New Restaurant for South Laurel

Hardware store since the 40' become deli/bakery

Even before White Oaks Hardware sold, the speculation began. The 2,500 square foot building and the large lot next to it – an overgrown garden with fans and critics alike – was rumored to be the future home of a comfort food restaurant, a bistro or a medical office, depending on who you talked to.

Finally, something more concrete.

New owner Sean Johnston – out power washing the sidewalks alongside the property on the corner of St. Francis Way – said 1696  Laurel will undergo a “complete remodel” and become a deli/bakery. Name TBD.

Johnston says his wife will bring her experience in the food business to their new venture, with an “emphasis on healthy, organic and sustainable” ingredients.

Plans for the remodel are still in the works, but Johnston says they hope to turn the garden into an outdoor dining area and parking lot.

Why San Carlos? “Because of the demographics,” Johnston said, explaining he and his wife wanted to open their business in a town with young people and professionals.





Filed Under: Column 2Restaurants


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  1. Sharon says:

    Very interesting! I was sad to see the hardware store go, but a new restaurant will be welcome on South Laurel. I hope they keep some of the garden for the outdoor dining area.

    • debramonroe says:

      Sharon, I suspect many feel the same way you do…sad about the White Oaks Hardware but looking forward to another restaurant option on South Laurel…which I’m sure will be good for business there all around, making people more aware of places like Jimmy’s Barber Shop, Creekside Books, 1665 Cafe and Mack’s BBQ, etc.

  2. Suzanne says:

    Yes, I was sad to see the hardware store leave, too. My dad owned the store in the 70′s. It took 5 minutes to park, get what you wanted, and be on your way. A chic new organic restaurant with a large outdoor dining area sounds great, though.

    • debramonroe says:

      Suzanne, Since your dad owned the store…visiting it as a restaurant will certainly be an experience for you. Since I always get a strange out-of-body experience in places as large as Home Depot, I’d personally love to see a small hardware store open up. I like the Ace up in Belmont b/c it has some fun kitchen stuff along with nails and paint.

  3. Addam says:

    Geez folks, seems like there are lots of restaurants, delis, and outdoor dining on the north side. This is or was one of the last small mom n pop shop hardware stores in the area. Ace on Industrial Road closed about 6 months ago, Redwood City hardware an Ace closed just over a year ago.
    I’m an operations manager for a Ace Hardware Store in San Francisco and been there for over 18 years. The store its self has been there for about 75 years as a hardware store.
    We thrive on being there to help our customers whether its a 13 cent screw or a 12x12x8 storage shed. We will sell it, we will deliver it to you if needed. Heck we will even assemble it on site if you need. Yes the big box stores are a bit cheaper on some things, but add everything up after all is said and done…….

    Come visit your locals

    • debramonroe says:

      Addam, The hardware stores in neighborhoods in SF are great! I believe the sentiment is many residents would like a hardware store – of the small variety – in town. White Oaks Hardware didn’t close because it was not frequented enough, but because the building was sold as the hardware store didn’t own the property.

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