SF partners with renowned chef Tyler Florence to open 2 cafes in Union Square

Lyanne Melendez Image
Tuesday, September 5, 2023
SF's Union Square welcomes renowned chef
San Francisco has partnered with renowned chef Tyler Florence to open two cafes in Union Square, called Miller and Lux Provisions.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's no secret that San Francisco's downtown area continues to struggle economically. Now, as part of the revitalization of Union Square and surrounding areas, the city has partnered with renowned chef Tyler Florence to open two cafes on the plaza.

Ask any San Francisco resident and they'll tell you it's not only the crime and homeless situation keeping people away from the downtown area.

"Also, if you look around the streets, there is a lot of garbage. The streets aren't very clean," expressed San Francisco resident Karan Patel.

The recovery following COVID has been slower than in other major cities.

MORE: 'Vacant to Vibrant Program' in SF announces 17 new pop-up shops to open late September

San Francisco announced 17 new pop-up shops that will move into empty storefronts in the Financial District as part of its Vacant to Vibrant program.

"Our neighborhoods are booming but our downtown has a 31% office vacancy rate and that is going to take a while to chip away at," explained the president of the Board of Supervisors, Aaron Peskin, who is working closely with Mayor London Breed on the downtown revitalization plan.

As part of that larger plan, the city has invited renowned Chef Tyler Florence to take over the two cafes on the plaza. Both will be called Miller and Lux Provisions.

One will be on the Stockton side, the other on the Powell side.

"On Stockton it's going to be what we're calling the savory shop, it's going to be rotisserie chicken and farmer's market-side dishes and all-day brunch menu," explained Chef Florence.

The second cafe will feature the works of pastry chef Karla Marro.

"We're going to have spectacular croissants, pain au chocolat, beautiful barista-craft coffee," he added.

MORE: Here's a look at the now-open IKEA SF, how it's different from its suburban counterparts

Many people hope a new IKEA store could help jumpstart downtown San Francisco's recovery.

Chef Florence's proposal managed to beat other competitors. The cafes will sign a three-year lease with the Recreation and Park Department, which oversees Union Square.

The news was welcomed by the San Francisco Hotel Council.

"Restaurants and coffee shops all benefit if the hotels do well. For every $100 that is spent at the hotel, $200 are spent outside of the hotel," said Alex Bastian, who head the hotel council.

Tourists still consider San Francisco a favorite destination.

"It's history and the fact that it's really a European-like city. I'm from Italy so that's why, and also the climate," said tourist, Tiffany de Rita.

"It's hard to explain to people in other part of the country about what's happening here, but I think it's really important as citizens of San Francisco that if we have the ability to contribute, we should. We should all contribute to create a better world that we want to live in," expressed Florence.

Both cafes will open in a few weeks.

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