After 38 years, owner Jesse Fink is selling the Toy Boat Dessert Cafe.
“The Boat” is an iconic Inner Richmond shop situated on Clement Street. For years, Fink sold his brother’s brand of Double Rainbow ice cream alongside the Pez candy dispensers and nostalgic memorabilia toys lining the cafe’s bright turquoise walls.
“It is our hope that someone full of vigor and vim will take over Toy Boat, and keep The Boat afloat for many years to come,” Fink wrote in a message posted on the Toy Boat’s glass window, next to a Blatteis Realty Co. “for sale” sign.
Patrons could always enjoy a sundae in its eclectic retro atmosphere. But recently, with the COVID-19 pandemic hitting restaurant owners and retailers hard, Fink himself has gone through a fair share of challenges trying to keep “The Boat” from sinking. Fink told the Chronicle he had gone through most of his savings and his insurance wouldn’t cover viruses. And in April, his freezer died, resulting in 50 tubs of melted ice cream.
Still, even if Fink is stepping down, the memories San Franciscans have had with the ice cream shop will live on.
“We’ve shared our lives and our stories,” Fink wrote. “Customers, some who came every day, those that met here or had their first date over an ice cream sundae.”
Grace Z. Li covers arts, culture and food for SF Weekly. You can reach her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @gracezhali.