FoodLab dining room; photo from FoodLab.
Renoir Hotel; photo from Yelp by Kevin Y.
The delicious pink beans at Sol Food. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
A couple of weeks ago, I heard word about the Bon Vivants opening a new bar in the Renoir Hotel at 7th and Market streets called Rio Grande (although I had to keep quiet about it), and I saw signs for FoodLab on the side of the hotel; now a press release reveals the details. It ends up that the Kor Group, which recently purchased the Renoir Hotel, is launching ~A TEMPORARY OFFERING~, a pop-up collection of businesses.
The FoodLab portion of the project (Matt Cohen of Off the Grid is a partner) will have pop-up food vendors serving lunch and dinner in the space (it formerly housed Little Joe’s). The kitchen will also be used as a commissary for food trucks and other businesses (always a hot commodity), and there’s a 49-seat dining room designed by Kelly Malone.
Now here’s the really fun part: the first pop-up tenant will be San Rafael’s Sol Food by Sol Hernandez, famous for her Puerto Rican cuisine. Lunch will launch this Wed May 23rd-Thu May 24th from 10:30am-2pm, and then Sol Food will be returning next week on Tue May 29th, and for the next four weeks will serve lunch Mon-Fri. On the menu: baked chicken thighs, rotisserie pork ribs, sweet plantain and vegetable casserole, pink or black beans, plantain chips with tangy dipping sauce, rice, fresh limeade, orange-mango iced tea, coconut pudding, and vanilla flan. You can keep track on the FoodLab calendar here. To celebrate the new lunch service, a Puerto Rican musical trio will be performing this Thursday.
Another component to the project is Trailhead, the Luggage Store Gallery’s satellite retail project bringing together locally roasted coffee, a youth-initiated high-end denim boutique (which will offer a jeans repair shop!), seedling farm outlet, and local artist-made ephemera, including books, zines, and maps.
As for Rio Grande, which is opening June 1st in the former Etiquette Lounge/Fuel space, stand by for exclusive details on that part of the project in a week. As the Bon Vivants describe it, it’s going to be a pop-up rock ‘n’ roll bar with live shows. The bartenders will be slinging American whiskey, “Mexican whiskey,” and a couple canned beers. All in all, it’s an exciting development for the Mid-Market neighborhood.