The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
October 22, 2019

The previous dining room at Lavash. Photo: Maloos Khonsarian, courtesy of Lavash.

I love stories of phoenixes rising from the ashes! After being closed from a fire back on January 24th, 2018, beloved neighborhood restaurant ~LAVASH~ is returning this November. This family-run business, with parents Nazila and Saeed Talai and their son Kaivon, has been working hard to reopen, dealing with a long list of the usual issues, from permits to construction and more, which can be especially burdensome for a small business that doesn’t have any investors. The fire was between the walls in the kitchen, which caused a lot of damage, but fortunately no one was injured.

Nazila and Saeed came to the United States from Iran in the late 1970s after the Iranian Revolution, and started selling flowers on the street, and eventually opened a flower shop. They have had many businesses over the past 30 years—this enterprising couple even owned an award-winning taqueria at one point! Lavash—which they opened in 2008—is known for their soulful Iranian cooking, featuring dishes and family recipes from home, with quality and fresh ingredients and an eye on health (Saeed, a self-taught chef, was also an athlete). Lavash favorites include their koobideh (skewers of mixed ground beef and lamb), jeweled rice, and fesenjan (chicken with ground walnut and sour-sweet pomegranate sauce), and they will all be returning, plus some new specials.

Lavash was also adored for its warm hospitality and welcoming dining room, which had a cozy, residential style (and was full of fresh flowers). The space has been renovated, and the dining room will have more space, and the kitchen got an upgrade, too.

I’ll let you know when they set their opening date! They’re going to start with dinner first, and hope to add lunch soon. You can follow their new Instagram account at @lavashsf for updates. Welcome back, Lavash! 511 Irving St. at 6th Ave.


The magical view from the Empress of China (never mind what else may be happening in the bar…). Photo: ©

Back in 2014, it was a sad day when it was announced the Chinatown icon ~EMPRESS OF CHINA~ was closing, and offices were going to take over the space. Seriously, noooo. Things were looking up when news came out that City View Restaurant was planning to open in the ground floor.

And now the latest is that Michelin-starred chef Ho Chee Boon (of Hakkasan fame, although this is a solo project) and Asianova Hospitality Group, Inc. are opening a 7,500-square-foot restaurant on the top floor, ~EMPRESS BY BOON~. So happy to hear we aren’t losing access to that jaw-dropping, gorgeous view, and since the Empress of China was known for its fine dining, it’s a nice continuation of that legacy. Look for modern Cantonese cuisine, featuring organic produce grown on the restaurant’s farm in Gilroy, plus some “unexpected ingredients.” Pastry chef Rory MacDonald (Dessert Bar, Gordon Ramsey, Hakkasan) is also on the team.

Look for fine tableware by Ruyi, a contemporary Chinese tableware line from French brand Legle. Bring on some Chinese banquet elegance. UK-based design studio Atelier LLYS is behind the design, which will feature modern elements alongside restored features from the previous Empress, including the beautifully carved panels and the original wooden pergola, which will house the new bar lounge. Yes! They are gunning for an opening in early 2020, we’ll have to see how that timing goes. 838 Grant St. at Clay.


A killer spread at Prubechu. Instagram photo via @restaurantprubechu.

Some quick updates for you, I’ll share more details when they open: ~PRUBECHU~ is going to reopen in the Mission in the former Commonwealth space. (Not sure how they’re going to manage that jacked-up rent that reportedly squeezed Commonwealth out?) They’re currently renovating and plan to be open for the holidays, stand by for news on upcoming pig feasts. 2224 Mission St. at 18th St. 

Opening November 7th is ~SEÑOR SISIG~’s first brick and mortar, also in the Mission. The popular food truck from co-founders Evan Kidera (CEO) and Gil Payumo (chief culinary officer) are opening in the former The Blue Fig space, and will be adding some new dishes like nacho-rrones and the beastmode Sisig Crunchwrap (pork, chicken, or tofu on a crispy tostada with monterey jack cheese, pico de gallo, lettuce, sour cream, and guacamole, all wrapped in a griddled tortilla and served with a side of spicy nacho cheese). I’ll share more details at opening-time. 990 Valencia St. at 21st St.


Flora in Oakland. Photo via Facebook.

Wow, sorry to hear that ~FLORA~ in Uptown Oakland is closing on November 9th (along with sister bar Fauna), after 13 years in business. Owner Thomas Schnetz cited personal reasons for closing. Flora was a trailblazer in the cocktail scene, and was always a great place to visit before a show at the Fox. Thanks for all the meals and moments at your fabulous bar. No word on chef Rebecca Boice’s plans—will let you know once I hear back. I was hoping to make it for one of her Book Club Dinners—there’s actually the last one this Thursday October 24th, highlighting Joan Didion’s Slouching Toward Bethlehem (good one!).

Fortunately, there is a taker of the gorg Art Deco restaurant: “former Flora bar manager Christ Aivaliotis, now co-owner of the tiki-inspired downtown Oakland bar the Kon-Tiki, will take over, reopening with new businesses in the space this spring.” 1900 Telegraph Ave. at 19th St., Oakland. [Via Eater.]

A reader wrote in to let me know old-timer ~HOWARD’S CAFE~ in the Inner Sunset has closed (the diner was almost 60!). My tipster said word is that it will reopen as a dumpling place. You can read more in this piece in Hoodline. 1309 9th Ave. at Irving.


The interior of Boavida in the Outer Sunset. Photo courtesy of Boavida.

I’d been tracking the opening of ~BOAVIDA CAFE & MARKET~ for a bit, and after taking their first baby steps, it’s open and running more smoothly. This Ocean Beach café in the former Streamline is from Andrea de Francisco, who previously opened the Portuguese-focused Cafe St. Jorge in Bernal (she also has the record shop down the street with her husband). She envisions Boavida as a community hub: a café, wine bar (coming soon), and curated market. 

They’re serving healthy California-style food with a European twist, offering a menu of smoothies, breakfast bowls, a breakfast roll, as well as a couple salads and sandwiches, and lots of grab and go for those heading to the beach. Look for house-baked pastries, including traditional Portuguese items (pastéis de nata!), as well as specialty vegan items. Coffee service features Craftsman Coffee from Pacifica. You’ll also find some items like fresh baguettes, bananas, and more so neighbors can grab something for home—and they hope to be able to serve wine and beer to go as well. Open Wed-Sun 7am-3pm for now. 3560 Taraval St. at 46th Ave.

Over in Bayview, ~BLOOMSTOCK~ has taken over the former Trouble Coffee (and then Greaser Coffee) location. Owner Ross Rayala is serving waffles and coffee, and check out the 420-friendly artwork in the space (some of it is his own). Open Tue-Sat 7am-3pm. 1730 Yosemite Ave. at Lane. [Via Eater]

Fans of açaí-and-fruit bowls and chia pudding will want to check out ~PALMETTO SUPERFOODS~ in the Inner Richmond. Here’s their menu of options. You can read the backstory of how this concept came to be. Open Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat-Sun 8am-6pm. 202 Clement St. at 3rd Ave.


Wayfare Tavern’s famed buttermilk fried chicken is available with waffles for brunch. Photo courtesy of Wayfare Tavern.

Looking for a new brunch spot? ~WAYFARE TAVERN~ recently started offering weekend brunch. Executive chef Scott Quinn’s menu includes challah French toast, bananas Foster pancakes, and, of course, their famed buttermilk fried chicken and waffles. You can also have some healthier picks, like a three-egg omelette or a vitality bowl. There’s a full bar, which means you can go for a Bloody Mary with house-infused bacon vodka or a peach spritzer and more. Brunch is Sat-Sun 11am-3pm.  

Can’t afford an Imperial wagyu tomahawk for dinner at the counter at ~NIKU STEAKHOUSE~? You’re not alone. But you will want to check out their new special evening menu in the bar area, available nightly from 4:30pm-6pm. There’s the Niku burger ($15), made with a blend of 50 percent domestic Imperial wagyu and 50 percent Japanese A5 wagyu; a half-dozen oysters for $10 (hello!), and other bites.

Find happy hour pricing on select glasses of beer and wine, plus a rotating featured cocktail, currently a Toki Highball ($10). And every Thursday is a dedicated Whisky Social, with brand reps sharing distillery stories and offering special pours and cocktails. This month is with Bruichladdich (with Michter’s in November). 61 Division St. at Rhode Island.

This weekend (Fri-Sat Octover 25th-26th), chef Heena Patel of ~BESHARAM~ is celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights, with a multi-course, family-style dinner menu. The four-course menu is completely vegetarian (with vegan and dairy/gluten-free substitutions available), $50 per person (two appetizers, salad, two mains served with rice and paratha, and dessert). Expect special Diwali desserts that chef Heena grew up eating. Don’t miss it!

October 8, 2019

Grilled whole rock cod, roasted hen of the woods mushrooms, potatoes, sorrel sauce. Photo: Rasami Ruangsri.


Bratwurst, sauerkraut, house mustard. Photo: Rasami Ruangsri.


Smoked New York strip, rye bread skordalia, carrots, sultanas. Photo: Rasami Ruangsri.

As soon as you walk into ~DEAR INGA~, you’re greeted with the light smell of smoky goodness, giving you a hint of what’s on chef David Golovin’s Eastern European-inspired menu (bring on the smoked fish and New York strip). I stuck my head in just as they were about to hold their friends and family night a couple weeks ago, but sadly I was leaving for NYC early the next morning and couldn’t stay for dinner (or take pics).

But the space looks great: the bone structure of the beautiful and airy Farina is still there—with the huge windows that face 18th Street and the skylights, and some of the stunning marble work—but none of the corrupt juju that the previous owners infected the space with, ahhhhh. Ciao, bad vibes!

Seth Boor of Boor Projects has introduced many wood elements, adding a bit of a playful mid-century feeling with some of the fixtures. The tabletops feature a fun, multi-colored patchwork, and there are tones of blue and grey throughout, like the teal tiles under the bar and the wainscoting. Oh, and cute plants. SF old-timers will recognize pieces of the location’s original Anna’s Danish Cookies sign in the front tables.

The “new old world cooking” menu is so appetizing, with plenty of dishes to share, lots of comfort food (bring on the pork and beef-stuffed cabbage!), and new-style dishes too, like scarlet runner bean croquettes with sour plum sauce and cultured cream aioli. Golovin is known for his sausage-making skills, so don’t miss those.

Desserts include plum poppy cake, a sundae with frozen kefir, chocolate cake with fig leaf jam and cream, and a plate of adorable cookies and sweets (click through to see it).

Inspiration from the team’s (Liholiho Yacht Club’s Ravi Kapur and Jeff Hanak) travels to Georgia not only come through on the menu, but also on their wine list. And then there’s the cocktail list! Expect some dill, caraway, and beets to make some savory appearances.

Look for the awesome roofdeck to open at a later date. At least there’s outdoor seating for now where you can enjoy these warm evenings. Open Tue-Sun 5pm-10pm. Brunch is coming soon. 3560 18th St. at Guerrero.


The new bar at Aziza. Instagram photo via @mourad_lahlou.


The main dining room at Aziza. Instagram photo via @mourad_lahlou.

In a surprise turnaround, Mourad Lahlou is going to reopen his beloved ~AZIZA~ in the Outer Richmond, after closing it back in 2016 for a remodel. Aziza originally opened in 2001, an homage to Lahlou’s mother, and was the first Moroccan restaurant in the U.S. to be awarded a Michelin star. He was going to reopen it as Amara with chef Louis Maldonado, but that didn’t pan out (Maldonado is now at Gibson in downtown SF).

So, the new Aziza. It’s meant to be a comfortable gathering place, and both the menu and radically redesigned space reflect this new direction. The menu will feature shareable small plates and large-format entrées. Old faves like the chicken basteeya, beef cheek tagine, and hand-rolled couscous will return, with new dishes as well (Lahlou is working with Mike Daly, director of culinary operations, and chef de cuisine Frank Hanes).

A new addition will be weekend brunch, with dishes like shakshuka with kefta meatball, fudgy yolks, sweet potato, and spicy tomato; and feather-light Moroccan pancakes with stone fruit compote and orange blossom butter, which is brushed on top of the pancake to settle into each of the bubble divots as it’s on the griddle.

Aziza was always known for its culinary cocktails, and bar director Alex Okarka will be behind the new list. Tara Patrick, wine director of both Mourad and Aziza, is building the wine list.

The space now has higher ceilings and natural light, with dark wood floors, Moroccan tile, a 12-seat, communal, live-edge wooden table, and banquettes covered in black-and-white cowhide with a plum leather base. The bar is now in its own room, with 15 seats at a curved, poured concrete bar with teal tile. The back room offers a more private (and verdant) dining experience, with plush green banquettes and palm print wallpaper.

Aziza reopens on Monday October 14th. UPDATE: THE REOPENING IS NOW MONDAY OCTOBER 21ST. Hours will be daily 5:30pm-10pm and brunch Sat-Sun 11am-2:30pm. 5800 Geary Blvd. at 22nd Ave.


The Greenwich’s tuna sashimi salad. Photo via Instagram: @thegreenwichsf.


A curry plate at Konomama. Instagram photo via @konomama_konomama.


The new Sunset Cantina. Yelp photo by David L.

Big Night Restaurant Group has finished their transformation of Cow Marlowe into ~THE GREENWICH~, now offering a “Hamptons-in-the-Marina” style and a lighter menu from chef Jennifer Puccio as well (check it out here). Open for happy hour 4:30pm-6pm and 10pm to close; dinner Wed-Sun 5:30pm-close; brunch coming October 26th: Sat-Sun 11am-3pm. 3154 Fillmore St. at Greenwich.

Now open in North Beach is ~FAMILY CAFE~ from Ray Lee (Akiko’s Restaurant), Jessica Furui (former sake director at Ozumo), and chef Tadayuki Furui (most recently of Soba Ichi). Come by for a menu of homestyle classics, like katsu chicken sandwiches, hearty salads, curry rice, and daily specials, plus Mr. Espresso coffee drinks, matcha, baked goods, and more; they hope to secure a beer and wine license so Jessica can serve her sake magic. There’s a cozy atmosphere that is meant to inspire people to linger, come on by. Open Mon-Sat 11am-6pm; coffee and tea at 10am. 362 Columbus Ave. at Vallejo. [Via Chronicle.]

There’s a new curry shop on Geary from the former chef of Ken Ken Ramen called ~KONOMAMA~. Chef Takahiro Hori partnered up with Yoshuke Takahashi (Ramen Underground), who was running a curry shop called Back Room in this location, but it has been given a design refresh. Look for some vibrant and healthy curry plates, which come with side salads and vegetables (even if you’re ordering the BBQ pork rib and croquette plate), with some vegan options too. Open Tue-Fri 11:30am-3pm and 5pm-9pm, Sat 11:30am-9pm, Sun 11:30am-5pm. 4601 Geary Blvd. at 10th Ave. [Via Eater.]

Over in the Outer Sunset is the newly opened ~SUNSET CANTINA~ in the former Pisces California Cuisine location. On the menu: Mexican street food (tacos, elote), fried shrimp with yucca fries, a chorizo and beef hamburger, and a full bar of tequila and mezcal cocktails. 3414 Judah St. at 39th Ave.


A pic of Tsuta Ramen (via Tsuta Philippines on Facebook).


Shakshuka is on the new menu at Manny’s. Photo via Manny’s.

Just in case you were excited to check out the upcoming ~TSUTA~, the first U.S. location of the Michelin-starred ramen shop, they are actually softly open right now in advance of their October 20th grand opening. According to this post) on Yelp, they are serving 300 bowls of ramen (limited menu) each day, starting at 5pm. (People have been lining up a couple hours before, although another Yelper had better luck on a Sunday and just had a short wait.) 135 4th St. at Mission.

Over at Farming Hope at ~MANNY’S~ in the Mission, you’ll find a new menu from Farming Hope’s new culinary director, chef Larry Feygin, who has worked in some top restaurants (Lazy Bear, Alinea in Chicago, Daniel Berlin in Sweden). The primarily plant-based menu is designed to be affordable, nutritious, flavorful, and approachable—an average meal costs $10, and everything on the coffee menu is under $4. You’ll find a Mediterranean-focused menu, with shakshuka, frittata, breakfast flatbread, toasts, soup, salad, and bowls.

Farming Hope is a non-profit community organization providing transitional employment and training in the culinary industry to unhoused and low-income people in our community. Please show them some support! Hours: Mon-Fri daytime menu 8am-3pm and cocktail bites menu 4pm-10pm; weekend brunch Sat-Sun 9am-3pm. 3092 16th St. at Valencia.

Have you had a chance to check out the ~MIDNITE BAGEL~ pop-up? It’s now running on Fridays at Tartine Bakery, starting at 6pm. These naturally fermented bagels from are so good (peep my past order here). Pre-order here. 600 Guerrero St. at 18th St.


Dosa on Valencia. Photo via Dosa’s Facebook.

It was a shocker to learn that after 15 years on Valencia, ~DOSA ON VALENCIA~ was closing (the last day of service was September 30th). Co-owner Anjan Mitra attributes the closure to the oft-cited issues of rising rent, labor costs, SF employer mandates, and food delivery services, basically all the things killing small restaurants right now—and they had a full liquor license. Read more in their post on Facebook. Thanks for all the years of feeding us—fortunately Dosa on Fillmore is still open, and Dosa by Dosa in Oakland. [Via Eater.]

After 18 years on Polk Street, ~MILLER’S EAST COAST DELI~ closed on September 23rd. Owner Robby Morgenstein did not comment on reasons for the closure. [Via Hoodline.]

Also nearby, I learned that ~HOOKER’S SWEET TREATS~ is going to be closing soon. David Williams has been serving his awesome caramels, baked goods, bread pudding, and coffee to the Tenderloin neighborhood for nine years, but a multitude of reasons have added up to force him decide to close the café. If anyone is interested in purchasing the brand, drop him an email. No word on when the closure is happening (it’s soon), you can track it on Twitter. 442 Hyde St. at Ellis.

~CASTAGNA~ in the Marina is closing at the end of October after eight years in business. Owner Stéphane Meloni is returning to France, and the space is reportedly becoming a fast-casual restaurant. [Via Chronicle.]

Folks were dismayed with the news that Lower Haight’s ~ROSAMUNDE SAUSAGE GRILL~ had suddenly closed, but a follow-up report announced that former employee Christine Blunck will be opening Berliner Berliner in the space (she was born in Berlin), and will still serve sausages (and Tuesday burgers), plus some new additions. The grand opening is October 31st, in time for “Hallow-weenie.” Hours will be 11am-10pm. And she was able to keep the original staff! Rosamunde in the Mission and Oakland remain open. 545 Haight St. at Fillmore. [Via Hoodline.]

This one is a damn shame, since I grew up with it (my Dad’s service station was right down the street): after 60 years in business, Redwood City’s ~WOODSIDE DELI~ has closed its doors. Original owner Dan Galinetti sold the business in 2017 to Kyle Vogel, a longtime customer, who closed the business for a remodel. He reopened, but then his landlord proposed a 52 percent rent increase, and couple that with issues with staffing and healthcare costs, and it all means this precious deli is no longer with us. Thanks again to the Galinetti family for all the years of cold cuts and their epic Godfather sandwiches—sadly it wasn’t the same without you. [Via Chronicle.]


A po’boy from Brenda’s Meat & Three. Photo via Facebook.

After announcing the upcoming opening of ~BRENDA’S~ in Temescal one year ago, look who’s now open! Brenda Buenviaje and Libby Truesdell have opened Brenda’s Oakland in a new building, the Maya, at Broadway and 41st. It’s fast-casual/counter service, offering the best of their signature items, like beignets, brunch items, fried chicken, and a bunch of po’boys (with some new ones too). Here’s the breakfast menu and lunch too.

Since the area is more residential, they have some kid-friendly additions like milkshakes and a kid’s menu, and will soon offer some family meals (with chicken!) to bring home. Hours: Wed-Mon 8am-3pm (closed Tue) for now, serving breakfast, brunch, and lunch, and then adding supper/dinner service (until 10pm) soon. 4045 Broadway at 41st St., Oakland.

For a complete list of September openings (and closures) in the East Bay, check out this detailed Nosh post, which includes ~TARTINE BAKERY~’s opening in Berkeley’s Graduate Hotel, and ~THE LEDE~ from Chez Panisse’s Cal Peternell.

September 24, 2019

Wildseed’s supergrain paella for two with Beyond sausage, market vegetables, roasted cauliflower, saffron, grilled lemon, herbs, sofrito. Photo: Aubrie Pick.


The open kitchen and counter at Hina. Photo via Hina on Facebook.

In the last issue of tablehopper, I reported on the changeover of Belga to ~WILDSEED~ on Union, and it’s now open! Zip zip, that was fast. Check out chef Blair Warsham’s savory, eclectic menu of seasonal, healthy, flavorful, satisfying dishes with some global influences, like a Vietnamese rice noodle salad, Japanese donburi, and Indian-inspired “neatballs.” Many of the dishes are designed to share, like Mexican corn cakes, king trumpet mushroom ceviche, and a mezze plate. Other dishes include a couple kinds of vegetarian hamburgers, rigatoni bolognese with Impossible ground, and a paella for two. Snacks are priced between $5-$7, salads and bowls ($13-$15), dishes to share ($7-$11), and larger entrée-style plates ($15-$26).

The cocktails were also freshened up, with fresh juices, herbs, housemade extracts, shrubs, and tinctures in the cocktails. In a commitment to keeping a minimal carbon footprint, all wines will be local, vegan, organic, and biodynamic. 

It’s a great location, full of light and with a fun sidewalk scene, and is fortunately going to offer all-day service. Hannah Collins of ROY Hospitality Design Studio is behind the update. Lunch and dinner will be served Tue-Sun 5:30pm-10pm, with weekend brunch coming. 2000 Union St. at Buchanan.

The new ~HINA YAKITORI~ has opened from the nearby Ju-Ni crew, serving a 15-course tasting menu ($110) of modern, Tokyo-style yakitori at an open kitchen counter in a chef’s menu format. Chef Tommy Cleary (previously at Hina Oakland, Ippuku, and “the first foreign-born chef to apprentice at Tokyo’s Tori+Salon under acclaimed yakitori master Kazuo Nakayama”) will grill your dinner over white oak Wakayama Kishu Binchotan, one of the finest charcoals.

While special cuts of chicken are a main feature of the menu (Cleary uses every part of the chicken), there are also courses with vegetables, seafood, and wagyu tartare. Check out some early pics here—I’m so ready for the Sot L’y Laisse (thigh oyster, chicharrón, and caviar!). Beverage and service director Justin Chin (Restaurant Gary Danko) has put together the list of wine, sake, and beer. Reservations Tue-Sat on Resy. 808 Divisadero St. at Fulton.


Chef Bruce Hill (and his awesome invention, The Chef’s Press). Photo courtesy of Bruce Hill.

Some changes are happening in Bill Higgins and Bill Upson’s Real Restaurants group, which is behind Bar Bocce, Bix, Bungalow 44, Buckeye Roadhouse, Fog City, Panorama, Picco, and Pizzeria Picco. That list used to include Zero Zero in SoMa, but now chef Bruce Hill has bought them out and is the sole proprietor.

Another change is the Real Bills bought out Picco (and the pizzeria) in Larkspur, so Hill is no longer there (he opened Picco and Pizzeria Picco in 2005). Stand by for news on the new chef. It’s an amicable split—they’re calling it “coordinated uncoupling” (LOL) and Hill remains a partner at Bix. Speaking of Bix, chef Emmanuel Eng is departing—he has been the chef there since 2015, but is leaving the city with his girlfriend. Thanks for all the great meals, Eman!

As for Zero Zero, which opened in 2010, Hill says chef David Zboray just returned from a trip to Italy with the Casa de Case importers, and is fired up with plenty of new inspiration for the menu. Looking forward!


The Seoul Food fried chicken sandwich at Flybird. Photo courtesy of Flybird.


One of the wildly affordable pizzas from Apizza. Photo courtesy of Apizza.

Are you a fan of Sababa’s Mediterranean sandwiches? Yeah, me too. A lot. Which is why I’m excited to try chef Guy Eshel’s latest venture with the Sababa team, ~FLYBIRD~. It’s another quick-service spot downtown, serving a variety of internationally inspired fried chicken sandwiches and salads. Peep the menu (ha-ha) and you’ll see a Nashville hot chicken-meets-Buffalo version, with other sandwiches influenced by Tel Aviv, Seoul, Provence, and Mexico City (all $12). Salads ($11 or $13) also do some globetrotting. Work downtown? You can also place your order ahead of time for pick-up. Mon-Fri 11am-3pm. 35 Kearny St. at Maiden Ln.

A Fillmore friend let me know that the ~APIZZA~ project was opening this week in the former Boulange space—I know, some were hoping it was going to be a New Haven-style shop, but Eater reveals La Boulangerie partners Pascal Rigo and Nicolas Bernadi have created a fast-casual pizza concept that they plan to roll out elsewhere (Belmont is next). They’ve been working for the last three years on how to offer a quick, inexpensive pizza—try $2.75 for a nine-inch margherita with organic dough and tomato sauce!

Other toppings include roasted seasonal vegetables ($5.79), muffulatta ($6.49), and a cheeseburger pizza, La Royale with Cheese (ground beef, cheese, tomato, lettuce, red onion, cornichons, Thousand Island dressing, and sesame seeds, $5.99, with an option to sub Impossible meat). They appear to have a very thin crust. The pizzas don’t come in a box—they fold them in on themselves (cut in half) and put them in a compostable container, so don’t scream (maybe eat the La Royale while you’re there). Instead of wasting money on a pizza box, you get quality ingredients, from Mary’s chicken to two kinds of organic crusts. There’s also dessert from Loving Cup. It opens today, Tuesday September 24th, open daily 11:30am-7pm. 2043 Fillmore St. at California.

tablehopper reader Karen Z. let me know ~LOS YAQUIS~ just opened a second location in Bernal (the original is on South Van Ness). Come by for Mexican breakfast, all kinds of seafood dishes (ceviche, camarones a la diabla), and homestyle specialties, like enchiladas and caldos. They’re offering 20 percent off during their soft opening (through September 25th). 8am-10pm. 3214 Folsom St. at Stoneman.


The industrial style of Plouf. Photo courtesy of Plouf.

After 26 years of service and their popular happy hour, ~PALOMINO~ will be closing after service on Wednesday (they will be hosting their last private event on Thursday). I spoke with a representative for the restaurant, who said it’s due to a lease renewal situation. I used to work on Spear St. twenty years ago and consumed many of their pizzas on that patio. 26 years! That was quite a run. 345 Spear St. at Folsom.

A couple months ago, a tablehopper reader let me know changes were happening at ~PLOUF~, but when I reached out to them, they said it was just a rumor. Well, the rumor has proven to sadly come true, because I heard from Plouf last week that they are in fact closing after 23 years. They just can’t make the numbers work: “despite a great rent we were not able to make a profit anymore.” They will close on Saturday September 28th. Thank you for all the fun Belden Place memories and all the mussels and frites over many dates there! 40 Belden Pl. at Pine.

Over near the ballpark, both ~PEDRO’S CANTINA~ and ~PETE’S TAVERN~ have closed after 12 years in business, according to Hoodline. Neighboring ~AMICI’S EAST COAST PIZZERIA~ (216 King St.) has also closed their doors, after opening back in 2004. Seems all three locations suffered from diminished crowds at Giants games. 128 King St. at 2nd St.

And over in the Castro, Rick Hamer has closed his second business, ~PAPI RICO~, after a recent remodel and just shy of two years in business. That place is a great location with the patio and liquor license—you can rent it for private parties and events for now. 544 Castro St. at 19th St. [Via Hoodline.]


Feasting at CUESA’s Sunday Supper in the Ferry Building’s Grand Hall. Photo © Drew Altizer Photography.


Mixiote’s incredible morita salsa and lamb tacos at last year’s SF Street Food Fest. Photo: ©


Loosen that waistband, you have some amazing food events to attend! Continuing this week at ~CHINA LIVE~ is Culinary Flavors of Taiwan, with daily tastings, demonstrations, limited edition menu items, and specialty cocktails. Try unique ingredients like dragonfruit noodles, black peanut butter, and lemon aiyu jelly! Take a look at the lineup, running through September 29th.

On Saturday October 5th, is BBQ Without Borders, an event in Oakland from No Immigrants. No Spice and New American Economy that will feature immigrant chefs from across the Bay Area (including Indonesian, Northern Iranian, and Mexican barbecue) and celebrate immigrant contributions to American food, music, dance, art, and more. There will also be a panel on the intersection of food, immigration, and community. Tickets. All proceeds will be donated to the National Immigrant Justice Center and Pangaea Legal Services. 5pm-9pm. Impact Hub Oakland, 2323 Broadway, Oakland.

Sunday October 6th is CUESA’s Sunday Supper: A Farm to City Feast. Gather with 45 of the Bay Area’s best chefs (including Gabriela Cámara of Cala, Pim Techamuanvivit and Meghan Clark of Nari, and Annie Calla of Zuni Café) at the Ferry Building for the most magical, delicious, and sustainable feast of the year! Enjoy a behind-the-scenes view of the kitchen, followed by hors d’oeuvres and hand-crafted drinks in the Ferry Building Marketplace, and then the feast commences upstairs in the Grand Hall, where dinner is served family-style on long communal tables. The supper features six distinct menus created by teams of chefs who collaboratively plan the extravagant four-course meal. Each menu is paired with premier California wines by a distinguished sommelier. Foodie Chap Liam Mayclem will emcee the evening and host an energetic live auction. Help raise funds for CUESA’s vital education programs, which benefit youth and local farmers. 5pm-10pm. Premier Access (5pm): $375 ($250 tax deductible); General Admission (5:45pm): $325 ($200 tax deductible). The Ferry Building, 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco.

And then on Saturday October 12th, we have the tenth San Francisco Street Food Festival from La Cocina! Check out the incredible lineup of over 50 chefs, and past themes like Night Market, Fried Chicken Bucket Bar, a Whole Hog BBQ Pitmasters station, and a Tostada Mercado are all making a comeback!

Get your ticket now: $5 pre-sale entry; $10 at the door on Oct. 12th after 11:30am; free for kids age 5 and under. Pay $36 and get entry and La Cocina’s cookbook (We Are La Cocina: Recipes in Pursuit of The American Dream), or a $50 VIP ticket for early entry (no lines!) and bubbly and La Cocina’s cookbook. All proceeds from ticket sales are donated to La Cocina. 11:30am-8pm. Power Station in Dogpatch, 420 23rd St. at Illinois.

Sunday October 13th is the first-ever SF Bake Sale for Planned Parenthood, from Zuni Cafe, Guittard Chocolate, Alison Seibert of The James Collective, and Marley Wertheimer. Inspired by the incredibly successful NYC version, the SF bakesale will include 36 of the top restaurants/bakeries in the city. The event will be free and open to the public, baked goods, and drinks will be available for purchase, and all proceeds raised through the bake sale, auction, and donations prior and during the event will be donated directly to Planned Parenthood NorCal and Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates. Right on. 11am-3pm. Rose Alley between Gough and Market (behind Zuni Cafe).

September 10, 2019

Just wait until you taste the dahi wada (urad dal/black lentil dumplings, spiced chilled yogurt, cilantro, tamarind). Photo: Alicia Fischer.


The show-stopping Andhra Fish Stew—coconut, local seafood, basil, ginger. Photo: Alicia Fischer.


The Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, with pani puri water (along with Mount Gay Rum, cilantro, and lime)! Photo: Alicia Fischer.


At Besharam, they really know how to do a family-style spread! Photo: Alicia Fischer.


Thanks to sponsor Mount Gay Rum, we’ll be tasting some special pours! Photo via @mountgayrum.

I’m so thrilled to announce the latest tablehopper spirited supper—it has been tooooo long! On Tuesday September 24th, we’ll be dining at ~BESHARAM~ in Dogpatch, with our cohost, Mount Gay Rum! Have you had a chance to visit chef-owner Heena Patel’s soulful and stylish restaurant? It’s a little off the beaten path, which is why I thought it would be a good idea to host an event there because I don’t want you to miss this special place! Maybe you saw my recent pics on Instagram? The saag paneer is pretty unforgettable.

Heena is a La Cocina graduate, and this is her first brick-and-mortar restaurant! She recently became the sole owner of Besharam, and relaunched the menu to really reflect her Gujarati roots and favorite dishes. You won’t find these flavorful and vibrant dishes anywhere else in the city, and Heena brings a California freshness to the menu as well (just wait until you taste the bright dressing on her arugula salad).

The cocktail list also got an overhaul, and features many culinary touches, from beet to turmeric to curry leaves to chaat masala! Get excited to try the Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, which features pani puri water (along with Mount Gay Rum, cilantro, and lime)! Speaking of pani puri (which are in the first pic in my Insta post), Heena is going to have a station set up during our reception for her drunken pani puri (they’ll have The Botanist gin in them), served street food style! We’re also going to start the evening with a new punch, featuring Mount Gay Rum: GLIF (Good Looking Indian Friends, inspired by a customer!).

We will take our seats by 7pm, and commence our family-style feast. True to Gujarati style, our meal will be almost completely vegetarian, with one spectacular fish dish. And trust me, you won’t miss the meat, and you absolutely will be stuffed at the end! Heena is a feeder.

The menu:
Kanji Wada—tapioca fritters, tamarind chutney
Dahi Wada—urad dal (black lentil) dumplings, spiced chilled yogurt, cilantro, tamarind
Corn Puda—seared corn, chickpea flour pancake
Arugula Salad—chicories, roasted corn, pistachio, fried garbanzo beans, tamarind-ginger vinaigrette
Saag Paneer—spinach, mustard greens, fenugreek, fresh paneer
Andhra Fish Stew—coconut, local seafood, basil, ginger
Paratha, dill butter rice, dips, chutneys

You’ll enjoy some special cocktail pairings and Mount Gay Rum pours with the meal, which includes the GLIF welcome punch, the Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, the chai-spiced The Last Viceroy, and a gulab jamun-inspired Old Fashioned to go with the shrikand cheesecake for dessert, made with saffron and cardamom-infused strained yogurt and Parle-G biscuit crust. WOW! Rémy Cointreau’s Trent Simpson will be teaching us about Mount Gay Rum, which is the world’s oldest commercial rum distillery (since 1703!)! We’ll taste different expressions and learn all about how they do things at this storied Barbados-based distillery.

Reception, 6:30pm; dinner 7pm. There are just 21 seats! Tickets are $85, all-inclusive (dinner, cocktails, tax, tip), plus a small service fee from Square (total is $88.15). Thanks to Besharam and Mount Gay Rum for hosting us so generously, this dinner is worth so much more.

Since we’ll be consuming alcohol, please use a rideshare service so you get home safely. Besharam is also conveniently located within four blocks of the T Third St. Muni Metro, #48 bus stop, and the 22nd St. CalTrain Station. We are looking forward to seeing you! 1275 Minnesota St. at 24th St.


The cozy interior of Matterhorn is full of booths and knotty pine. Photo: ©


Another view of the dining room and bar. Photo: ©


Yup, there’s an authentic Swiss gondola you can dine inside! Photo: ©


You can easily pretend you just finished a day of skiing in the Alps. Photo: ©


A peek at the Rhaetian Railway train scene they’ve set up outside the windows! Photo: ©

It’s pretty wonderful when a San Francisco classic can transition into new hands, and get the right kind of careful update. This is how things are playing out for the ~MATTERHORN~, a Swiss fondue restaurant that was holding it down on Van Ness for over 25 years. Original owners Brigitte and Andrew Thorpe have passed the fondue fork to another couple, Natalie and Jason Horwath, who are big lovers of Switzerland—they lived there for a while, and Natalie staged at a couple bakeries there, which is why the new name is now ~MATTERHORN RESTAURANT AND BAKERY~.

They definitely fell in love with fondue while they lived there, and are lovingly going to showcase it in three kinds at the restaurant: Fondue Moitié-Moitié (traditional fondue made with two cheeses from Switzerland: 12-month aged Gruyère and Vacherin Fribourgeois); Fondue Emmental (a non-traditional fondue made with three cheeses from Switzerland: 18-month aged Emmental, L’Etivaz, and Vacherin Fribourgeois); and Meat Fondue (spice-rubbed beef tenderloin cooked at the table in a beef and red wine stock, served with dipping sauces, pickled vegetables, and rösti potatoes). I got a whiff of that bubbling stock and let me tell you, it’s the stuff. The first two fondues will be served with housemade (and naturally leavened) bread, pickled vegetables, and potatoes. I got a peek at their walk-in, and was blown away with the huge 200-pound wheels of Emmental and Gruyère they had imported. Natalie is so committed to their sourcing, it’s admirable and exciting.

There will also be serving three kinds of melted-to-order raclette (Swiss, French, or American), served with pickled vegetables and potatoes. (You’ve seen raclette melty magic before, yes?) Like the fondue, you can even order a single portion! (I can easily see swinging by the bar on a rainy night for a glass of wine and a raclette, oh yes.) There will be American and European beers (on tap and in bottle), and the wine list leans Old World, with careful consideration being paid to what will pair best with all the cheesy dishes.

The menu also features a charcuterie or Swiss cheese board (served with housemade pretzels), Swiss potato rösti (a heavenly dish of grated and skillet-fried potatoes, with your choice of three toppings, like bacon, ham, egg, Chällerhocker cheese, roasted mushrooms, or tomato); veal Zürich-style with housemade spätzle and vegetables; and since they have a child, there’s also a thoughtful kid’s menu. Desserts will include some pastries and treats from the bakery. They are making everything by hand and with such attention here.

The space looks great—there’s all that original knotty pine, and plenty of booths and cozy tables with custom pillows made from Swiss Army blankets. They painted the space, installed a new chandelier of antlers, and lugged back drapes from Switzerland, and there’s even a real Swiss gondola you can reserve to dine in (it will have a set menu). They worked with a Swiss artist on Swiss decoupage in the entryway, and wait until you see the cow that is going to greet you at the entrance. And then there’s the entire Rhaetian Railway train scene installed outside the back of the restaurant, which you can see through the windows. Everyone’s inner child will be awakened, it’s marvelous. Other fun touches include themed bathrooms (one pays homage to Freddie Mercury at Montreux, complete with a purple glitter floor), mugs that they brought back from the Montreux Christmas market, cuckoo clocks, and much more. It all looks so great.

They’re going to be hosting a few friends and family/test dinners September 11th-13th and the 17th-21st. Go ahead and direct message them on Instagram (@matterhornsf), tell them you saw this post in tablehopper, and they’ll send you a link to tickets (it will be an affordable price). They plan to open Tuesday September 24th. Start planning your holiday gathering here! Hours will be Tue-Sat 5:30pm-10pm. 2323 Van Ness Ave. at Vallejo.


The former South Park Cafe. Photo via Facebook.

These are definitely interesting times in San Francisco. A star tablehopper reader (love ya, Luke!) has been updating me on things happening at ~SOUTH PARK CAFE~, which closed last year after 32 years (I miss you, pig salad!), and would you believe a credit card startup, Brex, has reopened the restaurant? Brex has been valued at, uh, $2.6 billion with a B, and opened a members-only lounge above the restaurant earlier this year (dubbed the “Oval Room”). And now Business Insider reports Brex’s 20-something co-CEOs Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi decided to renovate and reopen the beloved bistro, which is open to everyone. (The article has pics of the updated space.)

Chef Peter Mosqueda was previously on the food team at Stripe for the past four years, so he’s no stranger to the intersection of credit and cuisine. Dishes are reportedly on the simpler side, like cured trout with olive oil, chives, and capers with crème fraîche; arugula and farro salad; gluten-free fried chicken with collard greens and a summer corn relish; lamb meatballs; chorizo and mussels; and koji-rubbed steak with brandied mushrooms. They are also open for coffee/espresso service in the morning, serving Four Barrel Coffee (interesting choice).

Hours for now are Mon-Fri 8am-2:30pm for coffee, 12pm-2:30pm for lunch, and they tell me dinner is coming soon. 108 S. Park St. 
at Jack London Alley.


Belga’s dining room. Photo by Aubrie Pick.

According to a liquor license transfer that just hit the wires, Corey Lee (Benu) is opening a project in the former Blowfish. He confirmed to the Chronicle that it’s going to be his long-awaited Korean restaurant, possibly by next summer, stand by for more! Can’t wait. 2170 Bryant St. at 20th St.

Big changes at the former Belga on Union Street, which is pivoting to become ~WILDSEED~, a plant-based restaurant and bar opening this month (September). This will be Adriano Paganini’s Back of the House restaurant group’s twelfth concept, and is designed to serve the health-conscious needs of the neighborhood (not unlike the changes currently happening at The Greenwich, formerly Cow Marlowe) and the larger plant-based movement happening in food and wellness.

Paganini states in a press release, “I am very passionate about this project and have been working on this concept for the past year, including spending time in LA doing research and working with a dietitian on my own personal health journey. I wanted to create this restaurant because I work across the street and this is a concept that I felt was missing in this neighborhood. Our hope is that this will be a restaurant that people can eat at several times a week, myself included.”

Chef Blair Warsham will be overseeing the menu of seasonal, healthy, flavorful, satisfying dishes, with some global influences—more on that soon. The cocktails will also be freshened up, with fresh juices, herbs, housemade extracts, shrubs, and tinctures in the cocktails. In a commitment to keeping a minimal carbon footprint, all wines will be local, vegan, organic, and biodynamic. 

It’s a great location, full of light and with a fun sidewalk scene, and is fortunately going to offer all-day service. Hannah Collins of ROY Hospitality Design Studio is behind the update. Lunch and dinner will be served Tue-Sat, with weekend brunch coming. 2000 Union St. at Buchanan.

Congrats to chef Shotaro “Sho” Kamio of Iyasare in Berkeley, who will be opening a restaurant in Salesforce Park above the Transbay transit center with his partner Josh Sigel. In a statement to the Chronicle, he says, “We seek to bring a style of food that is not imported from Japan but created here for the Bay Area with an appropriate level of originality and innovation that makes the concept feel unique yet surprisingly familiar. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we cannot wait to share it with everyone.” Stand by for more on this new restaurant and lounge next year.

I spotted some ABC license transfer activity that involved the Original Joe’s team, which showed John and Elena Duggan moving into the former Paradise Pizza in West Portal. I reached out for details but didn’t hear back, so here’s the article from the Chronicle on the backstory of ~LITTLE JOE’S PIZZA, PASTA, PARMIGIANA~. Stand by for more on this casual neighborhood restaurant. 393 West Portal Ave. at San Fernando Way.

Coming to the Financial District this October is ~TACOLICIOUS CHICO~, a quick-service and to-go spot specializing in tacos de guisado (braised fillings), an homage to some of the Tacolicious crew’s favorite spots in Mexico City. There will be meat, vegetarian, and vegan options, six in all, like tinga, pork chile verde, lamb barbacoa, corn-and-peppers, and greens n’ beans, all inside organic, made-to-order corn tortillas. It’s designed to be super-quick, whether you want to snag a little patio table or head back to your desk. 685 Market St. at 3rd St.


Winner winner chicken dinner. A fine spread at RT Rotisserie. Photo: Kassie Borreson.

A second location of ~RT ROTISSERIE~ from the Rich Table team opened next to Falletti Foods just at the end of August. Taking over the former Delessio Market & Bakery space, you’ll now find 45 seats where you can enjoy their awesome rotisserie chicken, pork ribs, sandwiches, salads, soup, and killer vegetable sides (I am so obsessed with their cabbage and almond side), and don’t forget the rotisserie fat rice. Speaking of that magic rice, this location has an exclusive rice bowl packed with goodies (with your choice of meat and sauce), and there’s also a crispy pork belly off the rotisserie if you’re feeling decadent.

It’s a bit more spacious than their Hayes Valley location, plus there’s outdoor seating in the works. If you want to order for delivery, you can find them on Caviar (that link will get you $10 off your first two orders), and this new location will be able to service the western side of the city better. Hours are 11am-9pm daily. 302 Broderick St. at Oak.

I reported back in January on a new location of ~THE LITTLE CHIHUAHUA~ coming to Polk Street (in the former Myconos) and according to their Instagram, it should be opening this week! Track the very latest at @thelittlechihuahua. 1431 Polk St. at California.


Chubby Noodle North Beach. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography courtesy of UrbanDaddy.

A tablehopper reader (thanks again, Luke!) let me know ~PETE’S~ bar in North Beach had a “closed for renovation” sign in the window, and the Chronicle has this follow-up story that owner Pete Mrabe is moving his North Beach location of ~CHUBBY NOODLE~ in there. And there’s that full liquor license, how perfect. Sounds like he’ll close Chubby in mid-October—the Marina location will remain open. 570 Green St. at Stockton.

According to an ABC transfer, ~BEYOND BURMA~, an evening pop-up in the Elmira space near Civic Center, is moving into the former Borobudur space in the TenderNob. I wrote about this restaurant (and their awesome mohinga) last year, and am happy to see them find a permanent location. The Chron reports they’re going to keep a couple Borobudur dishes on the menu (the owners are retiring—they’ve been holding it down since 1991!). What a sweet thing to do for their regulars since the city is losing one of its few Indonesian restaurants (probably at the end of September). 700 Post St. at Jones.


Assorted dumplings from Dumpling Time. Photo: Michael Ogata.

Okay, dumpling lovers, you have some new options to explore. First, the Omakase Restaurant Group has closed Udon Time, and opened ~DUMPLING TIME EXPRESS~ in its place. (The group’s popular Dumpling Time is just around the corner.) You can come in for an edited menu of quick bites of dumplings (and watch them being made at the long counter), and they’re still going to offer a couple udon dishes. Dumping Time Express is currently open from 11am-2:30pm and will open for dinner from 5pm-11pm soon. 55 Division St. at Rhode Island.

~DUMPLING ALLEY~ has opened in the Outer Richmond, serving an array of classics and what caught my eye is the fried donut with shrimp. Open Tue-Wed 5pm-9:30pm and Thu and Sun 11:30am-2:30pm and 5pm-9:30pm, and Fri-Sat until 10pm. 2512 Clement St. at 26th Ave.

Further out, ~NEW DUMPLING KING~ has opened in the former Kingdom of Dumpling—you can peep their menu on their site. Open Wed-Mon 11am-9pm (closed Tue). 3319 Balboa St. at 34th Ave.

A tablehopper reader tipped me off that ~DUMPLING HOUSE~ has replaced the short-lived Pho 335 in the Castro. Honestly, the initial pics don’t inspire me to run right over, but if it was in my neighborhood, sure, I’d pick up some shu mai and spicy wontons. Open daily 11am-2:30pm and 5pm-9:30pm (open continuously Sat-Sun). 335 Noe St. at 16th St.

Okay, we’re taking off the dumpling feedbag now—there’s a group of neighborhood food vendors at a new food truck park, ~BAYVIEW BISTRO~, which also has picnic tables in their sunny lot. The three local vendors serving food right now are Soul Bowl’z, Big H BBQ (his barbecue chicken looks so good), and Yes Pudding—check out their menus on the site! Come by Wed-Fri 2pm-5pm, and they’re also open on the first and fourth Saturday evenings of the month (5pm-8pm). Follow @bayviewbistrosf or Facebook for updates and support these food entrepreneurs, with hopefully more to join them. 4101 3rd St. at Hudson. [Via Chronicle.]

There’s a casual Korean place in the Haight called ~PURPLE RICE~, serving customizable plates and bowls of rice, barbecue meat or non-meat options, and vegetables, along with noodle bowls and soup. Bring on the banchan. Open daily 12pm-2:30pm and 5pm-9:30pm (until 10pm Fri-Sat). 509 Haight St. at Fillmore.


Some of the booth seating at Finn Town. Photo: Alana Wolens.


The farewell sign at Victor’s. Yelp photo by Justin M.

Oof, there is just way too much closure news going on. So sorry for all the operators who couldn’t make it work. Personally, the one that I JUST CAN’T GET OVER is ~GREEN CHILE KITCHEN~, which is closing on Sunday September 15th, after 14 years of feeding us! I can’t believe we’re losing our neighborhood standby. Heartland taco salad is my jam! And those breakfast burritos, they have truly saved me.

Thanks to owner Trevor Logan for the commitment to using such healthy and fresh ingredients all these years, and for hiring such a nice staff—I swear, Melesio in the kitchen has been there for YEARS. Anyway, I’m sorry SF is such a nightmare, and delivery ended up killing your biz. One consolation: you can still pick up their green chile apple pie at Chile Pies Baking Co. in Guerneville. 1801 McAllister St. at Baker.

Another fast-casual place that didn’t make it was Piri Picante, formerly ~PIRI PICA~, from founder-CEO Khalid Mushasha and Uma Casa chef-owner Telmo Faria. Eater reports the Portuguese chicken place just wasn’t doing the sales volume it needed to survive. 590 Valencia St. at 17th St.

Also on Valencia, I noticed owner Christopher Totah has closed ~ZAYTOON~, the Mediterranean fast-casual spot, but the newer location on Divisadero seems to be thriving (I love their lamb and chicken platter, you can get two meals out of it!). 1136 Valencia St. at 22nd St.

And we knew this was coming, but on September 1st, ~MISSION PIE~ closed, after being in business since 2007. You can read their farewell note on their site. 2901 Mission St. at 25th St.

Noe Valley’s ~CHEZ MARIUS~ from owner Laurent Legendre (who also owns Le P’tit Laurent in Glen Park) has shuttered the restaurant. 4063 24th St. at Castro. [Via Hoodline.]

Over in the Castro, partner Rick Hamer was sad to close ~FINN TOWN~ at the end of August, but is now operating the location as a private party venue, pop-up location, and commissary kitchen until he can find a new owner. Check it out if you’re looking for a place to cook. 2251 Market St. at Sanchez. [Via Bay Area Reporter.]

An old-timer has shuttered in SoMa: ~VICTOR’S~, the friendly Mexican standby that has been in business since 1985 (!!) has closed. Known for calling customers “guapo” or “guapa,” their farewell sign is a heartbreaker. The owners have reportedly retired. 210 Townsend St. at 3rd St.

Tony Gemignani’s ~SLICE HOUSE~ in SoMa has closed after four years—a post on Facebook says, “Due to increasing rent prices, road and sidewalk construction, and a noticeable change in neighborhood foot traffic, as of August 23 we have officially closed the doors at our Slice House on 2nd Street location.” Fortunately, there are multiple locations around the city where we can still score his awesome slices. 680 2nd St. at Townsend. [Via Hoodline.]

And the saga behind the closure of ~COOK SHOPPE~ (formerly Chow) is almost too strange to believe. When I originally interviewed “Mark White” about the project he was opening across the street, Gramercy Park—and the site is now private, hmmmm—I got the strangest vibes off him. He was cagey, and didn’t want to talk about his restaurant experience and background in New York. In the interim, he was suddenly involved in helping to reopen Chow as Cook Shoppe, reportedly acting as a consultant and investor. And whaddya know, Mark White isn’t even his real name.

You have to read the entire sordid mess in this detailed post on Hoodline. They got busted by the ABC for serving alcohol without a license and allowing people to BYOB; one of the owners Lawrence/Laurence Tonner is now in jail (for the ABC infraction and unrelated outstanding warrants in New York); and according to a post on Yelp, they are potentially stiffing employees (“Yelp keeps deleting my review!!! do not support this business!!!! the owner mark white is using and taking advantage of workers and refusing to pay. bounced checks and continuous lies. very hostile and sketch. local people from the community who need their paychecks to survive aare not getting paid their hard earned money they worked for. do not support this business and habitual liar mark white.”). File under “not surprised.” And what a damn shame for the people who worked there—many were Chow employees, so this is great insult to injury. Hopefully this band of shady carpetbaggers from New York has realized SF has no time or place for them. 215 Church St. at Market.


A seasonal (and always vegetarian!) spread at Greens. Photo: Nader Khouri.

I really can’t type anymore, I am so wiped out, but I wanted to be sure you had these events on your radar—click the links for all the details:

The ~GREENS~ 40th Anniversary Acclaimed Chef Dinner Series features a distinguished lineup of lauded chefs, including: Suzette Gresham (Acquerello: this Wednesday September 11th!), Kim Alter (Nightbird: October 7th), Tanya Holland (Brown Sugar Kitchen: November 4th), and Pam Mazzola (Prospect: December 11th).

On Thursday September 12th, San Francisco’s top bakers and pastry chefs will be at ~BLUESTEM BRASSERIE~ for the second Bake the World a Better Place, with tables full of sweet and savory goodies to benefit CUESA’s Foodwise Teens. 5pm. Full details and tickets here.

~FOREIGN CINEMA~ is turning 20 (!!) on Thursday September 19th, and you know they’re going to throw one helluva bash! It will be inspired by Federico Fellini; proceeds will be donated to Mission Neighborhood Center, 826 Valencia, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Tickets/details.

The 11th annual Eat Real Festival is Saturday September 21st-22nd in Oakland’s Jack London Square. It’s like a state fair, street-food festival, and a block party, with food vendors, craft cocktails, beer, and wine, entertainment, culinary classes, demos, family-friendly activities, and more. Check out all the great partners and happenings.