The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
February 24, 2015

The future home of Sessions in the Presidio. Photo from Facebook.


Lawn games and food trucks at Picnic at the Presidio. Photo from Facebook.

Michael Bilger and Evin Gelleri of the former Georges restaurant in the Financial District have a new project in the works. It’s opening in the former Dixie space in the Presidio and will be called ~SESSIONS~. According to a press release, they’ll be offering “craft beer, craft cuisine, and craft cocktails,” so remember to bring your knitting. They want to keep the environment welcoming and cheerful, and the focus will be on session-style beers, or beers made with lower alcohol so you can enjoy more than one at a time (and all day and night on your back porch before you get hammered). They will also have local beers on tap, cask-conditioned beers, and some nitro beers.

As for the food, they’ve partnered with the organic farm at Skywalker Ranch in Marin for their produce, and will offer seasonally driven dishes designed for sharing. Lundberg Design—whose previous projects include Mourad, Quince, and Hard Water—is working on the space. They will use large windows and natural elements to bring the beauty of the Presidio inside, and the space will offer both indoor and outdoor seating. The plan is to open in late spring. 1 Letterman Dr. at Lombard.

Off the Grid is returning to the Presidio and Fort Mason after a winter hiatus. Picnic at the Presidio will debut on Sunday March 1st on the Main Post Lawn, with food trucks, food stands, mimosas and Bloody Marys, and music. Partay! It’s happening every Sunday after March 1st from 11am-4pm, until November. Picnic at the Presidio: Main Post Lawn, Montgomery St. at Lincoln.

Then, on Friday March 6th, catch the kickoff of Off the Grid Fort Mason, with food trucks, cocktails, beer from Magnolia Brewing, and wine pairings. You can continue to enjoy the party every Friday from 5pm-10pm. Off the Grid Fort Mason: Marina Blvd. at Laguna.


The combo rice bowl from Halal Guys in New York. Yelp photo by Danny L.

Eater reports that New York City’s famed ~HALAL GUYS~ are expanding to the West Coast, including San Francisco and the East Bay. Apparently the expansion includes two more shops in New York, as many as 50 in Southern California, and eventually 30 in the Bay Area and Las Vegas. To start, they’re planning to open one spot in Berkeley and another in San Francisco, then go from there. The current schedule is to open in February 2016, with more expansions coming after that. They haven’t nailed down exact locations yet, but word is they are actively shopping for spaces.

It looks like the folks behind AQ and TBD are getting ready to open a fast-casual falafel restaurant called ~SABABA~. Eater reports that the new spot comes from AQ cook Guy Eshel, who not only trained at the CIA but also hails from Israel, along with Matt Semmelhack. The plan is to offer a limited menu of protein choices like falafel, eggplant and egg, chicken, and beef, available on a pita or in a salad bowl. Then, you’ll be able to customize from a selection of mezze and a toppings bar with pickles and sauces. They haven’t secured a location yet, but the plan is to be downtown. To test everything out, Eshel will be popping up at Deli Board every Monday in March from 6pm-9pm.

Some unofficial news on the ~SAM WO~ front about where it’s going to be reopening: according to this post on Chowhound, it’s going to be reopening in the Anna Bakery space in Chinatown. (Here’s our recap on why they aren’t reopening in their fabled space at 813 Washington.) We reached out to one of the owners, Julie Ho, who couldn’t comment at this time, so we’ll keep an eye on this one. Noodle rolls are imminent. 715 Clay St. at Kearny.


The Marlowe burger. Photo courtesy Marlowe.

After their move into a new location on Brannan Street, the team behind ~MARLOWE~ is opening a burger pop-up in their former location on Townsend. Originally, the plan was to have a “burger window” along the side of Marlowe’s new location, but the window’s popularity and nearby construction made that difficult. So instead, they’re going to be opening a burger pop-up and private dining space in the old Marlowe, called ~MARLOWE BURGER~. Burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, fries, and cookies and pastries will be available during the day, and then in the evening it will become a private dining space. The new burger spot is scheduled to open April 1st. No joke. 330 Townsend St. at 4th St.

More burger pop-up action: the evil geniuses behind the burger at ~CAUSWELLS~ are going to be popping up in the Mission, so you Marina-phobic types don’t have to venture too far to sink your choppers into one of those bad boys. On Monday March 16th, hightail it to their pop-up, the aptly named ~BURGER~. Adam Rosenblum (Causwells chef) and Alvin Garcia (Causwells partner) will be serving both single- ($6) and double-patty burgers ($8, and trust me, you want the double), plus fries (regular and duck fat), and shakes at ~BUFFALO CLUB~ from 6pm-1am. There will be paired cocktails too. 2331 Mission St. at 19th St.


Baked goods at Manresa Bread. Photo from Facebook.

~MANRESA BREAD~, the bakery project from David Kinch, Avery Ruzicka, and Andrew Burnham that we reported on in November, is now open in Los Gatos. The bakery opened on Saturday February 21st, with a selection of seasonally changing breads and pastries as well as coffee from Verve Coffee Roasters. Some of the bread and pastry offerings include a pumpernickel rye, Manresa levain, chocolate brioche, and kale Parmesan scones. (Hmmmm, I wonder if Postmates can deliver them…) Hours to start are Wed-Sun 7am-3pm, but they’ll be open daily soon. 276 N. Santa Cruz Ave. at Bachman, Los Gatos, 408-402-5372.

Mission bakery ~CRAFTSMAN AND WOLVES~ is expanding, with a second location in Russian Hill. They are moving into the ground floor of a new mixed-use building on Pacific Avenue, set to open in May. The menu will be similar to the Valencia location, with savory and sweet pastries, cube cakes, and lunch items. As part of the expansion, they’ve brought on pastry chef Angela Pinkerton, from New York’s Eleven Madison Park. While there, she received a James Beard Award, and her presence at Craftsman & Wolves will allow owner William Werner to focus on bigger-picture issues as the company expands. They are also bringing afternoon tea back to the Valencia location and launching an online store. Afternoon tea is available Monday through Friday from 11am to 6pm and is $27 per person or $50 for two. Details on the Russian Hill location are still sparse, but we’ll bring you more details when we’ve got them. 1643 Pacific Ave. at Polk.

After losing their commissary kitchen in a tragic fire earlier this month, it sounds like ~WISE SONS DELI~ is slowly recovering. Eater has an update on their progress. They were able to salvage their special bagel machine from the burned building, though they don’t yet know if it still works because it requires a special power setup to operate. They are also trying to find a new space for their baking operation and still plan to offer bagels soon, though their bagel operations has probably been pushed back 9 to 12 months. Good news: they are moving forward with their plan to open five nights a week, as of this week. You can now stop by their 24th Street location Tuesday through Saturday from 8am to 9pm, and they even plan to be open on Mondays soon.


Ryan Shelton, the new chef at Verbena. Photo courtesy Verbena.

After Sean Baker left last month, it looks like ~VERBENA~ has a new chef. His name is Ryan Shelton and his previous experience includes Chez TJ in Mountain View, the fantastic Baumé in Palo Alto (the restaurant earned two Michelin stars), Le Cigare Volant in Santa Cruz, and, most recently, the Palo Alto Grill. He is currently in the kitchen at Verbena and is actively working on his new menu, which should be rolling out over the next couple of months. No word (yet) on what opening chef Sean Baker is doing next.


The margherita pizza from Merigan. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

Get ready, barbecue lovers! Eater reports that Austin’s legendary Franklin Barbecue is coming to San Francisco for some pop-ups this spring. Eater says they’ll be here mid-May, as part of owner Aaron Franklin’s tour for his upcoming cookbook with Bay Area writer Jordan Mackay. While there’s no word about exactly where and when the pop-ups will occur, you can be sure the lines will be epic, but worth it. We’ll keep you posted!

Meanwhile, another import coming to SF is New York chef Zak Pelaccio (of Fatty Crab fame) and his co-chef of Fish & Game in Hudson, New York: Kevin Pomplun. The duo will be kicking off the guest chef series at ~BELCAMPO MEAT CO.~ Thursday March 5th and Friday March 6th. The five-course menu will of course feature Belcampo meats; $120, with an optional wine pairing for $40. Tickets here. 1998 Polk St. at Pacific.

There’s a new pop-up venue where you will be seeing some cool upcoming events: ~EATWITH~, the social dining platform, has a test kitchen in SoMa where they will be hosting dinners (there’s room for 24 seated). Expect dinners from pro chefs like Jonnatan Leiva of the upcoming Bay and La Cocina chefs, plus unique events like the GastroSalon, which will focus on “the origins of our food obsessions,” and feature curated media and discussions over a gourmet meal.

We’re big fans of pizza over here (um, who isn’t?), and big fans of ~MERIGAN SUB SHOP~, too. So we’re pretty stoked that chef Liza Shaw is doing a pizza pop-up at Merigan on Monday March 2nd from 5pm to 8pm. She’s a pretty serious pizzaiola (remember, she worked at A16 for years), and will be slinging pies along with wings, salad, and desserts all night long.


The interior at Chapel Hill Coffee Co. Photo courtesy Chapel Hill Coffee Co.

A fab reader tipped us off to this new coffee spot downtown, called ~CHAPEL HILL COFFEE CO.~. We got in touch with owner Rafael Vizcaino, who opened the shop with his brother Jorge. They are currently softly open, with a grand opening planned for next month. They are serving Four Barrel coffee, along with pastries from Neighbor Bakehouse and tea from Chamois & Twig. The space was designed by Boor Bridges Architects (Four Barrel, Sightglass) and Kyle Minor Design (Farina Pizzeria), but some of the exterior work is on-going during the soft open phase. Hours are currently Mon-Fri 7am-2pm. 670 Commerical St. at Kearny, 415-948-8119.

Hayes Valley has a new place for boba tea, called ~CUBE TEA~. It’s actually inside the Papabubble candy store, and they’ve partnered with Papabubble to make their “candy cubes,” a flavored spin on the usual boba tapioca. All the tea is brewed in-house and available with either milk or soy. Hours are Tue-Sun 11am-7pm. 488 Fell St. at Laguna, 415-355-1188.

There have been some changes at Italian restaurants in The Richmond, according to The Richmond Blog. Apparently, a new restaurant called ~LUNA ROSSA~ has moved into the former Mescolanza space on Clement. But it’s not a totally new restaurant; the owner, Jeff Piccinini, was one of the original owners of the space, years ago. They sold it to a former employee, but have now moved back in. Piccinini reports that they are currently softly open, and are offering classic menu items along with some new choices. The space has a pizza oven, and they hope to add more creative combinations to their pizza toppings and utilize more seasonal produce on the menu, which you can peek at here. Hours are Sun-Thu 5pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm. 2221 Clement St. at 23rd Ave., 415-379-4910.

This does not, however, mean the end of ~MESCOLANZA~. Liquor license activity shows that they have relocated to a space on Geary at Second Avenue, in the home of the now closed Ichiraku. Their website reports that they will be opening soon, but no word on exactly when. 3750 Geary Blvd. at 2nd Ave.


The kiosk you should be looking for! Photo courtesy of Jim McDonald.

You probably know how I feel about vintage SF restaurant menus (here’s Exhibit A), and it ends up the kind tablehopper reader who lent me a couple of designs from his private collection (like Players Club) contributed to this fun exhibit of SF restaurant memorabilia at the Kiosk Museum.

A former JCDecaux newspaper kiosk is now featuring an exhibit of cool menus from the Sinaloa, Oyster Loaf, and more, on display until April 15th, thanks to a partnership with Community Arts International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting public art. They may expand to an additional kiosk, depending on funding or finding a corporate sponsor. Look for a San Francisco nightclub exhibit later this year. It’s on the southeast corner of Stockton and Post.


Jaynelle St. John in the pie window at Pietisserie. Photo via Facebook.


The Double Standard interior. Photo from Facebook.

Jaynelle St. John has opened a permanent home for ~PIETISSERIE~, according to Berkeleyside Nosh. Her new location is in the Grand Lake neighborhood and is rather small but apparently popular already, according to Facebook. You’ll find full-size pies, mini pies, and pastries on the menu. Hours are Wed-Fri 12pm-8pm, Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 10am-6pm. 1605 2nd Ave. at Foothill, Oakland, 510-859-7437.

Bourbon & Branch alum Ali Tahsini has opened a new bar in the former Kim’s Backyard space on Telegraph, called ~THE DOUBLE STANDARD~, according to Berkeleyside Nosh. Initial Yelp and Chowhound reports are positive, saying the cocktail menu is short but on point, there are good beers on tap, and the backyard is impressive. Hours are daily 5pm-2am. 2424 Telegraph Ave. at 24th St., Oakland, 510-879-7601.

We’ve been tracking this one on Facebook for a while, and it looks like they’ve opened! ~BUMA’S PIZZERIA~ is offering slices and whole pies out of the former Marrow space in Oakland. East Bay Express caught the news that Jon Kosorek would be reopening the space, but with this new, simpler pizza concept. Kosorek hails from Albany, New York, and is offering true New York-style pies here. The crust is crunchy and chewy, and the toppings are simple, he says. They’ve also got wings and some combo meals, and pizzas are available for delivery or pickup. Hours seem to have solidified and are Mon-Sat 11am-9pm, slices only 11:30am-2:30pm. 325 19th St. at Harrison, Oakland, 510-250-9885.

February 17, 2015

A look into the spacious Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company. Photo: Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company.


A look down from the mezzanine into the dining room. Photo: Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company.

We caught up with Hilary Passman Cherniss of Devil’s Teeth Baking Company, and she confirmed that if inspections go well as planned this afternoon, she will be opening her Outer Sunset brewpub, ~SUNSET RESERVOIR BREWING COMPANY~ this Thursday February 19th! We mentioned the project back in March of 2014, which is opening in the former El Grande Produce Market.

The chef is Gavin Braid, who has worked in numerous kitchens, ranging from Mikkeller to Quince. His menu is live on the website, which includes grilled flatbreads and grilled oysters, too, beer-friendly dishes like steamed mussels and chorizo, and four different salads (including a Cobb). Entrées include a roasted half chicken with polenta ($20, from Mary’s); beer-braised pork shank ($26) with sriracha spaetzle, toy box carrots, and chives; and of course there’s a burger (this one has two patties, cheddar included, for $14). He plans to eventually make charcuterie in-house too.

Also of note: Passman Cherniss, a mother of four, wanted to make sure the menu and space is family-friendly, so you’ll find a kid’s menu and a welcoming attitude to little ones too.

The brewer is Aaron Weshnak, formerly with Russian River Brewing Company, who is brewing five house beers: dry Irish stout, wheat, double IPA, extra pale, and rye amber (you can geek out on more beer details here). There is also a full bar, managed by Jeff Koch, who has bartended in many Mission bars.

Geiszler Architects is behind the 160-seat space (Steve Geiszler designed and owns Faultline Brewing). There’s a raised dining area so you can watch the brewhouse and an upstairs mezzanine with its own bar (can you say future party space?). The space is clean but comfortable, and the bar top and tables use reclaimed wood from the ceiling—even the pallets from deliveries got reused.

Hours are Sun-Thu 5pm-10pm for food, and until 12am for drinks; Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm for food, and until 2am for drinks. Look for lunch and brunch soon. 1735 Noriega St. at 24th Ave., 415-571-8452.


The future home of Novy, on the corner of 24th Street and Noe. Photo from Instagram.

A report by Dana Eastland. Back in November we reported that the Noe Valley location of Pasta Pomodoro was closing, and it looked like the landlord of the building was making some major changes to the space. It turns out that the building’s owners, John and Vi Gianaras, have bigger plans for the space.

According to this story from 1997 in The Noe Valley Voice, the Gianarases have owned the building since the 1970s and operated a Greek restaurant there called Panos. They closed Panos in 1997, and Pasta Pomodoro moved in. But now John and Vi’s daughters, Kristen and Kathryn, are taking over the space and opening ~NOVY~ this spring. I had a chance to catch up with Kristen Gianaras on the family’s plans for the new project.

The new restaurant won’t be exactly Greek, but there will be some Greek inspiration on the menu. They’ve been working on it with Vi, who ran the kitchen at Panos, and Kristen says the food will be firmly rooted in seasonal California cuisine, with a Mediterranean influence. One section of the menu is devoted to burgers (including a Greek one), while another is all about big salads (including, yes, a Greek one). They’ve also been developing some pita bread wraps with souvlaki-style grilled skewers, a selection of seasonal pasta dishes, and quesadillas with Mediterranean flavors. In addition, there is a small plates section of the menu, with fried almonds and olives, grilled calamari, grilled halloumi cheese, and Greek-inspired spreads. The aim is for the food to be fun and inviting, and they want the many families of Noe Valley to feel welcomed.

In addition, Novy has a beer and wine license. To keep waste and prices reasonably low, they’ve decided to only offer beer and wine on tap (with the exception of sparkling wines). There are eight wines on tap, available by the glass or carafe (four reds and four whites), though they haven’t yet finalized the list. As for beer, they want to start with local favorites, so you’ll find choices like Anchor Steam, Drake’s hefeweizen, and Lagunitas IPA, as well as a hard cider for gluten-free drinkers.

As for the space, it’s been completely gutted and is receiving a major overhaul. They want it to feel inviting and casual, but also modern and chic. There is a poured concrete floor, lots of warm wood slats (but nothing too rustic or reclaimed looking), and big windows to take full advantage of the corner building’s light. The bar area has been designed to feel more relaxed than other spaces in the restaurant, with high, bistro-style tables at the windows and seating for four at the bar itself. They will also be keeping the corner spot’s popular outdoor seating.

Novy is currently scheduled to open on Tuesday March 10th, barring any delays in construction. When they do open, hours will be Mon-Fri 11am-9:30pm for lunch and dinner, Sat-Sun 9am-9:30pm for brunch and dinner. They may change the hours and add a happy hour in the coming months. 4000 24th St. at Noe, 415-829-8383.


Tacos at Don Pisto’s (photo from website).

There are quite a few switcheroos we’re going to report here, I hope you’ve had your coffee. First up, Pete Mrabe will be moving ~PISTO’S TACOS~ in North Beach to the former Mas Sake space (2030 Lombard Street at Webster) in three to six months, and in the meantime, he’s moving the Pisto’s Tacos daytime/lunch menu into ~DON PISTO’S~ (the last day serving at 1310 Grant Street will be Saturday February 21st). Fans of Pisto’s Tacos burritos, tacos, and quesadillas will be able to find them at Don Pisto’s (510 Union Street) Mon-Fri 11am-3pm, starting March 2nd.

Mrabe will also be moving the pop-up of ~CHUBBY NOODLE~ North Beach that’s inside Amante (570 Green Street) into the Pisto’s Tacos space, and will be tweaking the menu a bit. A few Chubby Noodle staples will remain, like the ramen, plus grilled skewers, soups (like seafood udon), and a raw bar. And beer. That should all be up and running in three months or so. As for Amante, it’s going to have a limited menu for now and Mrabe is going to be launching a new food concept in the space, stand by for more on that.

Over on Potrero Hill, we caught up with Jocelyn Bulow, who shares that he is moving ~CHEZ MAMAN~ from its smaller location (at 1453 18th Street) into the larger ~CHEZ PAPA BISTROT~ space on the corner (at 1401 18th Street). It will have the same menu with a few additions (and larger tables, of course). Taking over the cozy Chez Maman space will either be a chicken rotisserie concept, or something else he is mulling over. Look for Chez Maman to reopen by the first week of March; the new concept will come later in spring.

Another thing to note: ~PAPITO POTRERO~ (317 Connecticut Street at 18th St.) has a new chef, Efren Villalobos (previously Mamacita, Mexico DF, and Marino Restaurant), who is launching his new menu on Wednesday February 18th. Bulow has sold ~PAPITO WEST~ (in Hayes Valley) to the restaurant’s general manager, David Alexander.

Now let’s jump to SoMa, where ~RADIUS RESTAURANT AND CAFE~ will be closing after a five-year run on Saturday February 28th. Owner Jon Whitehead (now the sole operator) is going to reopen the café and back patio as ~CARAFE~, a café by day (smoothies, salads, sandwiches) and a wine bar in the evening (offering small plates, oysters, cheeses, and charcuterie). The wine list will continue to reflect many local winemakers and urban wineries too. Stand by for what’s in store for the restaurant space. 1123 Folsom St. at 7th St., 415-525-3676.


The former home of The Republic on Scott Street. Yelp photo by Kevin Y.

Over in the Marina, we noticed last month some ABC activity for the closed ~THE REPUBLIC~ sports bar space, which listed former Fog City chef Erik Lowe and pastry chef Aaron Toensing (who are also both Bix veterans). We reached out for more details, but they spoke with the Scoop instead, who confirmed the duo plans to open an American restaurant in the 4,000-square-foot space with a full bar; details and a name are forthcoming. Meanwhile, Javier Montano (Grand Café, Limón) has taken over for Lowe at Fog City, with Alex Garay on desserts (via Eater). 3213 Scott St. at Lombard.

Just down the street, more ABC license activity shows that wine bar ~BIN 38~ has been sold to Brian Cassanego (Noir Lounge in Hayes Valley), with a working title of Scotland Yard. Eater says to look for a closure in April, and Cassanego will be opening something similar in its place a few weeks later (the trinity of wine, craft beer, and food will remain). 3232 Scott St. at Chestnut, 415-567-3838.


Exterior photo by Craig Lee.


The interior at Home. Yelp photo by Cheryl W.

Back in October, we broke the news that Melissa Perello (Frances) was taking over the former Baker & Banker space, and now we have learned the name of this new project: ~OCTAVIA~. Additional details (for now): the style of food will be similar to Frances, Perello is having Paul Einbund run the wine program, and there will be a communal table for walk-ins. The downstairs bakery area will be converted back to a private dining room, and the awnings will be taken down to allow for more natural light. We’ll have more in coming weeks on this exciting spring opening. [Scoop] 1701 Octavia St. at Bush.

If the Bay Area restaurant scene is any indication, the tipping model of paying food-service workers is on its way out. High-end restaurants have been making the switch from tipped compensation to other forms of payment. The latest to join the wave is ~BENU~, Eater reports, which has raised the prices on their tasting menu and also eliminated tips. The price tag for dinner for two at Benu is now $228 per person, plus a blanket 20 percent service charge. Wine pairings are $160. Similar restaurants have also raised tasting menu prices and added service charges, including Atelier Crenn ($220 per person plus service charge) and Saison ($398 plus service charge). The linked article has a handy graph to illustrate the changes. This is a loaded issue, for sure, but ultimately the goal is to make sure that all food-service workers are paid fairly, regardless of whether they work in the kitchen or on the floor. As long as these policies aim for that end, we’re all for it.

There is a new café in the Sunset, called ~HOME~. Yelpers report they are serving De La Paz and Four Barrel coffee, and a menu shows pour-over and espresso options, along with some more inventive choices like a coconut vanilla latte. There are also snacks on offer, including toast and pastries. 1222 Noriega St. at 20th Ave., 415-742-0038.

According to Yelp, the new café in the former Mason space has opened. It’s called ~TAVARES~, and appears to be from Ivo Nesralla, who owns a similar spot in Sao Paolo. Initial reports say there are sandwiches, burgers, and salads on the menu, along with some Brazilian dishes like fish cooked in a banana leaf. 300 De Haro St. at 16th St., no phone.


Exterior photo from Slow Club’s Facebook page.

After running the kitchen at ~SLOW CLUB~ since 2008, chef Matt Paul has stepped down. The parting is amicable, according to a note from the restaurant. In his place, two chefs from Slow Club’s kitchen have been promoted, Max Bauer and Marco Pool. Bauer has been the sous chef at Slow Club for more than a year and worked at Blue Plate and Firefly before that; Pool began working here more than 10 years ago and most recently was sous at Serpentine (Slow Club’s sister restaurant). The menu already has some of the pair’s new dishes on offer, and more new items will be appearing soon. Don’t worry, though, many of the restaurant’s classics will remain.

Chef Christopher Kostow of The Restaurant at Meadowood (and holder of three Michelin stars) has left San Francisco Airport’s Centurion Lounge for American Express. To recap, Kostow joined the lounge in November of last year in an effort to bring fresh, seasonal cuisine to travelers at SFO. American Express cardholders have access to the lounge ($50 for regular cards, free for Centurion and Platinum members), and they are reportedly working on a replacement for Kostow. Jim Meehan, of New York’s PDT, is continuing to helm the cocktail menu. [Eater]

Over at the Hotel Monaco, the Kimpton Group has announced the team for the upcoming ~BDK RESTAURANT & BAR~, opening this spring in the former Grand Cafe. Chef Heather Terhune (who is leaving Chicago’s Sable Kitchen & Bar) will head up the kitchen, while Kevin Diedrich (Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen, Bourbon & Branch) will run the bar. 501 Geary St. at Taylor, 415-292-0101.


An array of golden and delicious bagels from Earl’s Bread. Photo: ©


The sunny beer garden at All Good Pizza. Photo: ©

On our gloriously sunny Sunday this past weekend, I was happy to hop in my car and scoot over to ~ALL GOOD PIZZA~ in Bayview, where you can now find another player in our locally made bagel scene: Earl’s Bread (you can read about other locally made bagels in this piece I wrote for

Earl Shaddix is a familiar face to anyone who attends Bayview food events and farmers’ markets, and he has been working on his own bagel for the past year and a half. They’re delicious, with a great flavor and chewy texture.

The flour he uses from Central Milling in Petaluma is fresh-milled from organic, non-GMO wheat growers (he drives up there to pick up the flour every month). He makes the dough 24-36 hours in advance, hand-rolls them, boils them in malt and water, and bakes them in the deck oven at All Good Pizza around 5am on Sundays. You can come by from 8am to 10am for a freshly baked bagel ($10 for 6 or $19/dozen)—slip through the gate on the Flora Grubb side of All Good (Hudson Street) and head to the back door of the pizza truck. You can get plain, poppy seed, sesame, and everything, and Earl also does a dozen of Maldon salt-onion each week as well. Since he’s just making 10 dozen every Sunday, they usually run out by noon.

At 10am, All Good opens for brunch, and that’s when you can get a bagel with cream cheese ($3) or a plate with lox ($8.50). And a mimosa. And one of their breakfast pizzas. And a beer. Yes, you have options. Their sunny beer garden is full of picnic tables, and don’t forget you can pick up a cappuccino or whatever you like at the Ritual Café inside Flora Grubb Gardens, just around the corner. 1605 Jerrold St. at 3rd St.


Oysters on the half shell at Piccino. Photo from Facebook.

On Sunday February 22nd, enjoy (another hopefully) sunny afternoon in Dogpatch at ~PICCINO~’s annual oyster party. Beginning at 11am, they’ll be serving oysters both raw and barbecued, all from Two X Sea. There will also be lots of rosé available by the glass. Oysters will be available from 11am until they run out.

There is also a new place in town for $1 happy hour oysters: ~FERRY PLAZA SEAFOOD~. The happy hour menu includes a fantastic oyster selection at various prices, plus a daily changing $1 option. There are also glasses of wine for $5, Anchor Steam for $4, and other bites to try (like their fantastic mussels and frites). 653 Union St. at Broadway, 415-274-2561.


A look into the bar area and dining room at A16 Rockridge. Photo: ©

The ramen takeover continues, with the news from Scoop that Kyle Itani of Hopscotch is opening a ramen offshoot called ~ITANI RAMEN~ later this year. Itani only just signed the lease, though it won’t be opening until fall at the earliest. Once they do, you can expect a small menu, with only a few types of ramen on offer each evening, not unlike Itani’s Yonsei pop-ups from a couple of years ago. He wants to keep the project focused but casual, with an emphasis on fun. There is also talk of late-night hours, yes! 1738 Telegraph Ave. at 18th St., Oakland.

Enjoy this year’s early spring weather with the primavera aperitivo hour at ~A16 ROCKRIDGE~ every evening from 5pm to 6:30pm. There will be daily specials on batch cocktails ($6), Italian beer ($3), and wine by the glass ($6-8), as well as daily changing snacks ($4-6) like meatballs with tomato sauce, Grana Padano, and basil, or burrata with dragoncello, pistachio, sea salt, and crostini. There will also be complimentary nibbles like cheese, charcuterie, and nuts. Aperitivo hour is available in the bar only.

As of Sunday February 15th, there’s a new hot spot for eating outdoors in Oakland, Bites at the Lake. It’s happening on Sundays from 12pm to 3pm, in the Lakeview Library parking lot. Participating food trucks will change weekly, but look for folks like Liba Falafel, Fist of Flour, and Doc’s of the Bay; follow along on Twitter and Facebook for updates. The area offers plenty of lawn seating at Lake Merritt, so bring chairs and a blanket for picnic perfection. 550 El Embarcadero at Lakeshore, Oakland.

February 10, 2015

The interior of Ginto Izakaya Japonaise. Yelp photo by Elmo S.

There’s a massive new project on Market Street from Japanese company Ramla, called ~GINTO IZAKAYA JAPONAISE~. Eater reports that the restaurant corporation currently has more than 100 eateries around the world. This it their first outpost of the Ginto concept in the United States, though their Oto-Oto and Gyoro-Gyoro in Southern California are reportedly quite similar. Apparently, they’ve got a little bit of everything going on: yakitori, a robata grill, sushi and sashimi, ramen, and tempura, all made by chefs brought over from Tokyo. The aim is to offer an “authentic” experience, similar to what you’d find in Japan. Like we mentioned, the space is huge, clocking in at more than 6,800 square feet with room for more than 200 people. They’ve also got a full liquor license, which means you’ll find cocktails, Japanese whisky, sake, and beer. For now, Ginto Izakaya is open for dinner only, but all-day service is coming in mid-March. Hours are daily 4pm-10pm. 658 Market St. at Geary, 415-530-2466.


Tea-smoked duck from Five Happiness. Yelp photo by Kevin W.


The cheerful dining room at Marla Bakery. Photo courtesy of Marla Bakery.

After six months of being closed for remodeling, I’m happy to report ~FIVE HAPPINESS~ has reopened. (Every time I’d drive by, I was looking to see if they were open yet.) The Shanghainese/Taiwanese restaurant has been open since 1975, and genial owner Bill Yang says they’re happy to be back. Fans of their hot soy milk and doughnuts on the weekend should be pleased. Look for some new dishes on their banquet menus too. 4142 Geary Blvd. at 6th Ave., 415-387-1234.

And here’s more news from ~MARLA BAKERY~: after their Valentine’s Day dinner service this February 14th (which is kind of an awesome menu for just $50), they will be temporarily shelving dinner service. Newly hired chef de cuisine Duncan Holmes is leaving SF. Taking the place of dinner service will be some upcoming pop-ups, including Workshop from Rachel Sillcocks (Range) and Kristina Compton (Range), the next one is Monday February 23rd. And Amy and Joe are going to be busy with their new baby, who is expected to arrive in June (congrats!). One more item of note: Saturday brunch is coming on February 28th, heehaw! 3619 Balboa St. at 37th Ave., 415-742-4379.


The exterior of L&G Vietnamese Sandwich. Photo: Rebecca Kinney ©

Tablehopper intern Rebecca Kinney caught the news that there is a new banh mi shop in the Tenderloin, called ~L&G VIETNAMESE SANDWICH~. It just opened on January 29th, and she reports that the service is friendly, the vegetables fresh and crisp, and the interior space is clean. A photo of the menu reveals that all sandwiches are $4, and a small selection of appetizers are also available. Hours are daily 7am-5pm. 602 Eddy St. at Larkin, 415-345-1878.

There’s a new taker for the former Cuco’s space in the Lower Haight, called ~EMMANUEL CAFE~. Hoodline reports that owner Irene Parada Quinteros will offer plenty of coffee, along with Salvadorean and Yucatecan food like pupusas, cochinita pibil, and breakfast items. 488 Haight St. at Fillmore.

Acai bowls are now available on Polk Street at ~BASIK CAFE~, according to Scoop. This is the first mainland location of the Hawaiian café, specializing in smoothies and bowls of fruit and granola made with the Brazilian berry. Hours are Tue-Sun 8am-4pm. 1958 Polk St. at Pacific.


The interior at Picnic on Third. Photo courtesy Picnic on Third.

For a new brunch, check out ~PICNIC ON THIRD~ every Sunday from 10am to 2pm. Owners Natalia Bushyager and Leigh Loper will be serving brunch fare like chile-braised pork with sage polenta, collard greens, and poached eggs, or try Leigh’s pancakes made with custom-milled four-grain flour from The Mill and served with blood orange syrup and cultured butter. Check out the full menu here, and note you can also get mimosas, coffee from HalfWit, and espresso from Contraband. 493 3rd St. at Bryant, 415-590-7121.

Now you can get dinner at ~JUST FOR YOU CAFE~ on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30pm to 10pm. The menu includes lots of new dishes, including a chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, black-eyed pea cakes with kale and Brussels sprout slaw, and buttermilk fried chicken. They’ve also added new beer and wine choices to pair with the new menu. 732 22nd St. at Tennessee, 415-647-3033.


The Moroccan Wes, a recent special at Wes Burger. Photo courtesy Wes Burger.

Burger maestro ~WES BURGER~ has been doing Wednesday pop-ups up at Mojo Bicycle Café for a while now. For the month of February, Wes Rowe will be switching things up a bit, with a different style of burger each week (still on Wednesdays only). This week is the Return of Uncle Brother’s Chicken, a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with pickle slaw and sambal aioli, followed by the Breakfast Wes Burger on February 18th, a pork-beef burger patty (reminiscent of Texas breakfast sausage) with bourbon- and maple-glazed bacon, an egg, and hash browns. The final week will be the Juicy Lucy on February 25th, which is a double all-brisket patty burger with bourbon caramelized onions and cheese. Follow along for updates on each week’s burger here. 639-A Divisadero St. at Grove.


No more communal tables: the new banquette seating in the front of Barbacco. Photo: ©


The new look at The Pub at Ghirardelli Square. Photo: Tev Lee Photography.

A few places around town are starting the year with some freshening up and remodeling. So if you walk into any of these places and do a double take, now you know. First up, ~BARBACCO~ has changed their front dining area. The former communal tables are gone (owner Umberto Gibin explains diners in the Financial District don’t like to have their conversations overhead so easily by strangers), and now there is banquette seating instead, with tables for two to six. (Interestingly, there are the same number of seats.) All the tabletops throughout the restaurant are black slate as well.

Next, ~THE PUB AT GHIRARDELLI SQUARE~ has really lightened things up, moving away from the Irish pub feeling and more toward the rustic/industrial side, thanks to Oakland’s SRG Architects and seating upgrades by Big Daddy’s Antiques. Owner Scott Broccoli also added some new menu items and cocktails. 851 Beach St. at Polk, 415-351-0500.

~MAYES~ on Polk also got a new look, and a new management team too: Matt Corvi (Velvet Lounge), Johnny “Love” Metheny (Johnny Love’s), and Nick Pigott (The Pigott Group). The look is a bit clubby-meets-Gothic cathedral in the back, with some dramatic lighting for the dance area. Swing by every Thursday and Friday for happy hour, and Johnny “Love” Metheny will be taking over the bar making cocktails and serving his very own Kobe beef burger. Happy hour drink specials include $5 draft beers and $6 well drinks. 1233 Polk St. at Fern, 415-885-1233.


The staff at the new Blue Bottle in Tokyo celebrates. Photo from Facebook.

~BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE~ has just opened their first café and roastery in Tokyo’s Kiyosumi area, and now they have another exciting project under way: Blue Bottle and ~TARTINE BAKERY & CAFE~ are partnering on a bakery and café in Tokyo’s Daikanyama district. SF artisan OGs James Freeman (Blue Bottle) and Tartine’s Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt have talked about partnering in the past, so now they are bringing the idea to fruition. The 2,000-square-foot space is due to open this spring.

Fans of Santa Cruz’s Verve Coffee Roasters are going to be able to enjoy Verve’s first SF café at Church and Market in the former Veo Optics. Hoodline mentions Fuse Architecture will be designing the space (they also designed Verve’s roastery). We’ll share more when we hear back from Verve. 2109 Market St./210 Church St.

Another update from Hoodline: ~REPOSE COFFEE~ is back on track and should reportedly be opening sometime this month in the former Magpie and Rye space on Divis. Owner James Grogan also has a Repose in Sebastopol. They will be serving Ritual Coffee, along with panini, salads, and quesadillas (including a gluten-free version), plus treats from Sweetmue. And yes, it’s just across the street from where Sightglass Coffee will be opening their upcoming café this summer. The neighborhood is gonna be wired. 262 Divisadero St. at Page.


The deli case at Communitē Table. Photo from Facebook.

Intrepid Chowhounders caught the opening of ~KOUZINA GREEK STREET FOOD~ in Oakland’s Montclair neighborhood last month. The “street food” seems to refer to souvlaki and gyros, which dominate the menu along with daily specials like moussaka and roast leg of lamb. Hours are Mon-Sat 11am-9pm and Sun 11am-8pm. 2064 Antioch Ct. at Mountain, Oakland, 510-339-1020.

Back in August, Berkeleyside reported on the upcoming ~COMMUNITĒ TABLE~. It’s now open, according to East Bay Express, serving seasonal salads, sides, and entrées. The space offers seating on the outdoor patio, and items can be selected from a case for either dine-in or takeout. Hours are Mon-Thu 11am-7pm, Fri-Sat 11am-8pm, closed Sun. 4171 MacArthur Blvd. at Maybelle, Oakland, 510-482-2114.

East Bay Express is also reporting on an unfortunate closure in West Oakland: ~B-SIDE BBQ~ from chef Tanya Holland has closed. It’s not all bad news, though. According to a note on the restaurant’s website, Holland will reopen the space as B-Side Baking Co., an offshoot of the bakery at nearby Brown Sugar Kitchen run by Celeste Scott. They will be serving coffee, baked goods both sweet and savory, and the neighboring Barn will continue to function as a music venue. 3303 San Pablo Ave. at 33rd St., Oakland.

The SF|Noir Wine & Food Festival is kicking off on Wednesday February 25th and bringing many special events to the Bay Area through Sunday March 1st. The various events will explore black cuisine, culture, and contributions to the arts during the last week of February, which is Black History Month. There is a lot you can check out here, including a special Shrimp, Grits, and Greens event on Wednesday February 25th at 7pm at Impact Hub in Oakland, with chefs from restaurants including Miss Ollie’s, Picán, and Flora. Don’t miss it! Tickets for events vary in price, starting at $10, or consider purchasing an all-access pass for $80. Locations vary.

February 6, 2015

Okay, so this exact cocktail isn’t on our tour, but it should still make you thirsty. Photo courtesy of Anchor Distilling Company.


There is just one ticket left for the tablehopper cocktail crawl through North Beach with Anchor Distilling Company this Saturday February 7th! We’re kicking things off early at 5:30pm, so you can still raise Cain later in the evening if you’re so inclined (we should be all wrapped up by 8:15pm or so). I was originally calling this a “winter warmer,” and since that groundhog gave us six more weeks of winter and we have a rainy weekend (yay), I’d say the name is on point. Let’s get our heat on!

We’re going to start the progressive night at the brand-new Devil’s Acre, where we’ll kick things off with a classic SF cocktail, Pisco Punch, made with BarSol Pisco. Then it’ll be time to scoot across Columbus to Comstock Saloon, where we can snack on their fab pimento cheese while they prepare another classic, the Martinez, made with Anchor Distilling Old Tom gin and Luxardo maraschino. And to keep you from getting hungry (hello, this is a tablehopper tour), we’ll be served pot roast poutine by chef Ronnie New. Oh yeah.

All aboard, it’s time for the last stop: 15 Romolo, where we’ll sit down for further savory munchies (mushroom flatbread) and their Sioux City Milk Punch made with Old Potrero whiskey. I know this is a Barbary Coast kind of night, but you don’t think I’d be uncivilized and leave you without dessert, do you? It’s time for some boozy Luxardo Amaretto di Saschira bread pudding!

The whole evening is just $65, all-inclusive (I KNOW), and the fine folks at Anchor Distilling will be sending you home with a gift bag! Sweet. There will also be a quick educational component at each stop, talking about the history of the drinks, spirits, and places we’re visiting.

You can purchase tickets on Sosh—but like I said, there is only one left! There will be 20 of us total, with plenty of solo attendees, so don’t be shy! And I repeat, it’s just $65. (To be clear: any additional cocktails are your responsibility. And for goddess’s sake, you better take a cab.)

We’re meeting at the first stop, Devil’s Acre, at 5:30pm: 256 Columbus Ave. at Broadway. Don’t be late! I look forward to seeing you there. Let’s raise our glass—filled three times with quality spirits from Anchor Distilling Company’s portfolio—to some great North Beach destinations together. Cheers!

February 3, 2015

Okay, so this exact cocktail isn’t on our tour, but it should still make you thirsty. Photo courtesy of Anchor Distilling Company.


Just before I left town for Hong Kong, I mentioned I had an awesome night on the town in the works, specifically a tablehopper cocktail crawl through North Beach with Anchor Distilling Company! So, are you ready to join us this Saturday February 7th? We’re kicking things off early at 5:30pm, so you can still raise Cain later in the evening if you’re so inclined (we should be all wrapped up by 8:15pm or so). I was originally calling this a “winter warmer,” and since that groundhog gave us six more weeks of winter and we have a rainy weekend in the forecast (yay!), I’d say the name is on point. Let’s get our heat on!

We’re going to start the progressive night at the brand-new Devil’s Acre, where we’ll kick things off with a classic SF cocktail, Pisco Punch, made with BarSol Pisco. Then it’ll be time to scoot across Columbus to Comstock Saloon, where we can snack on their fab pimento cheese while they prepare another classic, the Martinez, made with Anchor Distilling Old Tom gin and Luxardo maraschino. And to keep you from getting hungry (hello, this is a tablehopper tour), we’ll be served pot roast poutine by chef Ronnie New. Oh yeah.

All aboard, it’s time for the last stop: 15 Romolo, where we’ll sit down for further savory munchies (mushroom flatbread) and their Sioux City Milk Punch made with Old Potrero whiskey. I know this is a Barbary Coast kind of night, but you don’t think I’d be uncivilized and leave you without dessert, do you? It’s time for some boozy Luxardo Amaretto di Saschira bread pudding!

The whole evening is just $65, all-inclusive (I KNOW), and the fine folks at Anchor Distilling will be sending you home with a gift bag! Sweet. There will also be a quick educational component at each stop, talking about the history of the drinks, spirits, and places we’re visiting.

You can purchase tickets on Sosh—but tickets are very limited, FYI! There will just be 20 of us total, and half of the spots are already taken up, so hop to it! And I repeat, they’re just $65. (To be clear: any additional cocktails are your responsibility. And for goddess’s sake, you better take a cab.)

We’re meeting at the first stop, Devil’s Acre, at 5:30pm: 256 Columbus Ave. at Broadway. Don’t be late! I look forward to seeing you there. Let’s raise our glass—filled three times with quality spirits from Anchor Distilling Company’s portfolio—to some great North Beach destinations together. Cheers!


Chef-owner Aaron London. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux.


The airy dining room. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux.


The Ms. Brown cocktail at AL’s Place. Photo: ©


Mr. Blue (Cardamaro, Vergano Americano, Dolin Blanc, and mandarin bitters). Photo: ©

Opening this Friday February 6th for dinner is chef-owner Aaron London’s long-time-coming solo restaurant, ~AL’S PLACE~. After his time at Ubuntu in Napa, the chef has been looking for a space in SF to call his own, and as we previously mentioned, he has transformed the former South End Grill ‘n’ Bar on Valencia.

It’s now an airy and cheerful spot, with a light turquoise floor that is reminiscent of a hue you’d find on a fridge from the 1950s. The exterior is a bright cornflower blue—you can’t miss it. There are plenty of windows (with lots of light coming in, thanks to the south-facing orientation), with vibrant artwork on the walls by Jessica Fleming. There are 45 seats (eye-catching and colorful Jean Prouvé replicas) matched with plywood tabletops, plus a bar/chef counter in the back (featuring stools by Sean Dix and originally created for YardBird in Hong Kong, which I was recently sitting in), and there are 20 outdoor seats next to some raised beds as well, which will come in handy when brunch launches in a few weeks. Eventually there will be some headlamps added to make outside more cozy too. Because, SF.

London will obviously rocking the NorCal seasonal, local, organic, vegetable-centric tip, with plenty of attention on seafood, and he also wants the menu to strike a note of affordability for the neighborhood as well. The menu is broken down into composed dishes, about four or five in each section: smaller bites, warm/hot, cool, and then sides, which are actually the meat dishes (the rest of the menu is seafood- and vegetable-heavy). Small bites are priced around $5, composed dishes between $11-$18 per dish, and sides $15-$20.

Dishes include lightly cured trout, pickled green fig, torn potatoes, fava leaf; black cod crusted with black lime and roasted black lime powder with winter citrus and sunchoke curry; and a side of hanger steak with crab shell butter and sherry vinegar. The menu should be live on the site any day now. Look for that oh-so-SF balance between precise food and a casual atmosphere.

A unique component to AL’s is they may only have a beer and wine license (with a well-selected wine list that isn’t too spendy either—Sam Bogue from Central Kitchen consulted on it—plus plenty of Belgians on the beer list), but the team really took time to develop a low-ABV cocktail menu, thanks to bar manager Alex Phillips, who London worked with while he was working behind the bar at Locanda (he was also the bar manager at Camino).

I was given a sneak peek of the low-proof cocktail list, which are all named after characters in Reservoir Dogs (and no, one of them is not Victor the Cleaner). You can start your meal with a couple of spritzes, like Mr. White (Cocchi Bianco, prosecco or cava, orange bitters, and fruit, like blood orange), served over a big, gorgeous hunk of hand-cut, clear ice. A fuller-bodied choice is Mr. Pink, made with Cappelletti, Cocchi Rosa, and seltzer.

I was quite taken with the sherry cocktails, especially Ms. Brown (manzanilla, Dolin Dry, Cocchi Torino, grapefruit bitters), while the nutty Mr. Blonde really highlights the oloroso on the finish, with Bonal and five-year-old cherry bitters that Phillips just found in his cabinet, providing some oomph to the drink.

You can finish your night with Mr. Blue, which has a touch of bitterness and a richer style thanks to the Cardamaro, plus Vergano Americano, Dolin Blanc, and mandarin bitters. All are $10. Here’s the beverage menu.

There are also a couple of fantastic nonalcoholic options, including the tangerine and vanilla cream soda (which features a half ounce of cream and tastes just like a 50-50 bar in a liquid form), and a concoction made from pomegranate syrup and blood orange, with lemon and seltzer.

London was really hands-on in all facets of the restaurant, from custom designing the aprons with Alternative Apparel (including diagonal pockets for tweezers and more in the front so they don’t fall out when bending over, a special phone pocket, a custom fit around the neck with snaps, and a bit of stretchy material as well) to customizing the bar rail (inspired by things he learned while bartending) to making a really comfortable dish pit (London was once a dishwasher). His kitchen is Tokyo-small and really tight but features many design shortcuts and improvements. London is happy to have some folks in his kitchen he has worked with before. You’ll also spy GM Liz Subauste working her magic on the floor. The team is ready and raring to go.

Opening Friday February 6th. Open Wed-Sun 5:30pm-10pm (and until 11pm Fri-Sat). 1499 Valencia St. at 26th St., 415-416-6136.


The dining room. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography, courtesy of Urban Daddy.

One of the bigger openings this year has arrived: ~MOURAD~, logging in at an eye-popping 258 seats in the historic 140 New Montgomery/Pacific Bell building designed by Timothy Pflueger (which also houses Trou Normand). This is chef-owner Mourad Lahlou’s second restaurant under his sole ownership, his first being Aziza, which he opened in 2001 in the Outer Richmond.

Any Aziza regulars can attest how the self-taught chef’s cuisine has evolved over the years, and this new project will continue his exploration of where Northern California ingredients and traditional Moroccan dishes intersect. A sample menu has items that read simply (“Mackerel: herb jam, rye panisse, puntarelle, sorrel”), but one look at images of his modern Moroccan dishes reveals a complexity of preparation, presentation, and flavors. There is also a tasting menu for $150.

Lahlou has brought on chef de cuisine Chris Kajioka, who worked for Ron Siegel when he helmed the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, and later for Per Se in New York, Aziza, Willows Inn on Lummi Island in Washington State, and Vintage Cave in Hawaii. He has a contemporary French style with a Japanese sensibility. Look for more on the native Hawaiian’s upcoming project, Restaurant CK, later this year. 

Joining the team is Master Sommelier Alan Murray, formerly at Masa’s; cocktails are by Christ Aivaliotis and Troy Bayless of Wizard Oil; and Melissa Chou (Aziza) will also run the pastry show at this location.

Lundberg Design designed the contemporary two-level space. You’ll see Moroccan influences and motifs (a great deal was inspired by a trip Lundberg and Lahlou took to Marrakesh) paired with modern touches like a suspended steel and glass wine bridge that houses a backlit wine cellar. There’s also a spacious lounge and bar area.

Open nightly for dinner 5:30pm-10pm. 140 New Montgomery at Mission, 415-660-2500.


The dining room at Sous Beurre Kitchen. Photo by Patricia Chang.


The open kitchen and dining room. Photo by Patricia Chang.

A report by Dana Eastland. After months of popping up at Sugarlump coffee shop, chef Michael Mauschbaugh is opening a brick-and-mortar location of ~SOUS BEURRE KITCHEN~ on Thursday February 5th. The new spot is just down the street from Sugarlump, at 24th Street and Potrero, and offers cuisine inspired by Provence, but with Northern California ingredients and flair. The name translates to “in butter” in French, which is definitely a good sign.

The menu will change daily, with à la carte options, or you can opt for the five-course tasting menu. Sample winter dishes include pressed breast of pheasant with turnip, wild mushrooms, spelt risotto, and jus; or Mendocino uni with consommé, celeriac timbale, mustard greens, and house-cured trout roe. Look for pasta dishes and charcuterie on the menu, as well, along with classics like beef tartare, bouillabaisse, and bavette steak.

Sous Beurre Kitchen is also one of many local restaurants to do away with the traditional tipping system for service. Instead, labor costs and taxes will be built into the price of each dish, allowing all employees to be compensated fairly. As for the space, it was designed by Said-Jon Eghbal, whose previous work includes Rich Table and The Monk’s Kettle. The 74-seater is intended to be approachable, with soft gray walls, French oak, white marble, and brass elements, as well as antiques and objects found during Mauschbaugh’s trips to France. There is also a communal table was was custom-built by Mauschbaugh’s father out of French oak.

The doors will officially open on Thursday February 5th, and hours will be Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10pm. 2704 24th St. at Potrero, 415-874-9831.


Azalina’s laksa with hand-pulled noodles (and it’s vegan!). Photo: ©


The opening menu board at Azalina’s. Photo: Johanna Mansor.


An opening day visit by chef Alex Ong means big smiles. Photo: Johanna Mansor.

Congrats to Azalina Eusope, who opened her first brick-and-mortar spot this past Monday, ~AZALINA’S~, which we told you was coming in a story we broke a year ago. She is in the new Market on Market (“in the Twitter building”) that we wrote about a couple of weeks ago.

You can come by for her handcrafted and soulful Malaysian dishes, loaded with bright and complex flavors and colors and California touches, from 11am-10pm. She is a fifth-generation Mamak street food vendor and is proud to make her sauces by hand, as well as her noodles, dumplings, and more (they will be made at and transported from her commissary kitchen).

The opening menu includes her incredible laksa, Malaysian pineapple tea salad, hokkien mee (handmade noodles with shrimp), roasted chicken rice, and nasi lemak with beef curry. There’s also a pear iced tea, and fermented sticky rice with coconut cream for dessert.

There is a small counter with some seats along the window and another overlooking the kitchen, and there is some outdoor seating on a back patio garden area, which also has a roof. Look for some fun outdoor events in the future, like movie screenings and bonfires. 1355 Market St. at 10th St.


Exterior photo from the now-closed Café des Amis Facebook page.

A bunch of new projects are coming down the pike—2015 is coming in hot! First up, here’s the great news that Kim Alter (previously Haven, Plum), who will still be working in conjunction with DPG (Daniel Patterson Group), has found her SF location: in the former Stelline and Las Estrellas in Hayes Valley. Scoop reports it will have around 40 seats, and she’ll be offering a casual tasting menu. Stand by for more details in the coming months—she is also hoping to score a liquor license as well. 330 Gough St. at Hayes.

I’ve been wondering who was finally going to take over the Thermidor space in Mint Plaza, and it’s chef Jason Fox of Commonwealth, who is working with restaurant consultant Timothy Felkner (Vigilante Hospitality). Scoop reports it will be a casual format (featuring small plates and larger dishes too), with more Mediterranean flavors and full liquor. Look for a summer opening. 8 Mint Plaza.

There’s a new taker for the former Café des Amis space in Cow Hollow: restaurateur Adriano Paganini (Beretta, Lolinda, Delarosa, Starbelly, El Techo, Uno Dos Tacos, and Super Duper Burgers). While there aren’t any details to release about the concept just yet, expect a gathering spot that will be more casual than Des Amis, and there’s talk of a spring/early summer opening. 2000 Union St. at Buchanan.

Last Thursday, Presidio’s Transit Cafe closed it doors, according to Scoop. The new taker for the space is none other than Traci Des Jardins, who’s in the middle of a bit of a Presidio takeover, with her recent openings, Arguello and The Commissary. Look for coffee, pastries, and other quick takeout options once the new spot opens. There’s no name yet, but in the interim a food truck called “The Transition” will be parked out front Monday through Friday from 7am to 2:30pm. 215 Lincoln Blvd. at Graham.

~IKE’S PLACE~ is continuing their expansion into the East Bay with a new location in Emeryville. The new spot is set to open this summer in the upcoming Hollis@Powell housing development. Then, here in San Francisco, owner Ike Shehadeh is opening a spot on Mission Street between 18th and 19th, serving pizzas and burgers in addition to sandwiches. Hat tip to Scoop.

Shah Bahreyni and Sam Ramadan of Marin County restaurants Boca Tavern and Boca Pizzeria have nabbed a restaurant space at 100 Brannan Street. The former home of Sutro, Slanted Door, and La Suite will become Caputo, according to Scoop, with a full liquor license and California-style Italian food. It’s a big space, with 180 seats (60 of them will be on the patio). No word on a timeline yet. 100 Brannan St. at Embarcadero.


Colin Dewey, the new chef at Florio. Photo by Devin Moore.

Exciting news: ~FLORIO~ on Fillmore has a new chef, the talented Colin Dewey. He most recently worked at Zero Zero with Bruce Hill, and returned this winter from a cooking sabbatical in Italy. Prior to Zero Zero, he worked with Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batali. His new, Italian-focused menu at Florio will launch on February 16th, with housemade pastas and his own take on bollito misto. Florio classics like steak frites and roast chicken will remain, though the general focus of the menu will turn toward Italy, not France. Dewey plans to use local and seasonal ingredients, and everything will be made in-house, including sausages, preserves, and gelato.

And in case you were wondering where Nicholas Pallone, the previous chef at Florio, was headed, Eater just reported that he is opening his own spot on Fillmore, just a few blocks down from Florio in the Pizza Inferno space. His new place will be called ~ACADEMY BAR & KITCHEN~ and will focus on Neapolitan-style pizzas cooked in the wood-fired oven. He’ll be doing everything in-house (anyone sensing a theme here?), including curing his own charcuterie, brewing vinegar, and milling flour. Inferno is currently slated to close March 1st, and Academy plans to open in mid-April. In the meantime, Pallone has a Kickstarter campaign going to raise $50,000 to help with construction. 1800 Fillmore St. at Sutter, 415-775-1800.

~GAME~, the restaurant from Sachin Chopra and Shoshana Wolff (All Spice San Mateo) that opened in November, has a new chef. Opening executive chef Zack Freitas has left, and Chopra himself will be running the kitchen from now on. A press release says the split is amicable, and Chopra will be launching a new menu in the next couple of weeks. Chopra says, “I’m happy to be able to execute my original vision for Game.” As for Freitas, there’s no word as to where he might land next. 648 Bush St. at Powell, 415-874-9481.

North Beach’s ~ROSE PISTOLA~ has a new executive chef: Steve Walker. Walker, who previously worked as chef de cuisine at Corso in Berkeley, plans to honor the restaurant’s history while also bringing some fresh perspective to the daily changing menu. The restaurant will continue to focus on housemade pastas and whole animal butchery, with new dishes like house-cured bresaola and braised artichokes alla romana. 532 Columbus Ave. at Union, 415-399-0499.

~CITIZEN FOX~, the upcoming brewery and beer incubator, has found an executive chef. Kevin Schuder, whose previous experience includes Millennium, Izakaya Yuzuki, AQ, and his very own vegetarian and vegan pop-up in Oakland, Veg 388. The project, which has lots of local names involved, including restaurateur Deborah Blum (partner in Beretta and Starbelly), master cicerone and brewmaster Rich Higgins, bar consultant Chris Lane (Ramen Shop), and general manager Danielle Seiple, is currently slated to open this summer. 2205 Mission St. at 18th St.


Some of the Millennium crew in the restaurant’s dining room. Photo from Facebook.

After more than 20 years in business, high-end vegan restaurant ~MILLENNIUM~ is closing. A note explaining the closure mentions that the Hotel California space was recently purchased by Seattle-based Pineapple Hospitality, and they will not be renewing the restaurant’s lease. However, chef-partner Eric Tucker and general manager Alison Bagby are apparently planning to open a new restaurant with a plant-based focus somewhere else in Bay Area, either in San Francisco or the East Bay. Millennium’s last day is April 30th, so you have a couple of months to get in there before they close for good. As for Tucker and Bagby’s plans, we’ll let you know when we hear anything.

While I was away in Hong Kong, a few tablehopper pals let me know that Charles Phan’s British pub concept, ~THE COACHMAN~, was going to close on Friday January 30th. The restaurant opened last March and struggled to find a niche, until shuttering. No word on what Phan’s plans are for the space in SoMa, which also used to house Heaven’s Dog. 1148 Mission St. at 7th St.

Another punch for our city’s vegans: Eater reports that vegetarian and vegan restaurant ~SOURCE~ has closed. After four years of business, it seems they simply weren’t able to make ends meet. Business partners and brothers Mitchell and Adam Fox will continue to run their Berkeley outpost, ~SOURCE MINI~. 11 Division St. at De Haro.


The fire damage at Mission Market, which housed Wise Sons commissary and many other businesses. Photo from Instagram.

A report by Dana Eastland. As many of you have probably heard by now, last Wednesday January 28th a terrible fire destroyed a building at the corner of 22nd Street and Mission. The building had apartments on the third floor, offices on the second, and many businesses housed on the ground floor, and the repercussions have been, simply, awful. One resident of the building, Mauricio Orellana, was killed in the blaze, and dozens of long-term Mission residents were displaced by the fire. That would be tragedy enough for the community, but the businesses on the ground floor have also suffered greatly.

Mission Local, whose offices were destroyed on the second floor, has a moving tribute to Orellana, the victim of the fire, as well as a comprehensive list of charity funds and the various ways you can help. Anything you can offer helps.

As for the businesses affected, we’re hearing the most about the commissary kitchen for Wise Sons Deli, which included a bagel machine Leo Beckerman and Evan Bloom purchased and were testing out for production. The pair is quick to note that they are recovering, and many residents and businesses were more severely affected. Their 24th Street and Contemporary Jewish Museum locations are still open, and they are working hard to get their baked goods back in production. Other businesses destroyed in the fire include locally owned small businesses Antojitos Salvadorenos Aminta and La Altena.

Just yesterday we got the word that hopper favorite Los Shucos had to close as well. Owner Sofia Keck had hoped her business was safe (she’s in the adjoining building, not the one that burned) and had planned to offer her kitchen to businesses affected by the fire. However, after a walkthrough with city and insurance inspectors, it became clear that water damage had essentially destroyed the space. They are currently closed until further notice.

UPDATE: Sofia Keck wrote to let us know that while she is rebuilding her shop, she has secured space in a commercial kitchen and will be continuing her catering operation. She is also going to be donating ten percent of all proceeds from direct catering will be donated to business owners affected by the fire because she’s amazing like that. Book your catering events here and help this community rebuild.

It’s been a difficult time for businesses in this part of the Mission. Just a few months ago, a fire on Mission Street between 22nd and 23rd destroyed several buildings and businesses, and many are yet to reopen. Again, anything you can do to help the displaced residents helps, and support your local businesses by eating at them as soon as they reopen! We’ll let you know when that is, of course.

Our thoughts are with all the families and businesses affects, and our hearts go out to the family and friends of Mauricio Orellana at this time of overwhelming loss.


The killer breakfast sandwich at Lou’s. Photo: ©

~LOU’S CAFE~, the Inner Richmond sandwich shop that rocks an excellent spread and killer breakfast sandwich, has opened a second location in Parkside. Initial Yelp reports say that menu is the same as the Geary location, but there’s a bit more space to spread out and enjoy your tasty sandwich. 1508 Taraval St. at 25th Ave., 415-682-4083.

The former Pop-Up Cafe location in the Tenderloin has become ~TYCOON THAI~. The primarily Thai place also specializes in Laotian dishes, according to early Yelp reports. It looks like the interior has a spare, modern look, with some neat modern graphic design. 620 O’Farrell St. at Leavenworth, 415-796-3391.

For good falafel downtown, check out newly opened ~THE FLYING FALAFEL~. The tiny outpost offers vegan falafel sandwiches, along with lots of gluten-free options. Yelpers are reporting that the owner is friendly and the pita bread is warmed in a steamer to keep it warm and fluffy. 1051 Market St. at 6th St., 415-964-1003.

The hopper noticed ~KISU~, a new Japanese spot in the Financial District. It’s focused on sushi bowls, at least according to Yelpers. It sounds like you create your own bowl using a list of choices, including rice, sauces, and fish. 493 Pine St. at Kearny, 415-678-7722.

A new Italian café in North Beach tweeted us about their opening in December. It’s called ~CAFÉ DIMMI TUTTO~ and is the project of Grace LaGoce and Francesco Signorile. They want to offer excellent espresso, with an Italian sense of hospitality, where customers are encouraged to linger and talk to their barista; for more information on their vision, check out this article. They’re importing Saicaf beans from Italy and have even created a special ice cream and coffee concoction called the “dimmi cremino,” using a special blending machine, according to this article on the new spot. Hours are Mon-Fri 8am-6pm. 473 Broadway St. at Kearny, 415-987-0714.

San Francisco will soon have a new place for Burmese food, this time on Polk Street. Chowhounders and Good Bad SF caught the closure of Sushi Rock, and it looks like ~RANGOON RUBY~ is moving in. The small Bay Area chain has locations in Palo Alto and San Carlos, with a fourth headed to Burlingame. No word on the exact opening; we’ll keep an eye out. 1608 Polk St. at Sacramento.


Wood-fired pizza for lunch at Gitane. Photo from Facebook.

As of January 26th, ~GITANE~ is open for lunch Monday through Friday. The new lunch menu is focused on utilizing the kitchen’s wood-fired oven, with thin-crust pizzas, a selection of salads, and larger entrées. The menu will change frequently, but current offerings include a Romanesco pizza with pickled onion, nettle pesto, and goat cheese ($14); roasted chicken salad with butter lettuce, radish, bacon, and Green Goddess dressing ($14); and squid ink pasta with crab, chile oil, and bread crumbs ($22). The full wine list and beer menu will also be available. Lunch is served Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm.

The newly opened Dogpatch restaurant and garden ~STEM~ is now open for dinner Monday through Saturday. The new dinner menu has a large selection of shareable dishes including a charcuterie board ($18), pork and beef meatballs ($12), and roasted cauliflower with farro in citrus vinaigrette ($12). There are also larger dishes including a grilled pork chop ($26) and a selection of pizzas. They’ve also expanded their cocktail program for the evening hours, with new drinks like the Dogpatch Sunset (209 gin, fruit extract, sparkling wine) and the Vin 09 (housemade chai, rum, cream, mint). The restaurant’s beautiful edible garden and heated patio will offer seating, as well as the inside dining room. Dinner is served Mon-Sat 4pm-9pm, with happy hour Mon-Fri 3pm-4pm. 499 Illinois St. at 16th St., 415-915-1000.

According to a post on Cole Valley SF Blog, local porky purveyor ~BACON BACON~ is now going to be open later and into the evenings. Along with the expanded hours come some new menu items (rumors are even swirling about vegetarian options) and beverage choices. Hours will now be Tue-Sat 7am-7pm, Sun 8am-3pm, Mon 7am-2pm. 205a Frederick St. at Ashbury, 415-218-4347.


The pastrami sandwich from Shorty Goldstein’s. Yelp photo by Vicente G.

Jake Godby of Humphry Slocombe fame is launching a bakery project with partner Jewel Zimmer of {cocoa}, called ~PRESS 12~. The Bold Italic caught the news, and reports that they will be popping up outside Four Barrel on Saturdays from 11am through 2pm until they find a permanent home. Their first pop-up included such inventive and over-the-top choices as duck fat Chex Mix, double-chocolate togarashi cookies, and Elvis monkey pie (with stout, honey, caramel, and cornmeal). As for that name, apparently it refers to the nickname “Press 12 Girls” that Condé Nast employees used for Vogue employees, who resided on the 12th floor of the Condé Nast building in New York. Follow along on Twitter for updates. 375 Valencia St. at 15th St.

Downtown’s ~SHORTY GOLDSTEIN’S~ is popping up at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays, now through April. The menu offers a few breakfast selections, including a gravlax bagel ($10) and challah French toast ($10), along with sandwiches for lunch. Look for pastrami ($11), corned beef ($11), and schmaltz-poached turkey ($10) (bonus: you can add foie gras to any sandwich for $10, or make it a Rachel!), along with classic sides like matzo ball soup and latkes. Take a look at the full menu here. They’ll be there 8am-2pm. Ferry Building Plaza at Embarcadero.

Emily Lai, a local chef who used to work at Fatty Crab and Sam Mason’s Tailor in New York and now owns The Rib Whip food trucks locally, has a pop-up on Wednesday February 4th at ~BIONDIVINO~. It’s called Masak Masak and is focused on Lai’s Malaysian-inspired cuisine. Dishes include a stuffed tofu curry with shrimp, and chawanmushi; here’s the menu. Biondivino’s Ceri Smith will be offering wine pairings by the glass, as well, which you won’t want to miss. The pop-up will be from 5pm-10pm. 1415 Green St. at Polk, 415-673-2320.


Crabs! Photo courtesy of The Whole Beast and Bernal Supper Club.

The fourth annual Shrimp Boil is coming to ~ANCHOR & HOPE~ on Wednesday February 11th. The partnership with Beer Week is a shrimpy fest, with all the shrimp you can eat and all the beer you can drink. Participating breweries include Fort Point, Golden Road, Thirsty Bear, and SF Brewing Co., offering plenty of suds to keep you going. The party is only $40 per person, with two seatings (5pm and 7:30pm); reservations can be made by calling 415-501-9100.

Dungeness crab season is still going strong, and ~AMERICANO~ is the place to get crackin’. From now until Sunday February 8th, they’ll be hosting Dungeness Crab Week, with a special menu including crabby treats like crab salad sliders ($14) in the bar area and whole Dungeness crab with butter, salsa verde, and chicory salad ($28) in the dining room. Poseidon Vineyard’s pinot noir “Rosé for the Bay” will also be available by the glass or bottle. Fifty percent of proceeds from Dungeness Crab Week sales will be donated to San Francisco Baykeeper to support their work on behalf of local clean waters.


Homestead’s Liz and Fred Sassen, ready to host you (sans tips, thank you). Photo via Facebook.

Another local restaurant is doing away with tips, and this time it’s ~HOMESTEAD~ in Oakland. East Bay Express reports that they are raising prices about 20 percent across the board and banning tips on March 2nd. Ultimately, partners Liz and Fred Sassen hope that the overall cost of dining out will be the same, and that it will equalize the take-home pay of the floor and kitchen. 4029 Piedmont Ave. at 40th St., 510-420-6962.

Speaking of restaurant trends, ~HAVEN~ has reopened after a brief closure, with a new (and au courant) menu format and revamped interior decor. According to Oakland Local, chef Charlie Parker is now offering a family-style prix-fixe that encourages diners to interact, not unlike the restaurant’s original format under Kim Alter. The menu will change nightly, with meat-focused and vegetarian options. The bar area will serve cheese, charcuterie, and pastas à la carte. Take a look at a sample menu here. The dinner menu is $45 per person Monday through Thursday, $60 per person Friday through Saturday. Hours are daily 5:30pm-10pm.

We’ve been tracking this for awhile, and now it’s open. Sean Asmar, who runs the kitchen at Bender’s Bar in San Francisco, has a new spot in Oakland called ~ANALOG~. Instead of focusing on newer technologies, Analog (as the name suggests) is all about celebrating VHS tapes and record players. The menu, much like the kitchen at Bender’s, is all about simple comfort food, with some surprising twists. There are sandwiches, like the pulled pork with smoked gouda. Vegans and vegetarians will find something, too, with their selection of meatless sandwiches like a vegan “Rachel”; here’s the menu and beer list. Hours are Tue-Fri 10am-2pm and 5pm-2am, Sat 5pm-2am, Mon 5pm-10pm. 414 14th St. (at Franklin), 510-682-1824.

Emily Day is opening a second location of her darling Nob Hill bakery ~FLOUR & CO.~ in Berkeley this summer. The new location will continue to offer her pastries and baked goods made with “the good stuff” (that would be flour, eggs, butter, and quality produce), but the larger kitchen means she’ll be able to try out some new things too. Here’s more in her blog post about the expansion. Congrats, Emily! 1398 University Ave. at Acton.

January 20, 2015

Partners Ravi Kapur, Allyson Jossel, and Jeff Hanak. Photo: ©


Aloha. The first thing you’ll see. Photo: ©


The exterior. Photo: ©


Spacious two-tops across from the bar. Photo: ©


The brand-new and cheerful yellow kitchen. Photo: ©


Chef de cuisine Nana Guardia and chef Ravi Kapur. Photo: ©


The comfortable group seating across from the kitchen. Photo: ©

Walking through the gate at the soon-to-open ~LIHOLIHO YACHT CLUB~, the first thing I noticed was the word Aloha in blue tile at my feet, embedded in the penny tile entrance. It definitely sets the tone for this place, one that has such heart and family at its core. Chef-partner Ravi Kapur is opening this exceedingly personal restaurant, partnering with longtime friends Allyson Jossel and Jeff Hanak of Nopa and Nopalito, who are both SF natives. They are all seasoned pros, deeply entrenched in our restaurant scene and local community. And if everything goes as planned, they will be ready to open the doors and host us for dinner and drinks in the last week of January.

It’s an airy, welcoming, and cheerful space, such a long way from the empty room I first saw back in July of last year. The space dates back to 1916, and was a market from the 1930s until its brand-new incarnation as a restaurant.

There are three dining areas, with 80 seats in all. The front room has high ceilings with two skylights over the bar made of cold-rolled blackened steel (by Ferrous), with 10 seats, and 4 at the lower ADA counter. The floor is laid with blue three-tone Moroccan cement honeycomb hex tile, and the spacious two-top booths of raw sugar pine could actually fit four good friends willing to cozy up together, which is kind of the point here. The front bar area will be no reservations, so there’s room for people to mingle, drink, and eat, including a standing ledge. (It’s worth noting a lot of soundproofing and acoustic treatments were installed throughout the space to manage the potential din.)

As you look at the communal table with the modern cord-and-metal chandelier above (by Brendan Ravenhill), the dove gray plaster walls, the three-legged steel stools with contoured wood seats (also by Brendan Ravenhill), you realize how bright and fresh and clean it all feels. Nothing is reclaimed, except for the exposed brick walls, really—otherwise it’s all new, and looks crisp and neat. Architect Brett Terpeluk has done a hell of a job.

In the center of the space is the bright and open kitchen, outfitted in mustard yellow tile by Fireclay, creating a warm and friendly glow. Just across the kitchen along the wall are larger booths (that seat four to six), also in pine, eventually extending into two-tops toward the back, with vintage school chairs, oak floors, and more pine tables with banquette seating along the left. The pendant lights have a copper trim on them, and the mirrored-top bulbs help create a soft light. The windows in the back look out onto a backyard, which will eventually be landscaped, and the tree will be all lit up, but it won’t be a space where guests can mingle. Below, there will eventually be a private dining room and private bar, with room for 18-24.

Ravi will be joined in the kitchen by his longtime right-hand woman, chef de cuisine Nana Guardia, who has been working with him for almost nine years; Penelope Lau (Craftsman + Wolves, Jane) is the pastry chef. Since the crew just got into their kitchen for the first time on Friday, things are definitely in development at the moment, so there’s no menu or dishes to really share right now, but some pics on the LYC Instagram page should give some hints. When talking about the style of food to expect at Liholiho, Ravi said it’s about being delicious and fun and vibrant, and it will be easy to share, but also fine to just have on your own too.

Anyone who attended the Liholiho Yacht Club pop-ups over the past couple of years will have a sense of Kapur’s freestyle cuisine that defies definition (I explored this in a piece for 7x7), one that is rooted in his Hawaiian heritage, which also integrates migratory elements from India and China (his grandmother, a great cook, was Chinese). And then there’s his love of Northern California produce and ingredients, which was explored deeply in his eight years at Boulevard and then Prospect. I’m excited to crack into this next chapter of Ravi’s cuisine. For now, we’ll just have to sit tight and wait and see what’s in the table of contents.

While Kevin Diedrich was originally slated to be the bar manager, he left the project earlier this year. Overseeing the bar is Nopa and Nopalito’s Yanni Kehagiaras, who will be creating 8-10 original cocktails, but to be clear, these will not be heavily garnished tiki drinks. The bar will have a well-curated selection of spirits, with some special Japanese whiskies.

The word hospitality kept coming up as I spoke with the team. Jossel and Hanak will be working with GM Rachele Shafai (A16) to help create a warm service style that will be an extension of the kitchen’s aloha spirit. Also from the Nopa family, Lulu McAllister is overseeing the wine selection, dividing the menu into “Old Friends” and “New Friends.” Old Friends will include some classic varieties and international wines, while New Friends will feature some eccentric or newer winemakers; you could find a chardonnay under New Friends, but it would be from a new producer. There will be 10-12 wines by the glass, with 75-80 bottle selections. There will additionally be a strong focus on sake (all available by the glass), with a strong selection of beer (eight on tap) and by the bottle.

The Lower Nob Hill address feels ideal for this very San Franciscan restaurant, which is located in such a uniquely San Franciscan neighborhood. Excited neighbors keep passing by to peek in, with many giving a thumbs-up and a smile. Dinner will be served nightly until 10pm-11pm or so. Expect an update from me with final details right around opening time.


The 18th and Alabama corner of the Heath Ceramics building. Photo by Dana Eastland. ©

Last April, we reported on the big, exciting, new project coming from Tartine Bakery in the Heath Ceramics building. Obviously, some time has passed, giving the team time to shape their ideas and now this piece in 7x7 has new details to share, starting with the reveal of the project’s name: ~THE MANUFACTORY~. The current targeted opening date is summer, and it will continue to have what we first mentioned: an all-day café, a restaurant, and bakery, plus space for culinary projects and visiting chefs.

New details about the restaurant portion include the hiring of a chef, Sam Goinsalvos, previously at Il Buco Alimentari in New York and The Ordinary in Charleston. I was also happy to read Vinny Eng will be assembling the natural wine program. The space will be designed by LA-based design firm, Commune.

Additional things to look forward to: Elisabeth Prueitt will be making ice cream, and returning to making preserves and pickles too.

Now, to the bread. The bakery production area will be visible, featuring both a mill and custom Heuft oven from Germany, and there will be a wood-burning oven as well (pizzas are imminent). Since The Manufactory will be taking on all the bread baking, acting like a commissary, it means Tartine Bakery will discontinue making bread on-site. The overextended space will be closing to renovate and make some changes to its layout, from adding a new chocolate room to reconfiguring the café space. 7x7 also mentions the overall bread output should double in size. Country loaves for all!

The article also mentions Tartine’s upcoming projects in Tokyo, London, and potentially New York, so take a look. Expect even more details on everything in coming months. Corner of 18th St. and Alabama.


The exterior of Hawker Fare on Valencia. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

Well, this one is happening quickly: chef-owner James Syhabout is opening the second location of his Oakland-based ~HAWKER FARE~ on Valencia Street next Tuesday January 27th (with a soft opening on Saturday January 24th).

To recap, he is taking over the former Amber Dhara. Though we weren’t allowed to take any pictures, we did peek at the interior. It’s bright and cheerful, and appears designed to evoke the outdoor dining/night market experience so common in Thailand. There are picnic tables throughout, covered with oilcloth tablecloths, and brightly painted Tolix-style seating. One wall is adorned with rockabilly records, while the wall leading up to the second-story bar is covered in woven rugs of various sizes and designs. The overall effect is eclectic and very fun, with lots of vibrant color and a casual vibe.

The menu is inspired by the Isaan region of Thailand and Laos, take a look. There will be many new dishes, with new flavor profiles, ingredients, and preparations. The menu is broken down into categories: Khong Ghin Len (Snacking Dishes); Larb, Yum, Som Tum (Aromatic & Spicy Salads); Gaeng (One Pot Dishes—Soups, Stews, Curries); Jaan Piset (Specialty Dishes); Ahhaan Yang (Grilled Items); Khao (Rice); and a limited selection of Jaan Phat (Wok-Tossed Dishes). Syhabout is working with chef de cuisine and Bangkok native Supasit “O” Puttkaew, and Hawker Fare Oakland’s chef de cuisine Manuel Bonilla will assist in the transition.

Food will be served family style and will come out as it’s ready. You will also be encouraged to eat with your hands, and ideally you come with a larger group. The food will also be served on enamel and plastic plates, just as it is in Southeast Asia. You can read more in this article about Syhabout’s inspiring trip to Thailand in 2014.

There is a downstairs bar, The Bar at Hawker Fare, with cocktails by Wizard Oil Co. bartender duo Christ Aivaliotis and Troy Bayless, who are behind all the cocktails at Syhabout’s restaurants. They also opened Duende, consulted for 1601 Bar & Kitchen, and are currently working on Mourad too.

An additional component to the project is the upstairs cocktail bar, Holy Mountain, which is opening on Friday February 6th. The first cocktail menu will refer to Carnival and Mardi Gras, spanning New Orleans, Haiti, Trinidad, and Brazil with cocktails like the Batida, the De La Louisiane, and the Hurricane. There will also be a selection of bar bites (like pork rinds and Syhabout’s amazing roasted peanuts) and the occasional additional food offering “hawked” from a tray.

Dinner hours are Tue-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11:30pm, Sun 4pm-9pm. Hawker Fare bar hours are Tue-Thu 5pm-12am, Fri-Sat 5pm-12am, Sun 5pm-9pm. Closed Mondays. Weekend lunch will be launching on Saturday February 7th, 12pm-3pm. 680 Valencia St. at 18th St., 415-932-6193.

A couple more things: Syhabout also updated the look of his original Hawker Fare in Oakland (the graffiti is dunzo), and he is also in the thick of his Dine About Oakland Public Schools initiative. Each week, a different Oakland public school will benefit, with 5 percent of all bills at all of his restaurants (Hawker Fare, The Dock, and Commis) donated to that designated school. We missed the week of donations to Claremont Middle School, but January 18th-24th is Cabot Elementary, and January 25th-31st is Oakland Tech. That’s a generous gift, chef! 


The exterior of The Market on Market. Photo by Asta Karalis.


The wine and beer bar at The Market on Market. Photo by Asta Karalis.


The café’s blue tiled wall. Photo by Asta Karalis.

Opening Wednesday January 21st is the first wave of food businesses in Market Square, aka “the Twitter building.” Last Friday, I took a quick tour of ~THE MARKET ON MARKET~, which has a 22,000-square-foot floor plan, complete with a grocery store, numerous prepared food and beverage options (although it’s far from a food court as we know it), a butcher shop, chocolatier, and much more.

It’s actually the first of three upcoming locations of The Market: in spring, The Market on Polk will be opening at 1650 Polk Street, and then The Market on Main will be opening at 201 Folsom Street in January 2016. The founders are Bruce Slesinger and Tom Collom (Small Foods, Bruce and Tom Architects), plus Chris Foley and Richard Hoff.

The food market features well-stocked shelves of organic produce and quality products, and some are so niche you won’t find them elsewhere. The salad bar is organic, and there are also some hot dishes and prepared foods, like soups and roasted meats. You’ll find many more prepared foods at a taco bar; pizzeria (both Neapolitan and California style); a tapas bar with Mediterranean-style small plates; a sandwich bar (including a hot Cubano, and to be clear, I am talking about the sandwich); a deli counter with charcuterie, salumi, and quality cheeses; a bakeshop with breads made on-site (from Adam Becker, previously Bacchus Management Group), plus pastries and sweets; a Japanese sushi, deli, and raw bar (with four kinds of oysters, plus nigiri sushi, maki, crudos, salads, soup, and vegetables), helmed by sushi chef Yasu Ueno; and there’s a café serving Four Barrel coffee, plus sandwiches, salads, and other grab-and-go options for lunch and dinner. The butcher shop will feature only humanely raised meats, like pork from Becker Lane and lamb from Stemple Creek. You can buy and drink wine and beer at a wine/beer bar, plus there are retail options too.

Additional tenants with their own shops include Azalina Eusope’s first brick and mortar, Azalina’s Malaysian (opening on February 2nd, more on this soon!), a Blue Bottle Coffee kiosk (coming to Stevenson, off 10th Street), Nuubia (a San Francisco-based artisan chocolatier, Lionel Clement, specializing in responsibly sourced chocolate confections, truffles, and candy bars, plus ice cream), and cold-pressed juices from Project Juice. There’s also an extensively stocked EO Products store, where you can even mix your own lotion and refill your soap bottles, and you’ll find flower bouquets from Farmgirl Flowers.

Up next: the bar and restaurant, Dirty Water, followed by Bon Marché Bar & Brasserie from the AQ team, and the Cadillac Bar & Grill this summer. Open daily 7am-10pm (although some vendors, like the butcher shop, won’t open until 9am). 1355 Market St. at 10th St.


The bar at Atlas Tap Room. Photo from Facebook.


The charcuterie board. Photo courtesy Atlas Tap Room.

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Bacon deviled eggs. Photo courtesy Atlas Tap Room.

The partners behind SoMa’s Archive Bar & Kitchen, which opened last December, have opened a new spot next door. It’s called ~ATLAS TAP ROOM~, and opened officially on Monday January 19th. They’re offering eight beers on tap, all from California, along with snacks to pair with the beer. For food, think cheese, charcuterie, deviled eggs, and pretzels—here’s the menu. For beers, there are options like Scrimshaw, HenHouse, and Fort Point. There are also some large-format bottles for after-work groups and six wines on tap. Wines are all available in four- or six-ounce pours, and there are always three whites and three reds. The options will change, but they’ll hail from all over. Right now, there are selections from Italy, California, and Austria. There will also be 18 bottled wines available by the glass. Here is the full drink list.

The space is designed to be warm and comfortable, with steel, brick, and wood surfaces. There is a chalkboard reporting the day’s beer selections, and a map theme (Atlas, get it?) informs the decorative items. For now, hours are Mon-Fri 4pm-10pm, but they plan to open all day with grab-and-go lunch in the coming weeks. Eventually, hours will be Mon-Fri 11am-10pm, with the possibility of Saturday hours. 606 Mission St. at 2nd St., 415-872-9278.


Prawns Riviera at Manos Nouveau. Photo from Facebook.

~MANOS NOUVEAU~ had reopened in the Castro after leaving its Mission digs (it was replaced on 22nd Street by Californios). Manuel Montalban and Gualberto Nic Camara are partners in the restaurant, and met while working at Fresca on Fillmore. The menu is Latin-French, with both small and large plates. Small dishes include Latin chicken meatballs, ahi tuna ceviche, and black bean soup, while large dishes include salmon with chimole rice, and seared duck breast with a Maya kun (pumpkin) sauce. Take a peek at the menu here. Hours are 5pm-10pm Tue-Sun. 3970 17th St. at Market, 415-872-5507.

We reported in December that the recently closed ~BURMESE KITCHEN~ would be popping up in the former To Hyang space in the Inner Richmond. Now, The Bold Italic is reporting that the pop-up has opened as of today, Tuesday January 20th, and will be occupying the space for a year. Yay, Dennis! Now we just need to find To Hyang a new spot. 3815 Geary Blvd. at 2nd Ave., 415-474-5569.


Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin, founders of New York’s Ovenly Bakery, will be in San Francisco on Wednesday January 28th for an evening of cocktails and bites with Stag Dining and Heath Ceramics. The evening includes tasting plates inspired by their new book, Ovenly. Spiced sweet and savory recipes will include Dungeness crab bao with pickled celery and mayonnaise, and beef tartare with walnut crisp, apple, and blue cheese aioli. There will also be cocktails and dessert. The evening runs from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. Tickets are $75 per person and include food, beverages, and a signed copy of the book. Yeah, that’s not too shabby! 1900 18th St. at Alabama, 415-361-5552.

This is sad news, along with an excellent cause. ~SEVEN HILLS~ is hosting a benefit for local cheesemaker Craig Ramini of Ramini Mozzarella. Ramini, who makes true domestic buffalo mozzarella at his dairy in Tomales, has been battling cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy treatment, which has forced the dairy to stop operations for the time being. To help raise funds to keep the dairy in business, the restaurant will be doing a three-course prix-fixe dinner on Tuesday February 3rd. The dinner costs $75 per person, with proceeds going to Ramini, and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant. 1550 Hyde St. at Pacific, 415-775-1550.

~CROSSBURGERS~ in Oakland has started doing pop-ups with Boucherie Meats, and they have one coming up on Friday January 23rd. The pop-ups are designed to bring some life and activity to Frank H. Ogawa Plaza after nearby workers leave at the end of the day, from 6pm until 9pm, with outdoor activities including a funk band and a magician. Crossburger’s owner Eddie Blyden has more tricks up his sleeve, too, and wants to make the plaza feel a bit like a carnival for the community to enjoy. There will be beers for $3, charcuterie from Boucherie, and gumbo, with more large-format meats in the works. Blyden mentions the possibility of whole roasted lamb or pig, as well as goat stew in coming months. The pop-ups are happening twice a month, with the next one Friday January 23rd followed by one on February 6th. 300 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Suite 150, at 16th St., Oakland, 510-817-4463.


The cart for bollito misto at Poggio. Photo courtesy of Poggio via Facebook.

~CATHEAD’S BBQ~ is celebrating their third anniversary on Saturday January 24th with a big party for rib lovers everywhere: the Second Annual Rib-Off from 12pm to 6pm. The event brings together competitors from all over San Francisco, including 4505 Burgers & BBQ, Southpaw, Smokestack, and Baby Blues.

You’ll get to vote on whose ribs are the best (it’s hard work but someone has to do it), and there will also be live music from the The Soft-Offs (CatHead’s house band), Toshio Hirano, and The Pot House Shindies. Plus, there will be a biscuit eating contest and raffle, beer from Fort Point Beer Co., and a portion of the proceeds will go to Saving Grace cat rescue. Tickets are $12 for general admission, which includes a beer and a raffle ticket, or $25 for all-access, which includes a rib and side from each competitor, a beer, and a raffle ticket. 1665 Mission St. at Plum, 415-861-4242.

This sounds like a special night not to miss: ~NAMU GAJI~ is hosting a night of all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue on Monday January 26th. They’ll be setting up one large communal table in the middle of the restaurant, with lots of side dishes, kimchi, and meat. You’ll find galbi, pork belly, pork ribs, and more, made with Devil’s Gulch pork and Masami beef, along with all the Hite beer you need (until they run out). There are seatings at 5:30pm and 8pm (only one ticket left for the later one, get on it!). Tickets are $74 per person, including all food, beer, and tip (tax not included).

It’s winter, and that means it’s time for the return of the bollito misto cart at ~POGGIO~. The annual tradition is based on a classic Northern Italian meat stew, and the presentation at Poggio is fun. They bring a special cart (imported from Italy) around to your table, and serve different cuts of meat tableside with a selection of sauces and condiments. Meats include brisket, oxtail, and cotechino sausage, all perfect for chilly weather. The bollito misto is available every evening at dinner from Wednesday January 21st through Monday February 2nd and costs $19 per person.


The seared chorizo for brunch at Beso. Photo from Facebook.

Haight Street’s ~SPARROW~ has started serving weekday brunch, according to Hoodline. They’re now open Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 3pm, serving a menu of both breakfast and lunch dishes. In the breakfast category, there are eggs, a granola yogurt parfait, and French toast, while the lunch portion of the menu has sandwiches and a burger, along with a selection of salads. From 3pm to 6pm, they are now offering a midday happy hour until they open for dinner at 6pm, perfect for a pick-me-up during an afternoon of vintage-clothing shopping. 1640 Haight St. at Clayton, 415-622-6137.

~BESO~ in the Castro is now offering weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 3pm. The Spanish-inspired selections include revueltos de gambas (scrambled eggs with shrimp, Guindilla pepper, brioche bun, mixed greens, and patatas bravas) and seared chorizo with chickpeas, a fried egg, and salsa verde. There are also brunch beverages like mimosas and sangria. 4058 18th St. at Hartford, 415-801-5392.


The exterior window at Box and Bells. Yelp photo by R S.

Oakland’s ~BOX AND BELLS~ from James Syhabout is now closed, after just over a year in business. Scoop reports that the restaurant, which served classic American pub-style food, didn’t seem to find a good niche in the neighborhood. Syhabout also owns Hawker Fare, Commis, and The Dock, which remain open. 5912 College Ave. at Chabot.

~BARRACUDA SUSHI~ in the Castro has closed, Hoodline reports. Apparently, it will reopen in February as ~MANDU~ from the same manager, Nam Kim, with a different concept. Look for pan-Asian street food, with an environment that evokes the sidewalks and alleyways of Asia and food from chef Daniel Sudar of nearby Slurp Noodle Bar. At first, they will only be open for dinner (that’s right, no more bottomless mimosa brunches) and will then expand hours as they go. 2251 Market St. at 16th St.


The interior at Dopo. Yelp photo by Miguel E.

We received a newsletter from ~DOPO~ in Oakland letting us know that they’ll be making some changes in the coming months. Namely, they’ve decided to focus solely on Sicilian food and wine moving forward, instead of offering items from all regions of Italy. The menu will shift to reflect this, of course, with a new format built around preset daily menus of small antipasti, served both hot and cold. Their pizza and pasta will remain and are intended to be enjoyed after the antipasti offerings. As for wine, they will adjust their wine list to include producers from Sicily. Fantastico! Bring on the frappato. 4293 Piedmont Ave. at John, Oakland, 510-652-3676.