February 24, 2015

February 24, 2015
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The future home of Sessions in the Presidio. Photo from Facebook.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.