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Sean Penn swoops in with Tosca rescue

Turns out Sean Penn is to SF foodies as Bono is to Africa: saving the world, one drinking hole at a time.

Tosca Cafe — a North Beach staple for 92 years — was slated to close in August due to an eviction notice. Someone sent up the PennSignal, and our dashing hero swooped down to the rescue, an Academy Award in each hand to fight off evictions left and right.

The eviction notice was the result of a dispute between owner Jeannette Etheredge and landlord Roger Forbes.

Penn is a long-time patron of the swanky joint, and when he heard it was going under, he did what any self-respecting millionaire actor would do: offered to throw money and celebrity gravitas at the problem until it went away.

So Penn called up Ken Friedman, who is well known for spearheading famous New York restaurants with chef April Bloomfield, including Michelin-starred The Spotted Pig. Friedman headed to SF post-haste, and quickly was able to sign a 10-year lease for the property.

It looks like the Penn’s familiarity with the place will do locals proud, as the new owners and operators plan on keeping things almost exactly as they were. In fact, Friedman and Bloomfield won over former owner Etheredge by telling her they wouldn’t do this deal without her, working with her to bring Tosca back to its former glory.

The main thing that will change will be the food menu, which Bloomfield will revamp based on her experiences in New York and London.

Friedman told SFGate:

“The plan is to keep it exactly the same. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

He quickly reassured them that they would fix what was broken, however.

Now all that’s left is for the new liquor license to go through, which is when Friedman and Bloomfield can assume ownership. That should be in about two months. Until then, we, along with Sean Penn, hold our breath.

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