The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
August 21, 2018
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Get ready for the Afro-Caribbean flavors of Isla Vida Afro-Caribbean Grill. Photo via Facebook.

I’m always happy to hear when farmerbrown’s Jay Foster is up to something, and this time it’s a new project coming to the Fillmore this mid-September: ~ISLA VIDA AFRO-CARIBBEAN GRILL~. This new restaurant is going to be a casual spot, “inspired by the islands, people, and lifestyle of the African diaspora. It’s a warm, vibrant place where flavors are rooted in the culture and prepared with love and craft. Expect wood-fired meats, tostones, Cubanos, great music, and good vibes.” He’s partnering with farmerbrown friends Matthew Washington and Erin Traylor and is excited to be able to open a project in the historic Fillmore District (it’s going to be the former Black Bark BBQ space). The team traveled to New York, Miami, and Cuba for some culinary inspiration for the concept.

There will be 40 seats inside, and 20 outside, and will have a counter/quick service model—Foster says they expect a fair amount of take-out and delivery. They actually want to handle their own delivery in order to keep control over customer service and offer a full circle of hospitality.

They just launched an Indiegogo campaign (please be sure to watch their video) for a final funding push to help add outdoor seating, purchase eco-friendly electric cargo bikes for delivery, and better signage and bar equipment. Please show some support to this black-owned business trying to keep the soul of the Fillmore alive—like they said in an email, even $5 helps.

Hours will be Wed-Sun 11am-8pm, and opening at 10am on the weekends for brunch. 1325 Fillmore St. at Ellis.

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A selection of baked goods from Theorita. Photo via Facebook.

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Now that’s an egg sandwich (on housemade English muffins). At Theorita. Photo via Facebook.

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A look at the gray-toned Mendocino Farms. Photo courtesy Mendocino Farms.

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One of the records for Outer Orbit’s jukebox: Yello’s Pinball Cha Cha. Photo via Facebook.

First it was the Boba Guys opening at 838 Divisadero under Che Fico, and now opening just next door is ~THEORITA~ from the Che Fico team. As I previously mentioned, the name is in homage to pastry chef Angela Pinkerton’s grandmother and is a pie shop and dinette. It’s reportedly opening this Wednesday August 22nd, serving some sick breakfast sandwiches, Danishes, salted pecan sticky buns, and coffee for breakfast, plus burgers, salads, and pie whenever you want it. Breakfast and lunch to start, and dinner is coming next week. The 60-seat space has booths and a kitchen counter. Open Wed-Sun 7am-3pm; dinner will be 5pm-11pm. 838 Divisadero St. at McAllister.

Downtown workers have a new lunchtime spot: ~MENDOCINO FARMS~, which originally launched in LA, but is gradually making its way up north (founders Mario Del Pero and Ellen Chen are NorCal natives). It’s a fast-casual chain primarily known for salads and sandwiches made with quality local ingredients—some menu classics include the “Not So Fried” Mary’s Chicken Sandwich, Mendo’s Original Pork Belly Banh Mi, and the Avocado and Quinoa Superfood Ensalada. There are also breakfast items and coffee (from Verve Coffee Roasters), and in a first for this location, there will be grab-and-go items as well. It’s located in the Merchants Exchange Building, a spacious 5,882 square feet designed by Valerio Architects. There is a variety of seating options, including a patio. Initial hours are Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, with breakfast service launching soon. 465 California St. at Montgomery.

Opening Friday August 24th in Bernal is ~OUTER ORBIT~, a family-friendly and retro-inspired pinball saloon that also serves food and drink. It’s opening in the former Bel from Christian Gainsley and Elisabeth Kohnke, with chef Sam DeCamp (Gibson, Finn Town) leading the Hawaiian-inspired menu. Dishes include musubi with spicy McFarland Springs trout; togarashi tots; a Hawaiian plate lunch; and a kalua pig melt with guava-smoked pork shoulder, wasabi-lime aioli, provolone, and house-pickled shallots, on toasted brioche dipped in au jus. Brunch includes mochi chicken and waffles, classic loco moco, mazemen ramen, and more. There’s also a kids’ menu, so Mom and Dad can enjoy some beer off the 12 taps while everyone plays pinball (there’s wine too).

As for the pins, look for nine machines, from retro to current, plus a vinyl jukebox that also spans many musical eras. Open Wed-Thu 4pm-10pm, Fri 4pm-12am, Sat 11am-12am, Sun 11am-10pm. 3215 Mission St. at Valencia.

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An al pastor taco from Al Pastor Papi. Photo via Facebook.

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The signature spicy ramen from The Story of Ramen. Photo courtesy of The Story of Ramen.

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Spicy ramen with bone marrow at Ushi Taro. Photo courtesy of Ushi Taro on Yelp.

Some quick notes for you:

It’s tough to find some true al pastor tacos in SF with meat shaved off the trompo, but that’s what Miguel Escobedo (previously Papalote—he sold his portion of the business back to his brother) is doing at Al Pastor Papi. Escobedo’s new biz has opened in a hot pink trailer parked at the new Parklab Gardens in Mission Bay, next door to the Warriors arena. I’ve been following his al pastor obsession on Instagram after reading a preview of his tacos and look forward to checking out his Mexico City-inspired tacos (he’s using tortillas from La Palma and also offering carne asada, pollo asado, and a vegan option too). Hours are Tue-Fri 11am-3pm and 5pm-9pm, Sat-Sun 11am-9pm.

Here’s more on Parklab Gardens: it’s operated by Carlos Muela of food truck parks SF Spark Social and StrEat Food, and also plays home to Hookt doughnuts (from the Frozen Kuhsterd folks), rotating trucks, and there’s a bar serving beer and wine. A main feature is Stagecoach Greens, a high-tech, outdoor miniature golf course from Esther Stearns and Jan Cohn Stearns, with 18 holes inspired by cycles of boom and bust around the West. There’s also an app to keep score and book tee times (open daily). 1379 4th St. at Mission Bay Blvd.

A couple of months ago, I mentioned ~THE STORY OF RAMEN~ coming to the Mission, a weekday ramen shop that’s also a classroom at night. Founder Manville Chan says they are soft-opening for lunch this Friday August 24th, 11am-2pm. You can take a look at the menu, which includes a couple of kinds of tonkotsu, vegetarian, and chicken broth selections, plus add-ons and gyoza. For weekday evenings and weekends, their restaurant accepts advanced reservations for their educational and interactive ramen experience, when diners participate in making noodles and learning more about ramen and the broth. In the coming weeks, hours will be Mon-Fri 11am-2pm, closed on Labor Day. 3231 24th St. at Mission.

Since we’re talking ramen, there’s a place that has caught my eye: it’s called ~USHI TARO~ in the Inner Sunset, and they make a bone marrow ramen. With summer black truffles. Whoa, hearty—perfect for Fogust. It ends up their focus is on ramen with beef bone broth (shio, spicy, and paitan), and they also make oxtail and tomato ramen, and tsukemen. Other sides are available as well. I’ll report back! Open Mon-Fri 5pm-9:30pm, Sat-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm and 5pm-9:30pm. 1382 9th Ave. at Judah, 415-702-6014.

And now we’re taking a break from the beef: opening this Friday August 24th is ~NEXT LEVEL BURGER~, a plant-based burger joint in Potrero Hill. The menu includes plant-based burgers, hot dogs, salads, sandwiches, sides, and dairy-free (soy- or coconut-based) shakes. 450 Rhode Island St. at 17th St.

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The cheerful exterior of Stones Throw. Photo courtesy of Stones Throw.

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The dining room at Trestle. Photo courtesy Trestle.

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Don’t miss the swell cocktails at Nico from Simone Mims. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

A couple of quick updates, first in the Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group: chef Robin Song has moved on from Gibson (as I previously reported) and is now chef de cuisine of ~STONES THROW~ in Russian Hill. He’s collaborating with group executive chef Jason Halverson on updating the menu, come by for some of his summer dishes.

Meanwhile, over at ~TRESTLE~ in North Beach, the new executive chef is Claudio Dell’Anno (previously Belgium’s Ciccio, Le Gavroche in London, De Librije in the Netherlands, and LA’s Bestia and Papilles). Look for some updates to the restaurant’s popular $38 three-course prix-fixe menu.

Over at ~ASTER~, chef Brett Cooper has transitioned the four-course menu to a seven-course menu, now $135, with an optional sommelier pairing for an additional $79. I ran into Brett in the neighborhood, and he said guests were happy to have an upgraded tasting experience. And with summer produce in full swing, you can be sure his vegetable-driven menu is really shining right now.

Have you had a chance to check out the new ~NICO~ location in North Beach yet? It’s really a beaut, and they just launched their new six-course chef’s choice menu ($85) in case you want an excuse to return! They have also added a dish that is going to remain a constant: pithivier, with savory layers of aged duck, duck stuffing, and foie gras wrapped in puff pastry and served with seasonal purée and greens. (Lipitor supplement is up to you.) You can also opt for wine pairings from GM and wine director Gideon Levine for $75, and do not miss a cocktail from bar manager Simone Mims, they are magic.

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A peek at the counter (during an evening preview party). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Sugar eggs puffs from Shanghai Dumpling King. Yelp photo by Christine C.

Man, these are some lousy pieces of news about places closing. Sorry to report that FiDi’s ~CITY COUNTER~ is no longer open and serving their luncheonette-inspired menu. We’ll have to see what’s next for owner Harper Matheson and talented chef Sean Thomas. 115 Sansome St. at Bush.

A major bummer is ~SHANGHAI DUMPLING KING~, home of the amazing sugar egg puffs (and affordable massive plates of steamed dumplings), has closed. According to a post on Yelp, the 696 Monterey Blvd. location remains open, and “an employee mentioned that his boss is retiring and wanted to close that [SF] location down because that location is too small and couldn’t keep up with the high demand of to-go orders.” (I have been guilty of adding to the dumpling delivery overload.)

Hoodline reports the new owner is Mary Feng Shimei, who will be reopening it as Bao Bao Noodle Bar in September. She will reportedly continue to offer the same dumplings at the same price. No word on the puffs. Sigh. That place was always a little pocket of no-fuss and vintage charm. 3319 Balboa St. at 34th St.

Since we’re talking bao, Hoodline also reported the brick-and-mortar Tenderloin location of ~THE CHAIRMAN~ has closed. The truck continues, and they may be seeking a new location. 670 Larkin St. at Ellis.

Due to close at the end of September will be ~HOFFMANN’S GRILL & ROTISSERIE~ in the Mission. An impending soft-story retrofit of the building was going to necessitate a yearlong closure, which chef-owner Karen Hoffmann and partner Chandra Asken didn’t want to weather. There’s a new business coming in, however, called Plain Jane, and according to the ABC beer and wine license transfer, it looks like the owners are behind the breakfast place Mymy cafe on California St. in Polk Gulch. 1000 Guerrero St. at 22nd St.

August 8, 2018
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Beer Lands is a happy place. Photo: Tom Tomkinson.

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Big Chef Tom’s Banh Baby, Banh burger, from last year’s Outside Lands. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Rich Table’s porcini doughnuts with raclette cheese. Photo courtesy of Outside Lands.

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Wise Sons pastrami breakfast burrito. Photo courtesy of Wise Sons.

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Dabba bowl with mango lassi. Photo courtesy of Dabba.

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The Big Easy at Powder, with Vietnamese coffee snow, toasted almonds, chocolate sauce, and sweet milk glaze. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Fanny packs will be the way to go this year, so check out the mymilligram SF “summer” festival party pack at mymilligram.com. Photo: © mymilligram.

Outside Lands is coming up this weekend, and I can’t believe I’m actually seeing some sun in the forecast for Friday. I’ll believe it when I see it (and feel impelled to have an iced drink in my hand). But that’s what’ll be nice about Cocktail Magic: even if you’re hot or cold, a drink from Rye, Benjamin Cooper, The Beehive, Blackbird, Horsefeather, or True Laurel will not be a wrong answer (especially with Poolside supplying music).

As far as the vittles on offer, there are always some festival classic dishes to try, but the lineup of food and restaurant partners this year is especially hunger-inducing. Here are the top spots I have on my munchies wish list:

Feeling a little blergh from the night before? Wise Sons already have a fan club for their pastrami fries, but this year, they’re also making a pastrami breakfast burrito. Yes, with cheese. It should bring you life!

I’m felice to see A16 will be there, rocking their mobile pizza oven, and they’ll be making their Vesuvio pizza, with spicy soppressata, garlic, smoked mozzarella, chile, and tomato sauce. It’ll be a flavor blast. Har.

Did someone say dumplings? Dumpling Time will be slinging their steamed char siu pork belly bao and shrimp and pork siu mai dumplings. Mmmmmm, dumplings.

Have you ever had a tamale from Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas? You should fix that. They’re fantastico.

I know some fellow fans of Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers are sad they closed up shop in SoMa, but they are still at OSL this year with their pork belly burgers, surprise!

I’m just here to tell you from firsthand experience that the glazed BBQ pork ribs from Cassava will make you happy you’re a carnivore. And my curiosity is piqued with their sweet potato and rosemary cornbread. Must investigate.

Man oh man, Fiorella is making hand-held fennel sausage calzones, which sound like the Hot Pockets of my dreams. There’s one with broccoli rabe, garlic, mozzarella, and provolone, and another with pepperoni, mozz, and ricotta. And then there’s fennel sausage, hot peppers, and smoked mozzarella—I just hope you aren’t drinking beer and standing close to people with that one. Also: there are arancini (rice balls) and cannoli. Madonn’!

Need something portable and tasty? Hit up Peaches Patties, the first time Jamaican patties will be at OSL (they’re like a meat-filled Hot Pocket). Take your pick of chicken curry or beef.

You high? Time for some chorizo fries from Son’s Addition. They’re using their housemade Oaxacan-style chorizo that they turn into a gravy, topped with cotija cheese, green onions, and cilantro. Diggity.

Speaking of high, when I was at the Emerald Cup in Sonoma last fall, I remember enjoying my grilled cheese from The Farmer’s Wife immensely. They’re making all kinds of melts at OSL this year, from pole-caught albacore tuna melts to The Works: lamb merguez, heirloom tomato, avocado, chimichurri, and turmeric-carrot sauerkraut.

You cold? Khao soi spicy tamarind and pork egg drop noodle soup from Hawker Fare will warm you right up.

Grilled cheese and tomato soup from Tartine Manufactory, where do I sign?

Get crabby! Be sure to visit Fine & Rare, who are making crab rolls. And fried shrimp. And BLTs, because they’re covering all the bases.

You’ll find all kinds of excellent pairings at Wine Lands (with 41 Northern California wineries to choose from) and Beer Lands (with 30 Northern California breweries), check out the always-stellar lineup of partners. A visit to Cheese Lands, also a good call.

Time for something sweet?

Check out the FK Frozen Custard bars, and Powder will be offering their Taiwanese-style shaved snows (if they’re serving their Vietnamese coffee snow, get it). And then the crew at Humphry Slocombe are serving bourbon Coke floats (yes) and cold-brew floats. And Elvis (The Fat Years) sundaes!

Feel like something caffeinated? The Boba Guys will be pouring a variety of their milk teas (classic and jasmine, hot or cold) plus mango rice milk. Steap Tea Bar is slanging matcha lattes with boba. And Dabba will have nitro chai.

Want more food and entertainment? Swing by Gastromagic this year, for stage visits from Eddie Huang, Bill Nye dropping some science with Matty Matheson, a sure-to-be-sassy segment with Tiffani Faison and Shangela (from RuPaul’s Drag Race), a rare visit from Shake Shack (a custom custard), and, of course, Beignets and Bounce, this year with Katey Red, Big Freedia’s bounce bestie.

You’ll also want to pay a visit to this year’s Grass Lands: even though on-site cannabis consumption and sales aren’t allowed, there will be education, experiences, and (unmedicated) food from Cannaisseur Series, featuring recipes from the upcoming Edibles: Small Bites for the Modern Cannabis Kitchen cookbook from Cannaisseur’s Coreen Carroll and Steph Hua of Mellows. They’ll be serving dishes like beet hummus and five-spice duck meatball sliders and ginger floats. Say high.

Also, did you know that you aren’t allowed to bring in backpacks or totes this year unless they are clear? Fanny packs, however, are allowed (up to 6” x 8”) and don’t have to be clear/plastic. Over at mymilligram, I launched an SF “summer” festival party pack! And look at that, it happens to include low-dose and festival-ready cannabis goods in a mighty cute neon fanny pack.

If you just want to get a fanny pack without the cannabis goodies, I’m selling them here, and shipping nationwide, so mwah. Have fun out there!

July 24, 2018
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Chefs Laurent Gras and Joshua Skenes. Instagram photo via @jskenes.

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Chilled squid ink noodles at Octavia. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Big news at ~SAISON~: chef-owner Joshua Skenes has brought on famed chef Laurent Gras (Chicago’s L20), and I remember being stunned by his cooking when he was at Fifth Floor back in, oh, 2003. Welcome back to SF, chef. Skenes is positioning the hire as a collaboration at Saison, and they could probaby use a fellow three-star chef in the group as they ramp up upcoming projects (Angler, Angler Los Angeles, and of course other things in the works).

Here’s a fun tie-in: when Gras departed Fifth Floor, it was Melissa Perello who took the helm, and she’s the focus of this next bit of news: Perello is expanding to Los Angeles with a new project. She’s going to be opening a 4,200-square-foot restaurant in Row DTLA in spring 2019 (it’s also where Tartine Manufactory is opening a location).

Look for something that is stylistically similar to Frances and Octavia, naturally, and Perello adds: “I was looking to expand on the ethos of our San Francisco restaurants while also exploring some new features such as cooking with live fire, a full bar, lunch service, and outdoor seating. With this new project, we’re able to check a lot of things off the wish list for an ideal space and type of experience we plan to offer.” It will be designed by Studio Unltd.

A couple other moves: after the wheels came off the bus at ~TOSCA CAFE~, former chef Josh Even is now at Mark Nevin and April Sack’s ~TOFINO WINES~, designing the wine shop and bar’s snack menu. It’s offering the break he needed while he plans his next move. 2696 Geary Blvd. at Masonic. [Via The Chronicle.]

The new chef de cuisine at ~ABSINTHE~ (which just turned 20) is Joel Ehrlich, previously at Bellota, and he is working with Absinthe Group executive chef Ryan McIlwraith on the menu (there are already some new additions). Meanwhile, Robert Leva (previously Redd) is taking over as cdc at ~BELLOTA~.

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A bowl from a past pop-up with the Yo También ladies. Photo via Instagram.

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The nasi goreng with fried chicken at Cracked & Battered. Yelp photo by Michael B.

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Garlic mac and cheese topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos at Mac’d. Yelp photo by Sandy B..

There were a bunch of openings while I was away, so let’s dive in. First up, the charming ~YO TAMBIÉN CANTINA~ has opened in the Inner Sunset, in the former Wooly Pig. I mentioned this project back in April, from couple Isabella Bertorelli and Kenzie Benesh. Their daytime menu is focused on Venezuelan-Californian tropical food, from sandwiches (think pulled pork, spicy plantains, güasacaca sauce, and salsa picante inside an arepa) to bowls, plus baked goods and breakfast items. They are dedicated to seasonal, organic, and local produce (they are tight with Full Belly Farm) and are using Verve Coffee. Hours for now are Mon-Fri 7am-3pm and Sat-Sun 8am-3pm. Love their picante style on Instagram, check ‘em out. 205 Hugo St. at 3rd Ave.

Speaking of the ~WOOLY PIG CAFE~, owner Lieng Souryavong has opened in her new Dogpatch location, and the namesake pork belly sandwich is back, along with breakfast bagels, tasty sandwiches, soups, and a poke bowl, with coffee service provided by Andytown. Open daily 8am-4pm. 2295 3rd St. at 20th St., 415-592-8015. [Via Hoodline.]

A tablehopper reader (thanks, bread man!) let me know about a brunch place called ~CRACKED & BATTERED~ that was coming to the former Aperto, and it has finally opened. The menu has a variety of international breakfast dishes, from shakshuka to nasi goreng, plus fried chicken and waffles, and more. Check out the menu on Yelp here. Open daily 8:30am-2pm. 1434 18th St. at Connecticut, 415-926-8645.

The former Dakshin on Polk has been replaced with another location of the popular ~MAC’D~ (the original is in the Marina). Open Sun-Thu 11am-9pm and Fri-Sat 11am-2am—that’s right, you can have buffalo cheese sauce and hot Cheetos on your mac and cheese while in a drunken stupor late on a Friday night. 2127 Polk St. at Broadway.

A second location of SoMa’s Mediterranean ~SAJJ~ has opened in the former Brindisi Cucina di Mare on Belden. You can come by for the same bowls and wraps and pita sandwiches, and you can order ahead of time if you’re so busy like that. Open Mon-Fri 11am-3pm. 88 Belden Pl. at Pine.

And another location of the frozen yogurt and rice pudding place that swirls in toppings, ~LOVING CUP~, has opened on Divis. You can come by Mon-Sat 11:30am-9:30pm. 608 Divisadero St. at Hayes.

When ~KATIA’S RUSSIAN TEA ROOM~ closed, I mentioned her daughter Helen Simmons was going to be taking it over, and she has launched the new café concept with her husband, ~TASTEBUDS~. Hoodline has additional details about the offering, which includes a New Orleans-inspired menu (including shrimp and grits), plus some classics like pancakes and French toast. Look for a happy hour starting at 4pm, with craft beers and wines as well. Breakfast is served until 2pm. Hours: daily 7am-7pm. 600 5th Ave. at Balboa.

Don’t worry, SF’s beloved ~OLD JERUSALEM~ hasn’t closed, it just moved a few doors down to a newer and bigger location, now with a back patio and twice the room. Mousakhan alfresco, in effect. 2966 Mission St. at 25th St.

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A rendering of the upcoming Udon Time. Courtesy of Omakase Restaurant Group.

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A rendering of the upcoming Niku Steak House. Courtesy of Omakase Restaurant Group.

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Breadbelly’s beef bun. Instagram photo via @breadbellysf.

Details have emerged about the Omakase Restaurant Group’s upcoming projects coming to One Henry Adams this fall, let’s review.

~UDON TIME~ will be a fast-casual udon shop, featuring housemade noodles and customizable toppings under the direction of Dumpling Time’s chef Edgar Agbayani, and is due to open first, followed by ~THE BUTCHER SHOP BY NIKU STEAK HOUSE~, a certified wagyu butcher shop that will be SF’s only Kobe beef retailer (selling A5 Kobe beef), and also offer domestically farmed beef, pork, and lamb.

And then there’s ~NIKU STEAK HOUSE~, a 60-seat restaurant featuring kappo-style counter dining with a custom-made binchotan charcoal grill and a wood-fired yakiniku grill in the center of the restaurant. Chef Steve Brown from Cosecha SD in San Diego will be the chef, and Guy Crims is the head butcher for both the steak house and the butcher shop. All three businesses will have a separate entrance and their own distinct space. I’ll keep you posted.

I’ve been hungrily watching the ~BREADBELLY~ “bake sale” pop-ups on Instagram, offering some incredible Flilipino baked goods like ensaymada and Malaysian kaya toast, plus char siu sandwiches, and rotating kinds of Asian baked tasty goodness. Great news: according to an ABC license transfer, Breadbelly is opening in the former Heartbaker on Clement, and according to a post on Instagram, they hope to open this fall. I’ll follow up with more in-depth details soon! 1408 Clement St. at 15th Ave.

Also opening this fall will be a location of the East Coast’s ~LUKE’S LOBSTER~, opening in SoMa, their first West Coast location (there are 10 in the U.S.). This Maine-based seafood company was founded by third-generation lobsterman Luke Holden and partner Ben Conniff, and is committed to sustainable sourcing practices. They’ll be serving lobster rolls, crab rolls, shrimp rolls, clam chowder, lobster bisque, salads, poppy seed slaw, and exclusive items from local partners. Stand by for more soon. 92 2nd St. at Mission.

And a quick switcheroo: according to tablehopper reader Thomas L., the Burmese ~RANGOON RUBY~ has vacated their location at 1608 Polk and have reopened in the former Sprig meal assembly location at 500 Van Ness (they were also cited recently for underpaying hundreds of workers). Taking over their Polk address will be a second location of ~ELLA’S AMERICAN KITCHEN~, the famed brunch spot on Presidio. Will let you know when I hear back on timing. UPDATE: ~ELLA’S ON POLK ST.~ has a target opening date of Wednesday August 1st, with seating for 100 people. The hours of operation will be daily 7am-9:30pm.

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The bar at Crystal Jade. Photo by Drew Altizer.

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The view at Greens. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Some closures to report, including the multi-million dollar ~CRYSTAL JADE~, after four years at Embarcadero Four. No word who the new owners are just yet, but there is a taker for the 20,000-square-foot space. A couple years ago, there was a fun rumor that Yank Sing was taking over, but that didn’t manifest. Maybe now? [scratching chin] Four Embarcadero Center, Drumm St. at Sacramento.

Over in Cow Hollow, ~CONTRADA~ has closed after two years. Bummer. SF, you are so tough on restaurants right now. 2136 Union St. at Webster. [Via Hoodline.]

Two years after opening ~DIP~ in North Beach, Mahmoud “Mo” Khossoussi of Maykadeh has closed his French dip spot. 1318 Grant Ave. at Vallejo. [Via Eater.]

Poor ~GREENS~ suffered a kitchen fire, and is closed through July for repairs. Stand by for a reopening date. [Via Eater.]

There are some problems at Mission’s old-timer ~LA VICTORIA BAKERY~ (67 years and counting)—the Examiner reports sub-tenants (including Sour Flour) were evicted and given 30-day notices of “termination of tenancy”—read the article for details about the complicated story. The building was put up for sale, but it’s not clear if there is a buyer, or what the fate of the bakery is. 2937 24th St. at Alabama. [Via Eater.]

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The main dining room at the stylish Farmhouse Oakland. Photo courtesy of Farmhouse Oakland.

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Fun florals at the new Farmhouse Oakland. Photo courtesy of Farmhouse Oakland.

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The sunny bar at Penrose, perfect for brunch and a cocktail. Photo via Facebook.

Jack London Square continues to percolate with new projects (Dyafa, Belcampo), and now includes the opening of ~FARMHOUSE OAKLAND~ in the former Jack’s Oyster Bar & Fish House from the team behind SF’s popular Farmhouse Kitchen and Montclair’s Daughter Thai. Today (July 24th) is the soft opening, with August 1st as the fully operational targeted date.

Chef and owner Kasem “Pop” Saengsawang (with co-owner and wife Iing Chatterjee) offer a menu that spans Thai street food to family recipes, from curries to noodles and salads, made with quality ingredients and plenty o’ spice! There’s also a full bar. There are seats for 65 inside, including bar seating, and 40 outside on the tropical patio (pooches are welcome). Lunch Mon-Fri 11am-2:30pm, dinner Mon-Thu 5pm-9pm, Fri 5pm-10pm, and Sat 12pm-10pm and Sun 12pm-9pm. 336 Water St., Jack London Square, Oakland.

There’s another Charlie Hallowell restaurant I will be able to return to, now that he has also sold ~PENROSE~ to a former Pizzaiolo employee (and currently the chef of Flora in Oakland), Rico Rivera. Once a replacement is found at Flora, Rivera will shift his focus to Penrose, and a name change is likely, although the seasonal Cali style will remain the same.

The Chronicle also reports Hallowell has split from his business partner, Richard Weinstein. More: “Weinstein, who was also accused of unwanted touching and lewd remarks by 10 employees in the course of The Chronicle’s investigations, resigned his interest in Hallowell’s remaining restaurant, Pizzaiolo, on June 1. However, Weinstein will remain landlord of the properties where Boot & Shoe Oakland and Penrose are located; he also owns the building that houses Flora.” 3311 Grand Ave. at Elwood, Oakland.

I wanted to make sure you saw this heart-warming story in Nosh about ~TAMMY’S CHICKEN IN WAFFLES~ in Berkeley, a trans-owned business that has quite the charming story behind it. I love people. You can go by for some next-level, creative waffles daily 11am-4pm. 2466 Bancroft Way at Sather, Berkeley.

More heart-warming news (because we need it): after suffering a tragic fire just before their 50th anniversary (awful!), ~KC’S BBQ~ has risen like a smoky phoenix from the ashes in a new location. Come by for some BBQ and a beer on the patio and support this family-owned business in their new digs. 1235 San Pablo Ave. at Harrison, Berkeley. [Via Nosh.]

While I was away, I was sorry to hear Preeti Mistry and Ann Nadeau have closed ~NAVI KITCHEN~ in Emeryville—you can read their farewell note on Instagram. We’ll have to see what’s next for the space, and the duo.