July 11, 2017

July 11, 2017

An initial rendering of Il Casaro Castro. Courtesy of JMalnick Studio.


An initial rendering of Il Casaro Castro. Courtesy of JMalnick Studio.

Fans of the Neapolitan pizzas at ~IL CASARO~ in North Beach will have a second location to visit by the end of 2017. Opening in the former Chilango on Church Street, co-owner Francesco Covucci (with Peter Fazio) tells me they are targeting December for their new Castro location.

Il Casaro’s delicious and affordable menu will mostly be the same, but the full kitchen in this location means a few more antipasti, and pastas will be added to the menu as well. The pizza oven will also be a bit bigger, but they’ll still be using the same imported Caputo 00 flour and D.O.P. San Marzano tomatoes on their pizzas like they do on Columbus. There will be a little more seating too.

It ends up there was a patio in the back of the restaurant, which they are developing, and they also filed to serve full liquor, so I’m looking forward to when that goes through. I already have visions of a Negroni sbagliato during brunch on the back patio. 235 Church St. at Market.


The castle on the hill. Photo via NoeHill.com.

I never thought I’d see the day that I could write that the long-closed ~JULIUS’ CASTLE~ (since 2007) is going to reopen on Telegraph Hill. (My grandpa Ernie is smiling from the other side, he loved that place.) After all kinds of NIMBY complaints and opposition, the Planning Commission still voted positively to let the old-school establishment (a historical landmark!) reopen. In fact, it was a clean sweep of 7-0. All right!

The restaurant first opened in 1922 (although I have also seen 1923 and 1924 listed). Julius Roz, the Italian owner, even outfitted the Gothic revival building with “interior wood paneling from the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition” (via SFGate). And then there’s that view. And that deep history—numerous stars dined there over the years, from Cary Grant to Ginger Rogers (read more about its fascinating history here). Current owner Paul Scott—who purchased the restaurant in 2012 and lives on Telegraph Hill—is looking for an operator and will be busy restoring the restaurant. I will keep you posted on how his plans progress. 302 Greenwich St. at Montgomery.


The former Renoir Hotel flatiron building is now the San Francisco Proper Hotel. Photo courtesy of San Francisco Proper Hotel.


The Drunk Cookie Monster at FK Reserve. Instagram photo via @fkreserve.

There are a few upcoming projects for you to keep an eye on, starting with a big collaboration at the former Renoir Hotel, which will open as ~SAN FRANCISCO PROPER HOTEL~ this summer (August 2017) from Proper Hospitality and The Kor Group, with design by Kelly Wearstler. This 131-room flagship hotel will have four restaurant concepts—an all-day lobby restaurant, an upscale destination eatery, a café, and a rooftop terrace (!!) with an indoor/outdoor bar and lounge—helmed by chef Jason Franey (previously Campton Place, Eleven Madison Park, Canlis, Restaurant 1833), working with Josh Harris and Morgan Schick of BVHospitality on the bar programs (remember their pop-up bar Rio Grande before the hotel restoration started?). Look for the building’s many historical elements and details to be brought back to life, with vintage furnishings, European modernism, and work from local artists as all part of its style. Can’t wait to see this beauty, which it better be at $400 a night for the rooms. More on all this soon. 1110 Market St. at 7th St.

Hoodline caught the news that ~FROZEN KUHSTERD~ appears to be opening a brick-and-mortar shop for their playful frozen custard in the former P-Kok space in the Lower Haight. Stand by for more. 791 Haight St. at Scott.

In the meantime, you can enjoy boozy milk shakes and sodas made with FK’s booze-infused creations at their FK Reserve section inside Trademark sports bar on Folsom, like the Drunk Cookie Monster with Biscoff cookies, Oreos, bourbon burnt caramel, and a shot of Bulleit Bourbon. Just wait until you see their black and gold waffle cone. 1123 Folsom St. at 7th St.


A selection of what’s on offer at Sylvia’s Bakeshop. Yelp photo by Cynthia L.


Empanadas from El Sur. Photo via Facebook.


Dirty! Cheesesteak on Clay is now open. Yelp photo by Meo T.

After reading a post in Hoodline that Pete Mrabe (Don Pisto’s, Pete’s, Chubby Noodle) has opened ~SYLVIA’S BAKESHOP~ in the former North Beach Baking Co. space in North Beach, I followed up with him for a few more details. It ends up the bakeshop isn’t using the famed ovens to create the baked goods: chef Daniel Sudar is making them at their nearby Central Station Deli. You’ll find cookies, biscotti, coconut macaroons, cakes (red velvet), scones, pies (apple), cupcakes, tarts, and more. They will also be carrying about five kinds of bread from other purveyors, like Acme, Boudin, and focaccia from Liguria Bakery.

The original bakery ovens require a major rebuild (they date back to 1917). Mrabe says they are basically crumbling brick, so their repair will be down the road. In the meantime, you can swing by the retail bakery—named after Mrabe’s mother—for an affordable sweet treat or two and a cup of coffee (the roaster is still being determined; they’re still taste testing). Open daily 7am-6pm, and they may be opening around 6am soon. 1501 Grant Ave. at Union.

More baked goods: ~EL SUR~, known for their Argentine empanadas served off their 1970s Citroen van, are soft opening their first brick-and-mortar production kitchen and café in Potrero HIll this week, with the official opening slated for Monday July 17th. Founder Marianne Despres will be serving her trademark and exquisite empanadas (Parisien, pollo saltado, champiñones, verde, and traditional), which are made with beef fat (except the vegetarian ones, of course), plus short rib and chicken skewers with housemade condiments like chimichurri and salsa criolla, salads, and desserts (menu here). Open Mon-Fri 10am-2pm; look for longer hours in the fall when their beer-and-wine license kicks in. 300 DeHaro St. at 16th St.

Cheesesteak fans, there’s a new spot called ~CHEESESTEAK ON CLAY~ that opened in the Financial District. It’s a pretty straightforward menu: three kinds of cheesesteaks on Amoroso rolls, a bunch of different kinds of fries (waffle, garlic, and then there’s dirty waffle), wings, a couple of salads (but really, who are you kidding), and six beers on tap (happy hour is Mon-Fri 4pm-7pm, you’re welcome). I blame them for bringing on my cheesesteak craving last night—after looking at pics online, I had to order one from Phat Philly. Damn it! Open Mon-Fri 10am-9pm. 653 Clay St. at Kearny, 415-433-2222.

After all those cookies and empanadas and cheesesteaks, maybe you’d like a vegan salad and some green juice? There’s a new ~URBAN REMEDY~ by herbalist and nutritionist Neka Pasquale that opened in Noe Valley, serving her line of snacks, salads, wraps, cold-pressed juices, and more. (I’m a fan of their salads—they really have a lot of flavor!) Open Mon-Fri 8am-7pm and Sat-Sun 9am-6pm. 3870 24th St. at Sanchez. [Via Hoodline.]


Young Fava’s burrata-spring onion dip. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Just in case you were getting addicted to ~YOUNG FAVA~’s spring onion burrata dip for delivery, founder Anthony Strong has decided to put everything on hold. The Turtle Tower kitchen proved to be too small to handle the demand (it’s SO HARD to be popular), so now he’s looking for a new location and would like to add a dine-in area as well—Strong realized he missed seeing people. Yup, doing delivery only from a commissary kitchen setup can be lonely. He’s on the hunt for a permanent space and is excited to tweak the menu and concept and move to version 2.0.


Caviar and blini, a classic. Photo via The Caviar Company’s Facebook page.

I’m not a big fan of National Whatever Days, but for caviar, I’ll make an exception. Heh. On Tuesday July 18th, ~THE CAVIAR COMPANY~ is hosting a party in honor of National Caviar Day, and they’re pulling out all the stops with unlimited caviar, chilled Champagne, and premium vodka and whiskey. It’s all going down at The Club at Wingtip. Tickets are $150. 6pm-8pm. The Club at Wingtip, 550 Montgomery St. at Clay.


Some of the street food dishes at the new Curry Up Now Alameda location. Photo courtesy of CUN.


A look at the Love Veggie pizza at Navi Kitchen (with cherry tomatoes, roast eggplant, and a combo of mozzarella and paneer). Photo via Facebook.

Can you smell that Indian pizza? Mmmmmm. Congrats to ~NAVI KITCHEN~, which is launching pizza and dinner service this Saturday July 15th! Will it be chef Preeti Mistry’s Kheema Kale (lamb and beef tomato sauce, lacinato kale, red onion)? Or the Leelu Potato (fenugreek pesto, roasted potato, pepper, which is vegetarian and can be made vegan)? And then there’s the Love Veggie. And Preeti’s Peppah. Check out the updated menu here. Add in some low-ABV cocktails, wine, and beers from Temescal Brewing on the patio, and you have a perfect summer dinner. (Although that Dr. Pai’s Green Chili Turmeric Lassi is totally catching my eye too.) New hours will be Wed-Sun 8am-8pm. 5000 Adeline St. at 53rd St., Emeryville, 510-285-6923.

Meanwhile, over in Alameda, ~CURRY UP NOW~ is continuing their expansion—the company has acquired Tava Kitchen and has taken over their Alameda location, reopening and rebranding it as a Curry Up Now. Did you know their curries, chutneys, and sauces are gluten-free and never frozen? This location features an open kitchen and patio dining. Open Sun-Thu 11:30am-9pm and Fri-Sat 11:30am-10pm. 2640 5th St. at Mosley, Alameda.

~BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE~ has opened a café and training facility in Old Oakland, on the ground floor of Blue Bottle’s headquarters (Henry House), where founder James Freeman sold the first Blue Bottle beans at the Old Oakland Farmers’ Market 15 years ago. Outdoor tables, score. Open daily 7am-7pm. 480 9th St. at Broadway, Oakland.

N.B. Due to open this Thursday July 13th is ~MAKER’S COMMON~. I’ll be filling you in next week once I receive some pictures and more! Check out their Credibles campaign if you plan on heading over. 1958 University Ave. at Bonita, Berkeley.

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