Sweet goodbye letter from Red Door Cafe

When Red Door Cafe first took over another coffee shop in my neighborhood, I hadn’t realized the owner had changed. One day I walked in and saw that the soup of the day was called, “Egyptian Viagra.” I asked the guy behind the counter what it was. He said, with a wink, “Me!”

It turned out his name is Ahmed and he was the new owner. Over the next few months I realized he was going to make our block magical. Soon people would line up out the door for his breakfast plates (which almost always featured a paper umbrella).

While you waited in line, instead of numbers, he handed you dilapidated doll parts and broken teddy bears so every weekend morning I’d see a line of hungry people holding broken dolls, kind of like a zombie apocalypse.

I’d see him with a different outfit everyday: one day he’s wearing a tutu (he has better legs than anyone I know), another day he’s wearing bright green terry cloth hot shorts. He was always bantering with the line of people waiting on the sidewalk, while playing disco and dance music all morning long.

He would post all kinds of sassy signs at the door: “No egg white yuppies.” “Don’t wear sunglasses or drink Starbucks coffee while you wait in line for my food. I want to see your eyes and I sell coffee.” Every day when I passed by Red Door Cafe I’d always look in the window to see what new missive might have been posted this week.

Today I saw this letter in his window and it just made me smile.

To all my lovely customers and friends: after nearly a decade of incredible laughs and good times with all of you at this magical cafe, I decided to sell the business opportunity to the talented and good hearted new owners. By doing so I can recharge and reinvent myself and my humble vegetarian and vegan cooking.

This has been the BEST chapter of my life. I met you, I fed you, and I fell in love with you. Watching you all moan as you ate my food made my heart dance. Seeing the whole cafe roar in loud laughter at all my silly jokes and good banter made me love life and smile like a new born baby.

I thank you all for your love, support, goodbye cards and flowers that you flooded me with. Because of you I am a much better human today than I ever was. Also, to everyone whom I have remotely offended, I ask you to forgive me because I am by no means perfect. I learn from my mistakes and do my best to grow.

And now to my incredible landlords and to the sweetest happiest and LUCKIEST little shop in San Francisco…thank you for loving me and I promise I love you more.

One heck of a joyous ride.

XOXO,
“D”

Eater wrote about Red Door Cafe’s closing recently, like this one here where Ahmed is holding court in front of the cafe, as usual.


Photo byDavid K/Yelp via Eater
The Yelp review page of the cafe has some great photos of the quirky and fun atmosphere that was only possible because of Ahmed. I’m so grateful to have this little gem in my neighborhood for such a long time, and will miss reading Ahmed’s funny and cranky hand-written signs in the window.

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