San Francisco’s foodie scene suffers as its workers flee high cost of living

The handwritten sign on the front window of the shuttered Blue Fig Cafe last month bade a sad farewell to the days when San Francisco could support an old-fashioned coffee house.

The problem that led the eight-year-old Valencia Street cafe to shut down wasn’t a lack of coffee drinkers in the trendy Mission district. Nor was it the sky-high commercial rents or the competition from the tech industry cafeterias. It was simply that it has become nearly impossible to pay anyone in San Francisco enough to make you a cup of coffee.

“It takes a lot to keep a place like this going, and lately we have found it hard to find great people to help us,” wrote the cafe’s owners on two sheets of printer paper taped to the door, reposted as a photo in the neighborhood news blog, Mission Local. “The type of folks who you have gotten to know over the years – students, artists, cooks – can no longer afford to live in San Francisco.”

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