Sinkhole repairs and clean-up of water main break impact SF Cow Hollow businesses

SAN FRANCISCO — Businesses in the area of a massive water main break and sinkhole in San Francisco’s Cow Hollow neighborhood are feeling the effects of what looks to be a lengthy repair to the streets and sidewalks.

Union Street Coffee Roastery is facing tough times. On Wednesday afternoon, most of the tables in the cafe sat empty. Employee Rolando Moreno said business has slowed significantly due to the huge sinkhole that opened up at Fillmore and Green Streets after a 16-inch water main broke late Sunday evening, flooding some businesses.

SF sinkhole repairs
Repairs are ongoing at a sinkhole that opened up at Green and Fillmore in San Francisco early Monday morning.


Moreno pointed out the damaged area near the Union Street Coffee Roastery that is making it challenging for customers to access the business. 

“This part over here in this corner is very damaged around here and people cannot come through. It’s very hard to walk, And it’s very hard for us. Customers are very slow right now,” he said.

On Tuesday, two smaller holes appeared at Fillmore and Union streets. One is on the sidewalk next to her shop, and one is in the middle of the street.   

Union Street Coffee Roastery is one of several businesses impacted by the water main break. Work to repair the water main and the sinkhole the break closed several surrounding streets in the process. 

Moreno shared that they are still dealing with the aftermath of the water main break, which caused significant flooding inside their store. 

“We’re okay right now. But a couple of days ago, it was really hard because there was a lot of water that came inside the store. And we spent a lot of time cleaning it up, and there’s a lot of damage,” he explained.

The extent of the damage is visible in the café’s basement, which has been severely affected. Moreno showed the water level reached during the flooding and mentioned that repairs would require a significant investment.

Despite the challenges, loyal customers like Joseph Gastenaga continue to support the cafe. Gastenaga has been a regular visitor and emphasized his commitment to Union Street Coffee Roastery. 

“After the shutdown and gradually since 2020, everything is slowly picking up. And now this is putting another stop to this area, this section,” Gastenaga said. “We’ll support each other. I’ll still come. I’ll climb over the mountains.”

On Wednesday, city officials said it could take up to six weeks to complete the repairs after determining that water, sewer, and gas pipelines as well as sewer laterals on Fillmore between Union and Green Streets will need to be replaced before the street can be fully restored.

The city said it would provide a more specific timeline when it’s available.

In the meantime, Rolando and the café’s staff will continue brewing coffee, hoping for a swift resolution to the situation and the return of normal business operations.