Rooky Becomes a Veteran

A steak joint, record shop, and psychology club all received legacy business status this month.

Rooky Ricardo’s Records owner Dick Vivian, and fans. (Photo: Brian Brooks)

Three longtime San Francisco businesses received legacy status from the Historic Preservation Committee last week, potentially preserving their futures in a city undergoing rampant change. Businesses given the legacy designation can reap lease benefits from city-funded incentives — for example, if landlords extend these businesses’ leases for 10 or more years, they receive a rent stabilization grant of $4.50 per square foot. City-funded business assistance grants are also offered at $500 per full-time employee each year.

Rooky Ricardo’s Records, which opened on the 400 block of Haight Street in 1987, was one of the recent recipients. The vintage record store specializes in soul, funk, jazz, and rock tunes from the 1950s and ’60s, and it experienced a setback last year, when owner Dick Vivian’s original storefront at 448 Haight St. underwent an earthquake retrofit. He moved to a small shop across the street at 419 Haight St., with the belief that he’d be able to move back once the construction was completed. A steep rent hike, however, made that move impossible, so he’s settled into his shop’s new home for good.

Izzy’s Steak and Chops was also granted legacy business status by the commission. The bohemian restaurant and bar at 3345 Steiner St. also opened in 1987, and was named after Izzy Gomez, a Portuguese restaurateur who had a large influence on the city’s food scene in the early 1900s. The cozy, dark venue, which has walls covered in vintage memorabilia, is a popular destination for those diners who prefer a classic meat, potato, and two veg dinner. With creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, and gargantuan steaks as the most popular dishes, this is a place where ordering mussels may be considered adventurous.

The third applicant was perhaps the most unusual: the Analytical Psychology Club, a nonprofit founded in 1940 at 2411 Octavia St. The center supports the study and discussion of Carl Jung’s work, and is home to a library containing more than 3,000 rare and valuable tomes. The Club also hosts a number of lectures by Jungian experts, with titles like “Transpersonal Dreamwork in an Age of Anxiety — The Magic Mirror That Never Lies,” (Sept. 10) and “The Power of Metaphor to Connect with the Divine and Unlock Creative Genius” (Oct. 15).

The Legacy Business program won the support of 57 percent of voters in the November 2015 election. As the program is still fairly new, it remains to be seen just how much protection it will offer longtime mom-and-pop shops in San Francisco, but stopping the unchecked proliferation of Walgreen’s and urgent-care clinics is a good place to start. As of publication date, 116 businesses and nonprofits in San Francisco had been assigned legacy status.

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