Eater San Francisco | Oct 1, 2019 Family Cafe has opened its jewel box–like space in North Beach for Japanese curry dishes, Mr. Espresso Coffee, matcha drinks, and baked goods. It’s two floors, each a postage stamp–sized 300 square feet connected by a staircase. And in keeping with the cafe’s name, that staircase is hung with “family” portraits of owners Jessica Furui (a former sake director at Ozumo) and Ray Lee (also owner of Akiko’s Restaurant), as well as chef Tadayuki Furui (Jessica’s ex-husband, most recently of Soba Ichi).
“It’s almost like an old soda fountain vibe,” says Jessica of the space at 362 Columbus Avenue, previously a carryout chicken restaurant. But this soda fountain is cuter than most: Family’s counter is a Calcutta white marble slab, with bright turquoise green arabesque tiles beneath. On the second floor, a big dining table seats up to 10 people, and more seats and stools line the windows.
Family Cafe’s daily menu, prepared in a small kitchen by chef Tadayuki, is written on an antique mirror. From Jessica at the counter, customers order items like katsu chicken sandwiches on Japanese milk bread and daily specials including Jessica’s own baked goods. Those are “whatever I like to make — whatever’s in season,” she says, including cheesecakes and cakes with seasonally changing fruits.