Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Castro merchants approve ice cream shop

San Francisco’s Castro Merchants business group voted this morning (Thursday, August 6) to approve a proposed ice cream shop in the neighborhood.

Juliet Pries, a 15-year-Castro resident, said she hopes to open the Castro Fountain at 554 Castro Street by early 2016.

554 Castro Street is expected to house Castro Fountain. Photo:

554 Castro Street is expected to house Castro Fountain. Photo:

Pries, who’s straight and currently owns Ice Cream Bar, at 815 Cole Street in Cole Valley, told the merchants that the new spot would be a 30s-style soda fountain. The Castro space had been occupied by L’Occitane, a skincare store.

Pries acknowledged her ice cream isn’t cheap – a single scoop is $3.50 – but she said it’s organic and made by the shop.

Castro Fountain would also offer baked goods, but not alcohol. Pries estimated there would be room for 25 seats inside, and eight seats outside, if she gets permission from the city for outdoor seating.

Pries said her Cole business has become a neighborhood social spot, since it stays open until 10 p.m., later than coffee shops in the area. She sounded hopeful her new business would take on a similar role in the Castro.

Castro businessman Patrick Batt, whose shops include Eureka Café, at 451 Castro, frequently voices his displeasure with what’s going on in the neighborhood, and this morning was no exception.

Batt’s shop sells ice cream and is just a few doors down from where Castro Fountain would be, and he’s also been concerned about losing retail spaces. He noted that Pries would be changing what had been a retail spot to a limited restaurant use.

“Did you consider going to another limited restaurant?” before settling on the building at 554 Castro, he asked Pries. She indicated she hadn’t done an extensive search for limited-use restaurant spaces in the district, but she said she had reached out to owners of empty properties close to her new shop, and got no responses.

In the end, almost everyone in the room voted to support Pries’ endeavor. Batt, the only person to vote against the business, opposes it so strongly that he raised both hands in objection.

Pries doesn’t need to take her proposal to the city’s planning commission, since she’s not requesting any conditional use permits.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 6, 2015 @ 2:45 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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