, Gloria.Chan@sfgov.org