Changes at Magnolia Smokestack and Brewery, Alfred's (Temporarily?) Closed, Umami Burger and Cafe Zitouna Close


Dave McLean, like a proud papa in front of Smokestack’s two Little Red Smokehouses. Photo: ©


Calm in the Alfred’s dining room (just before we took it over for our Blue Fox dinner!). Photo: Blair Heagerty Photography.

Some news over at Magnolia Brewing Company’s ~SMOKESTACK~: the barbecue joint (and bar) has closed for a reconcepting and is due to reopen in August as Magnolia Dogpatch. But Eater also reports that Magnolia Brewing founder and brewmaster Dave McLean is no longer a part of Magnolia. You may recall that New Belgium founder Kim Jordan, with minority partners Belgian brewer Oud Beersel and Dick Cantwell (previously head brewer at Elysian Brewing in Seattle), took over in 2017 when McLean filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

But now McLean has stepped away entirely (reportedly it’s a harmonious, amicable departure), and the new CEO is Brian Reccow (of the Specialistas hospitality management company), who will be overseeing the next iteration of the brewery and space and making adjustments so that it’s more neighborhood-friendly. Eater mentions: “A loading dock area that was mostly unfinished will become a beer garden with a custom set of bleachers, allowing for more volume and drinks like cocktails to be sold at lower prices. The kitchen is being remodeled completely, and the team is looking for a new chef.” Look for a reopening in August, stand by for more. 2505 3rd St. at 22nd St.

Eater caught wind of ~ALFRED’S STEAKHOUSE~ temporary (?) closure, and it seemed it was only going to be until late June—Alfred’s voicemail mentions a remodel, but their listing on OpenTable says it’s permanently closed. Noooo. Obviously some changes are under way, we’ll just have to wait and see what’s next for this historic space before I get officially sad (as the former home of the Blue Fox, I have a deep, abiding love for it). 659 Merchant St. at Kearny.

Hoodline noted longtime Tunisian restaurant ~CAFE ZITOUNA~ has closed, which is going to make many fans of its homey cuisine very unhappy with this news. A post on Yelp mentions this potential explanation: “The only downside is that Najib (the owner) is having troubles with his landlord and previous partner. He does EVERYTHING himself, which is very impressive but also forces him to close early.” Hmmm. Let’s hope he finds another location. 1201 Sutter St. at Polk.

A tablehopper tipster informed me that the consistently underwhelming ~UMAMI BURGER~ in the Marina has closed. I’m not pouring anything out for that one. The SoMa location remains open. 2184 Union St. at Fillmore.