Longtime Irving Street businesses Tart to Tart and Mexican Grill, two very different entities that operate under the same roof in the Inner Sunset, are both closing Thursday, April 7. The businesses’ owners, Jenny Cam, were unavailable for comment on Tuesday morning, but staff say after 45 years the impact of the pandemic and rising rents in San Francisco have pushed the businesses to the brink .
Carmen Mendoza, an employee at the Mexican Grill side for about 10 years, says the rent is about to skyrocket past the already difficult $8,000 a month. Mendoza tells Eater SF that the landlord has asked Cam for a new lease at around $13,000 a month, and Cam won’t accept the offer. On top of that, the loss of business caused by the pandemic was simply too much for the local hangout to bear.
Mendoza says Mexican Grill is going away for good, but fans can keep their eyes peeled for Tart to Tart down the road as Cam searches for a smaller location to reopen. Mendoza says she is sad to have to start looking for work after all this time; Vincent Cam, a baker with the business for more than 20 years and brother of owner Jenny, says he’s also sad to be out of work.
However, neither case is over. On Monday, a customer said the burrito at the humble Mexican Grill stand in the Tart to Tart space, right next to the ice cream crate, was as good as any in the neighborhood. The espresso shake was “seriously reserved,” according to the signage. The dark roast coffee was also serious, but the $1.85 shortbread cookies were great for dipping to make the brew a little sweeter. In 2003, the now defunct alternative weekly Weekly SF awarded the shop its “Best Tarts” award for a $2.75 slice of Linzer pie, and in 2005 the now-defunct San Francisco Guardian awarded it the “Best place to observe medical students at leisure”. Large windows and plenty of outdoor seating have made it an eye-catcher for weekend strollers looking for something sweet and cheap for decades.