2014 Openings: Monsieur Benjamin and Papito West in Hayes Valley, the Tamale Lady Lands a Location, Bartlett Hall to Downtown

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Photo of Corey Lee by Blair Sneddon Photography.

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The wonderful Tamale Lady (Virginia Ramos). Photo from Twitter.

Here are some updates on upcoming projects in 2014, starting with some news about Corey Lee’s plans for his Hayes Valley location, ~MONSIEUR BENJAMIN~. Scoop reports he is targeting spring for the opening of his modern (yet casual) bistro, with chef Jason Berthold (previously RN74) leading the kitchen—they both worked together at The French Laundry and Per Se. Monsieur Benjamin will be offering something that we don’t have a lot of in this town: traditional French bistro dishes with seasonal ingredients, and updated with some modern techniques. There will be late hours (yay), and Aidlin Darling Design is designing the 95-seat space, plus there will be 16 seats outside. I’ll keep you posted as we learn more.

More news in Hayes Valley: with the sad closure of Moishe’s Pippic (after 26 years!), that prime real estate was not going to sit for long. Hayeswire was first to report the rumor that Jocelyn Bulow (Chez Maman) and co-owner David Alexander were taking over the space, and after reaching out to Bulow ourselves, we have an update. They are going to be opening a second location of Potrero Hill’s Papito this spring, calling it ~PAPITO WEST~. While the Potrero location is a casual one, the Hayes Valley version will feature a raw bar (with oysters, ceviches, and plateaux de fruits de mer—look for a little jalapeño in the mignonette!) and a menu that is more restaurant-oriented than a taqueria. There will be 40 seats plus some outside seating, and beer and wine. Bulow is hoping to open by March 15th. 425A Hayes St. at Gough.

Let’s make a jump to tamales, shall we? Our late-night angel of tamales, Virginia Ramos (aka The Tamale Lady), recently held an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for a brick-and-mortar tamale shop after being booted from selling her tamales at Zeitgeist (since she made her tamales in an unlicensed kitchen, any bars where she sold her tamales were liable). With the help of supervisor David Campos and some other local helpers and organizations, she now has a location (go team!) and is currently finalizing paperwork on a former Central American restaurant at 16th Street and Mission. Mission Local reports she is going to call it ~TAMALE LADY~ (naturally), and she’ll be keeping it simple. Stand by for more on timing and other details…

I have been trying to get a lead on what was opening in the Santorini’s space in Union Square (there was some ABC license activity), and it has been revealed that it’s going to be another beer hall joining our local scene: ~BARTLETT HALL~. Scoop reports the project will have 140 seats, with chef Emmanuel Eng (most recently at Maverick) leading the kitchen (there will be a bar menu and a dining room menu). It will also be a microbrewery, with a seven-barrel system by Golden Gate Brewing Company, and cocktails will be served as well. Michael Brennan is designing the 3,000-square-foot space (which dates back to 1914)—there will be fireplaces in the bar area, and two private dining rooms. As for the name, it comes from Washington Montgomery Bartlett, who was the 20th mayor of San Francisco and later a governor of California. Look for a springtime opening. 242 O’Farrell St. at Powell.

And lastly, details on this one are sparse, but the team behind ~TWENTY FIVE LUSK~ has plans to open a second (and more casual) restaurant in the Westfield San Francisco Centre, next to M.Y. China and Straits (via Scoop). This one may not make it until 2015, so stand by.