Yuka Ioroi, Owner General Manager.
Yuka Ioroi was born in Shizuoka, Japan in 1979 and moved to Los Angeles in 1995 during her high school years. She graduated from American InterContinental University with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship in 2003. She credits her Japanese hospitality insights to her early childhood education in Japanese school systems.
At her first restaurant management job, Ioroi met her future husband, Toliao, at Tiger Lily in Los Feliz, Los Angeles in 2006, an Asian Fusion California cuisine restaurant where she worked as a floor manager and a bartender. While working at Tiger Lily, Ioroi bartended at catering events while managing some of them, consulted for a hip sushi restaurant in Silver Lake for rebranding and new staff training, and managed the bar for a 10,000 sq ft nightclub. Having multiple food & beverage jobs at once in various neighborhoods in the whole Los Angeles County, she was exposed to different business practices and kept mental notes of which worked and which did not.
Upon moving to San Francisco in 2008, Ioroi started at Poleng Lounge learning fresh ingredients focused cocktails under San Francisco Chronicle Rising Star Chef Tim Luym and famed restaurateur/promoter Desi Danganan. Planning to learn as much as possible, she sought out internhip opportunities and worked with Full Plate Consulting Company under long time Bay Area restaurant consultant Joan Simon, learning marketing through media and food writers. She gained an access of the list of notable food writers and blogs at that time, which helped to get the word out for Cassava’s initial opening.
Ioroi then moved on to Starbelly in 2009 learning how to run a creative low alcohol-by-volume cocktail program under a wine and beer only license. She also learned the importance of menu price points and labor management in the environment created by Adriano Paganini, one of the most successful restaurateurs in San Francisco today. While working at Starbelly’s bar she had built her a following who became an enthusiastic clientele for Cassava and they still visit to this date.
Seeing the need for increased traffic along the whole Balboa corridor after opening Cassava in 2012, Ioroi started looking for a way to establish a merchants associations for the street. She found the best partner and organizing mentor in Marjan Philhour in 2015, a long time political consultant and a candidate for District 1 Supervisor race in 2016. Together they founded the Balboa Village Merchants Associations (BVMA) helming Philhour as its president. Ioroi has built the entire online presence of the BVMA, including interactive website that lists all neighborhood businesses’ music events, movie showtimes, classes, and social media accounts.
The corridor’s largest event, Balbooa Fright Fest Halloween festival, has grown from 10 participating merchants in its initial year of 2015 to 25 in 2017. The Council District of Merchants Association of San Francisco (SF CDMA ) has noticed the vibrance and engagement of the BVMA and recognized Ioroi, now serving as the Director of Marketing and Business Development. Together with the SF CDMA, Ioroi successfully launched the Merchants’ Walk in 2017 with Airbnb, and she currently serves on the board of CDMA SF serving as its Secretary for 2018.