Food of course! Although the bums harassing you, smell of urine throughout the neighborhood, and the occasional public mugging you might come across are all perks of the Tenderloin, it is the delicious food that keeps me coming back. One restaurant that I have been to multiple times iBrenda’s French Soul Food.
Located on 652 Polk St., Brenda’s has been serving up cajun goodness in the Tenderloin since 2007. Weekend brunchers beware, the line at this place is pretty ridiculous. People from all over the city and greater Bay Area are willing to wait for more than one hour at a time, which makes Brenda’s a social hangout for those weekend warriors. According to surrounding groups that were fiendishly waiting in line for a table, this is the best hangover cure after your festive weekend. All around me was talk of drunken foolishness from the night before, or at least from what they could remember.
For some people, it is a ritual for them to come every Sunday for brunch. If these people are willing to wait hours on end for brunch, then Brenda’s must be doing something right.
Check out Brenda’s menu and hours here!
Open up a tour guide on San Francisco and the Tenderloin will probably not be the most recommended neighborhood to visit. However, with a keen eye and some perseverance, you can find some diamonds in the rough in this flourishing neighborhood.
Bounded by Market, Geary, Van Ness, and Mason streets, the Tenderloin is located in the flatlands of downtown San Francisco. Prior to the 1930s, the Tenderloin was considered just a part of downtown San Francisco. It was not until later the San Francisco maps began to label this specific area the Tenderloin.
There are many explanations of how the Tenderloin earned its name. One of the more popular spiels is that the neighborhood was described as the “soft underbelly” of the city, being associated with corruption and lewdness. It has also been referenced to the “loins” of prostitutes, as the Tenderloin was notorious for strip clubs and brothels.
Homelessness, crime, drug abuse, landlords, and straight up filthiness are just a few things Tenderloin residents are worried about. Crime is routine in the Tenderloin. Posted on SF Appeals website on Sept. 5, 2014 was an article about a homeless man stabbing a woman after he had thrown a bottle at her. SFPD’s Tenderloin Station caters to the district under the authority of Cpt. Jason Cherniss. Graffiti art and tagging, dealing of illicit drugs, and property crimes are common.
In spite of these negatives, there are a few residents that cherish their neighborhood. Summer Galindo, San Francisco native and Tenderloin resident, shines some light on the otherwise shady neighborhood. “I love my neighborhood! Home to the largest number of historic buildings, most beautiful (if abused) architecture, and the densest population by a mile,” Galindo said. Galindo also gives tips on how to enjoy the Tenderloin to the fullest, by avoiding certain areas during specific times. “Don’t wander around like a lost little lamb,” Galindo said. “Avoid the Civic Center after dark, and at all cost after 2 a.m.”
Boeddeker Park, located at the corner of Eddy and Jones streets, is one of the most used parks in the city. Unfortunately it is more occupied by drug addicts and drunks rather than children, as it was intended for. Despite the not-so-friendly spots, there are many establishments that attract more of a positive crowd. Jones is a bar located on 620 Jones St. that is known to have a very good happy hour and includes a “cool rooftop vibe.” Kayo Books, located on 814 Post St., is an authentic pulp-fiction bookshop that has been a staple in the neighborhood for years. Definitely aimed towards the more obscure-loving bookworm.
Although the Tenderloin Times was discontinued sometime in the 90s, there are many online outlets that can easily be obtainable for free. The blog “Loin Life” is an example of a dependable blog focusing on the Tenderloin. The author behind the “Loin Life” is SFSU alumnus Nina Frazier. Perhaps the most up to date Tenderloin blog is the “Tender Life.” Kept up by Ryan Gillespie, the blogs latest post was on Sept. 4, 2014. Some days Gillespie posts twice a day. You can find the “Tender Life” at http://tenderlife.tumblr.com and the “Loin Life” at http://loinlife.wordpress.com.
Take a quick walk through the Tenderloin and immediately you are submerged by street art of multiple mediums. “Lady with Apples” is a more recent mural done by street artist Aryz, located on Eddy and Polk Streets. A modern form of street art, “Lady with Apples” depicts a woman made up of geometric shapes carrying a basket full of apples. It is moderately colorful with an organic yet mechanical make-up.
Jane Kim serves on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, representing District 6, which encompasses the Tenderloin, SOMA, and other neighboring neighborhoods. She spent her first two years on the Board serving as a Chair of the Rules of Committee and member of the Budget & Finance Committee. Kim uses Twitter as an outreach method to get in touch with the people she deals with. Better known as @SuperJaneKim on Twitter, Kim posts regularly with photos from clinics she helps organize as well as her favorite song for the day. Sources include: http://www.sfbos.org/index.aspx?page=11324 http://janekim.org http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Incoming-S-F-supervisor-Jane-Kim-has-grand-goals-2451655.php