From Eater San Francisco:
Emanuel “Manny” Yekutiel has always been busy before big elections. In 2012, he worked on Obama’s reelection campaign (and later interned at the White house), and in 2016 it was the campaign to elect Hillary Clinton. But ahead of Tuesday’s midterm, he’s been occupied with something new: Opening Manny’s, a 3,000-square-foot cafe, bar, bookstore, and civic gathering space at 3092 16th Street. After more than a year of construction on the corner of Valencia (in the former V16 Sushi space), Manny’s will greet its first customer on November 6th.
That timing isn’t just fitting, but intentional: Yekutiel envisions Manny’s as just the kind of place you’d want to watch election results roll in. It’s “a new physical place to go to become a better informed and more involved citizen,” he says.
In an era when most of us engage with the news alone (Yekutiel gestures to his phone) he wants to bring people together to commiserate and organize in real life. “There’s something necessary about an in-person connection,” he says.
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Nearby bookstore Dog Eared books will provide Manny’s with political reading material, stocking floor-to-ceiling shelves in a central bookstore space. Food offerings will be implicitly political, too, according to Kevin Madrigal, co-founder and culinary director of Farming Hope. His nonprofit — which provides transitional work in its gardens and training in the culinary industry to people experiencing homelessness and poverty — will handle the menu at Manny’s.
“When people buy something here, they’ll be supporting what we do [at Farming Hope], whether knowingly or unknowingly,” Madrigal says.
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Behind the cafe . . . is a large event space with room for about 107. In that space, there’s more seating, two TVs (to be tuned to news), a large projector, and lots of board games.
While Manny’s itself is new, its idea is anything but. “For centuries there have been certain cafes, bars, and restaurants that have doubled as spaces for civic engagement, social justice, and activism,” says Yekutiel, “places to consume, react, and create the news.”
The first coffee houses in the Ottoman Empire and cafes in France fomented revolutions, he observes, while Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco and the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village kickstarted the movement for gay rights. Madrigal points to Mitla Cafe in San Bernardino, where organizers in the 1940s organized to sue the city for access to public pools — an action that helped set precedent for Brown vs. Board of Education.
So will the next revolution get started at Manny’s?
“It’s already happening,” says Madrigal.
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To succeed, Manny’s will need to have some kind of activity almost every night — “Just like a movie theater doesn’t work if it’s not showing movies every night, or a sports bar doesn’t work if it’s not showing a game,” says Yekutiel.
But what that activity entails is flexible, from phone banking to watching documentaries to drinking beer and making art.
Link to the rest at Eater San Francisco
For visitors from outside the United States, today is the first general election for federal legislators – Senators and Representatives – since the election of President Trump.
President Trump is not on the ballot, but the level of political activity over the past few months has been very high and, for some observers, excessively frenetic.
Regardless of the outcome of today’s elections, PG suspects he is not the only one who looks forward to a post-election period that includes a civic life that is a bit more unperturbed.
On the other hand, Manny’s marketing plan appears to be built on a foundation of continuous perturbation.
Among the extensive list of topics about which PG claims no expertise, San Francisco restaurants would rank near the top (although, during past lives, he has enjoyed more than one excellent restaurant meal in that city).
Despite the “implicitly political” nature of his menu, PG will observe that Manny appears to manifest the promotional instincts and behavior of an eager capitalist entrepreneur.