Today, I happened to be passing by the site of Trans Cafe at 554 Commercial Street alley at the corner of Leidesdorff (bounded by Sacramento, Clay, Montgomery and Sansome), having my occasional hankerin' for some lamb in peda bread and maybe some grilled veggies, and thinking I might give this place a try after a self-imposed absence of about a year or so.
To my surprise, I noticed the place was closed up and a banner now hangs out front that says "Coming Soon -- Banana Best, Thai Food".
I remember thinking that this location, being somewhat hidden down an alley and in the shadow of the former TransAmerica Pyramid, with the re-location of so many jobs out of the area during the last 4-5 years or so, was really going to present a challenge for the Trans Cafe folks.
It was bad enough that their menu was a mix of American sandwiches and other hum-drum choices along with either Middle Eastern or else pretty decent quasi-Mediterranean offerings such as lamb shish kebab, rice and stuffed bell peppers. But overall, I thought the place never really established an identity as being true to the cultural roots of its owners.
Oh well, let's hope the Banana Best folks get it right...
PS What's the deal with including the word "Banana" in so many restaurant names these days -- is this some sort of latest marketing research firm consensus "hot button" buzzword, or what?