SF Gao Viet Kitchen restaurant hit by vandalism, receives cleanup notice or faces fines

Every day, the Instagram account of Gao Viet Kitchen, a Vietnamese restaurant located in San Mateo, is filled with vibrant photos of delicious dishes such as Com Suon Nuong (pork chop rice) served with a jiggly fried egg on top. , or steaming plates of Cha ca La Vong (turmeric fish with fresh dill).

Each post features the popular restaurant’s smiling and upbeat owner, Viet Nguyen, who adds the finishing touch to each dish with such charisma and positivity that it’s no surprise his food posts reach thousands of followers a day. . Yet one of Nguyen’s last social media posts was less upbeat.

On Tuesday, July 19, Nguyen shared a video showing that his San Francisco restaurant, located in the Inner Sunset neighborhood and slated to open in the next few months, was once again defaced with graffiti. In the video, red, gold and black bubble letters cover the entire facade of the building, including on its windows.

To make matters worse, the post also revealed that Nguyen’s restaurant had been slapped with a notice from the city of San Francisco taped to its wall: “…He said the graffiti must be cleaned up in 30 days or he could cope with $362 though,” as NBC Bay Area first reported.

“This [is] What [a] small business faces trying to start a restaurant in this “beautiful” city of San Francisco. I live here and love the city but wtf…,” Nguyen wrote in the Instagram post. “I’ve painted this building so many times already. Each time I repainted, I received new graffiti the next day. Then there’s the San Francisco Public Works posting warning to remove the graffiti or possibly get a fine or citation and the same cycle continues over and over. What do they want me to do.

But there may be hope for small business owners who repeatedly experience bouts of graffiti.

“Properties that are repeatedly impacted may make what’s called a hardship request,” Rachel Gordon, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Department of Public Works, told NBC Bay Area. “San Francisco Public Works will use our crews or contractor crews working for us to go on a courtesy cut for six months.”

Crispy chicken wings with fresh green vegetables.

Crispy chicken wings with fresh green vegetables.


Wing Y./Yelp

Banh Trang, Vietnamese pizza on rice paper.

Banh Trang, Vietnamese pizza on rice paper.


Adrienne H./Yelp

Bun Cha Co Linh, grilled pork belly served with vermicelli noodles and herbs and a dip on the side.

Bun Cha Co Linh, grilled pork belly served with vermicelli noodles and herbs and a dip on the side.


Adrienne H./Yelp

River prawns at Gao Viet Kitchen in San Mateo.

River prawns at Gao Viet Kitchen in San Mateo.


Wing Y./Yelp

A sampling of Gao Viet Kitchen’s dishes in San Mateo. (Wing Y., Adrienne H./Yelp)

The Department of Public Works told NBC Bay Area on Wednesday that after a two-year hiatus, it had begun to ramp up graffiti code violations, hitting business owners with warnings as early as this week. Public Works also said someone filed a complaint to 311 about Nguyen’s business, specifically, and that it was up to the owners to fix the damage.

An upcoming proposal in the city budget could provide $4 million over the next two years to help business owners like Nguyen get financial assistance to clean up and repaint unwanted graffiti, especially for those who are hit again and again.

If the proposal passes, the city’s graffiti reduction program could begin as early as the fall. Homeowners must report to the city to receive the necessary assistance as soon as the damage is done.

“That’s what I have to deal with every day. I’ve painted the building, I’m coming the next day and I’m picking up all this graffiti…and I’m going to repaint it and guess what’s going to happen? I’ll do f-king graffiti the next day, every time…” Nguyen said from his Instagram video.


Gao Viet Kitchen, 313 South San Mateo Dr., San Mateo. Open Wednesday to Thursday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday to Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (closed for a break from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.); Closed Monday and Tuesday.

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