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Despite NIMBY ire, Telegraph Hill’s Julius Castle will reopen—eventually

Once more unto the breach

The exterior of Julius Castle, looking faded and in poor repair. Photo by Daderot/Wikicommons

Though hostile neighbors stormed Julius Castle (the historic restaurant locale atop Telegraph Hill) in court and at City Hall, the longtime eatery held out under siege and seemed set for a grand reopening sometime in 2019.

But months went by without any word from the high ground. Now Eater SF reports that the castle will, indeed, reopen to the public, but only after owner Paul Scott makes some changes.

Scott, who bought the property in 2012, wants to remodel the interior of the historic venue—though he promises to respects it history—before opening its doors again, a project that itself won’t take place until he selects new management.

Julius’ Castle is a registered city landmark, named for its original owner, Italian immigrant restaurateur Julius Roz. It operated for 84 years on Telegraph Hill before eventually closing in 2007.

In 2017 the SF Planning Commission approved Scott’s request to open the place back up for business after a decade of closure.

But NIMBY neighbors launched a lawsuit alleging that having a busy restaurant on Telegraph Hill would disrupt the community and pose an irreconcilable quality of life problem, despite having never particularly having done so for more than eight decades previously.

In March of this year, San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Ming-Mei Lee threw out the challenge, ruling that the complaints were without merit and that the community group hadn’t followed proper procedure anyway.

Since then it’s been all quiet on the hilltop. Scott has yet to set a date for a potential reopening, and the Department of Building Inspection doesn’t list any active permits for the site, meaning he will have to maneuver through City Hall again to make the changes that he wants to the property.

According to San Francisco history site Noe Hill, the building has actually been remodeled fairly recently—back in 2007, shortly after getting a new owner and shortly before closing after just a few months of new business.