What’s next for America’s emptiest downtown

For the optimized office worker looking for the trifecta of fast, healthy and filling, few meals are more efficient than a pile of greens and some tofu or grilled chicken tossed dressing. Unfortunately, salad aspirations are often thwarted by the difficulty of making a really good one. The ingredients come from every corner of the supermarket, and if they are not combined in the right proportions, or if they are made too far in advance, every bite is an effort.

Ms. Silverglide, 42, the chief executive of Mixt, tried to solve that problem with a setup in which customers lowered a counter and called out ingredients like grilled chicken and roasted Brussels sprouts while stipulating exactly the amount of dressing they wanted. She said naysayers at the time told her there weren’t enough salad diners to support her company, or that only women would eat there.

Instead, the lines stretched across the block, and Yelp users gave the business three and a half stars. People like Mike Ghaffary discovered a healthier kind of dining at a restaurant where customization was encouraged.

Mr. Ghaffary was a former Yelp executive and serial optimizer who went to Mixt in search of high-protein, low-sugar vegan food. The salad combined lentils, chickpeas and quinoa with greens and a jalapeño cilantro vinaigrette.

Over the next few years, as Yelp grew and went public, Mixt thrived alongside it, adding a dozen locations in downtown and other neighborhoods across the city. Mr. Ghaffary became something of a mixed evangelist (“He was very proud of the bean salad he came up with,” Mr. Stoppelman said) and ordered his vegetable mix so often that the salad went add to the permanent menu and it still remains on the board. . under the name “Be Well”.

In the city, however, welfare was taking a hit.

The tech companies that San Francisco had tried so hard to attract were now the target of regular protests, including some by protesters who in late 2013 began blocking commuter buses from Google and other companies to show their anger over rents which are now at a price. average of $3,600. This was an opening gesture in what would become an ongoing debate about gentrification and the effect of tech companies on the city, a debate that developed into discussions about homeless encampments, votes to stop development and many more protests.

All of this was rooted in the cost of housing, which had been expensive for decades but had turned into a disaster. A local government that had all but asked tech companies to locate there was now pushing a series of new taxes to deal with its affordable housing and homelessness problems. In 2017, the year the Salesforce Tower eclipsed the Transamerica Pyramid as the city’s tallest skyscraper, Mr. Florida published another book. It was called “The new urban crisis”.

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