After 37 years in business, Sweet Inspiration Bakery Cafe will close March 1, Hoodline reports. Co-owners Ike Shehadeh of Ike’s Place and Ryan Scott (formerly of Finn Town, which is two doors down the street) purchased the business last fall from longtime owner Michael Colter and gave it a refresh, but the underlying economics never worked out. An attempt to secure some kind of wine-and-beer license does not seem to have materialized.
Commercial vacancies are a huge issue in the Castro, and a boomlet of cafes and other coffee places likely didn’t help Sweet Inspiration. While Scott and Shehadeh updated the menu to add items like burgers and all-you-can-eat pancakes — and commissioned an artist to paint a restroom mural of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence — the business has had a few scrapes with the city over violating the formula-retail ban. There are far more than 11 Ike’s locations, so when Colter initially partnered with Shehadeh, they had to dodge the city’s ire by renaming it “Sweet Inspiration Bakery Cafe feat. Mike’s Place.” The city reopened the complaint last December, and ultimately Scott and Shehadeh had to shell out more than $2,500.
Effectively, as a branch of Ike’s that also happens to sell desserts, it appears that Sweet Inspiration was too much of a duplicate of the Ike’s on 16th Street to stay afloat. Having been around so long, it would qualify for S.F.’s Legacy Business Registry, although that type of assistance usually comes in handy for a profitable enterprise that’s been hit with a major rent hike. But no doubt, it will be missed.