Tosca’s Last Act?

North Beach’s Tosca Cafe

Not Puccini’s opera, the North Beach cafe on Columbus with opera on the jukebox. Tosca Cafe, a favorite with the famous and locals alike, is 8 years short of its 100th anniversary. Owner Jeannette Etheridge just got an eviction notice.

It all started earlier this week. The landlord wants his unpaid rent. He’s a major stockholder in Deja Vu Showgirls, a Seattle company that owns strip joints on Broadway. Rumor had it that he wanted the space for another one.

A true North Beach character, Jeannette Etheridge lawyered up with John Keker, one of the best in the country. Her powerful clientele mobilized support to save this North Beach institution.

“Look at the place,” Etheredge told the SF Chronicle’s C.W. Nevius. “It’s out of an Edward Hopper painting. It has always been a hangout for artists, painters and actors.”

“What’s interesting to me is why this girlie club guy is going to try to take away a San Francisco institution,”  Keker said. “This stands for a lot of what’s wrong with North Beach in general.”

Both sides say they’re willing to talk. I hope they work out a settlement so that the North Beach icon is still around to celebrate its centennial.

Nevius broke the story and provides the latest developments.