Celebrity chef Tyler Florence plans to open cafés in San Francisco to battle ‘crime’: ‘Can’t live like this’
Celebrity chef Tyler Florence has announced his plans to open two cafés in Union Square, a neighborhood in the center of San Francisco, to help combat “crime” and hopelessness in the city, according to a report.
“I think people need to just look in the mirror every day and realize that we can’t live like this any longer, with the crime, car vandalizing, theft and robbery,” Florence told CBS News Bay Area. “I think on the other side of the coin is the positivity in the city.”
“We want this to be a cultural impact, make a big difference in the city of San Francisco, and really even from a citizen’s standpoint, lean in,” the chef, who is also a Food Network host, said. “We can’t complain about it, we can’t point fingers. I think it’s everyone’s collective responsibility — pick a neighborhood.”
Florence’s announcement comes amid a major restaurant and business crisis for San Francisco, as the city struggles to fill vacant downtown storefronts while some try to find alternatives to fill ground-floor retail spaces, such as manufacturing and even public restrooms.
Those vacancies can “operate like a virus,” as every empty storefront makes it more difficult for other downtown businesses to survive, a recent New York Times report concluded.
Gracias Madre, a popular vegan eatery in San Francisco’s Mission District, also closed its doors in late August after more than a decade due to the city’s deteriorating conditions.
But Florence was confident that he could help turn around the city.
“This is San Francisco,” he said. “We’ve solved a lot of the world’s problems and created one of the largest economic powerhouses in the world. We can’t fix homelessness in San Francisco? We can’t fix this problem? I think we can. So this is my opportunity to make a big statement.”
San Francisco city officials voiced their excitement about Florence’s project.
“Rec and Park is really excited to work with Tyler, he has three successful restaurants in San Francisco already, so we want to recreate some of that magic and bring it here to Union Square,” San Francisco Recreation and Park Department spokesperson Daniel Montes told CBS News Bay Area.
Fox News’ Hanna Panreck and Taylor Penley contributed to this report.
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