A third space to call their own - Page 2

Rancho Parnassus struggles to stay afloat on Sixth Street

"That's what this community was missing: a casual, affordably priced all-days, all-ages hangout."

A typical Rancho afternoon is enough proof that the cafe means a lot to its regulars. Most days you'll find the street artist who goes by the name of Big Face using the space as his personal studio, constructing collages at the café tables or on an easel. Around him other patrons work on their laptops or use the café's public Apple computer, talking, eating, or just sitting quietly. "I don't make a big fuss about anyone buying anything," Harris says. "I want people to hang out, and we are certainly never going to push anyone out as long as they are polite and not disturbing the creative environment."

The community members familiar with Rancho Parnassus vouch that the space makes them feel welcome. "I kind of wandered in by accident," says Adrien, a 20-year resident of the neighborhood who lives two blocks away. Adrien comes in every day for breakfast and to do work in the morning. "There's really no other place around here like this. There is a more relaxed vibe here between the décor, the music, and the people who work here. Other places are similar but they get too crowded and it's more 'get in, get out.' "

Harris says it will be up to the community and the economy to keep Rancho Parnassus open. Although the café has a community agenda, it's still a business, which means it won't be receiving grants or funding from outside organizations. "There's no grant for 'really wonderful café — let's get them to stay open,' " Harris says. When he talks about the struggle to stay afloat, you can tell he thinks the stakes are high. "It's such a great thing for this neighborhood. So many depend on us to be here." 

RANCHO PARNASSUS Mon.–Sat. 6 a.m.–7 p.m. 505 Minna, SF (415) 503-0700 www.ranchoparnassus.com



This concept -- a third space-- is also a psychoanalytic term. This was a really interesting piece. I'll try it next time I'm nearby.

Posted by J. Brossell on Mar. 30, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

This place has amazing coffee! Come out and show your support. Cheers.

Posted by Ari-san on Mar. 31, 2011 @ 8:04 am

I agree - went for first time recently and the coffee was as good as any i'd ever had served by a sweet guy. and right in the middle of the 'wine country'.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

Rancho Parnassus is sacred! There certainly isn't another place like this. I really appreciate the fact that Andy wants the cafe to be an open, creative, and stress-free environment. The coffee is lovely, and the overall ambiance is calming. If Rancho Parnassus closes down, I'll feel a sense of loss. Check it out if your interest is piqued.

Posted by Guest on May. 05, 2011 @ 12:09 am

Also from this author

  • Summer fairs and festivals

    Get ready for the solstice with our guide to summertime fun 

  • No animals were harmed in the making of this sandwich

  • Superlist 2011: Bottomless mimosas

    City-wide guide to the best sparkling orange deals