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Old Sign Reveals Candy Factory History on Polk Street

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Welcome to Curbed Checks In, where we check up on some of our favorite development projects, and follow-up on real estate sold that appeared ripe for the teardown or remodel. Have a certain property that you'd like to know the current status of? The tipline's always open or you can leave a comment after the jump.

Our friends over at Richmond District Blog sent us the above photo they snapped down at Polk and Pine. The building at 1401 Polk that most recently held a liquor store is undergoing a renovation, and in the process uncovered this old sign.

The building was constructed back in 1921, originally serving as fruit market. By 1938, Guy Bryson had moved his candy factory into the building after making candy at various candy stores throughout the city since the 1910. Throughout the Twenties he had a candy factory on the 700 block of Larkin, but moved into 1401 Polk in 1938.


Business didn't last long though, because according to city directories by the early 1950s the building became a market. It stayed as various markets through the 70s, and turned into a liquor store by the early 80s. The liquor store (which also changed names many times) closed in 2011, and in 2012 the property owner got approval to convert the space into a restaurant. Plans were hatched for a "hof brau express," called Lefty's Fresh Spin and run by the folks from Lefty O'Doul's. Building permits were finally issued in January 2013 for the conversion work, but it looks like work didn't actually get started until this last fall.

Recently the work revealed the long-covered-up Bryson's Candy sign from the late 1930s. The original design plans from 2012 imply that they didn't know the (maybe porcelain?) sign was there, saying only "Windows to remain, removed existing plywood cladding," No word if Lefty's Fresh Spin is still slated for the spot, but it'll be interesting to see if the newly revealed sign is left in place.

Thanks for the tip, Richmond District Blog!
· Conditional Use - 1401 Polk Street [SF Planning]
· Building Permit #201211013355 [DBI]
· Lefty O'Doul's Opening Sandwich Satellite on Polk [SF Grubstreet]