As of 2012, Namu Gaji has been one of the finest examples of modern Korean dishes in San Francisco, developed by Chef Dennis Lee. However, the restaurant closed for good just before its 10th anniversary in town.
Chef Lee, who jointly owned Namu Gaji with brothers David and Daniel Lee, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the Korean restaurant will be shut down amid fighting during the pandemic. (SFGATE and the San Francisco Chronicle are both owned by Hearst, but operate independently.)
“Unfortunately, Namu Gaji is no longer,” Dennis told The Chronicle. “Running a full-service restaurant is a major challenge. With all the delays and new challenges that arose from the first two emergency shelter orders and the uncertainty over the coming year, we had to make the difficult decision to end this deal. “
With the pandemic out of the equation, it could have been different for the restaurant. Namu Gaji temporarily closed its doors in March 2019 after a city-mandated seismic retrofit of building 499 Dolores St. The original plan was to reopen the restaurant a few months later, but then the owners announced that Namu Gaji was in the former and a much larger perennial space would move into 59 Ninth St. They expected a later opening in 2019, according to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle.
Meanwhile, in July 2019, the Lees replaced the empty storefront at 499 Dolores Street with their casual Namu Stonepot restaurant. It was their second outpost in Namu Stonepot, San Francisco, which is still open.
There is some good news, however. The Lees now say they will continue to use the former perennial space for their upcoming project, which Chronicle says will open in the coming weeks. In an already named beer hall, guests can choose from beers from Cellarmaker Brewing Co. and a condensed menu from Namu Stonepot and Sunset Squares – Dennis’ Detroit-style pizzeria, which opened last year. Filipino pop-up Uncle Tito menu items will also be available.