Updates on Restaurant Closures, Moves, What's Coming Soon, and Changes

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The interior of ICHI Kakiya, which is once again ICHI Sushi. Photo by Darren Samuelson.

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The Archuletas, Tim and Erin, of ICHI Sushi. Photo via their GoFundMe page.

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An initial look inside the in-progress Roma’s in SoMa. Photo courtesy of Matt Leum.

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SF Chicken Box bounty. Instagram photo via @sfchickenbox.

Wanted to share a variety of updates with you. First, after almost 10 years in Bernal/La Lengua, our dear ~ICHI SUSHI~ is not coming back from the citywide coronavirus-shutdown, which started in March. I spoke with the much-adored owners and chef Tim and Erin Archuleta, and sadly they have made the decision to sell since they just don’t see a path to reopening soon (as many regulars know, Tim had a health scare a few years ago, and won’t be able to have close contact with the public as long as this virus is in our midst). They’re already missing everyone, and will be greatly missed—ICHI was like a sushi clubhouse, with so many dedicated fans and friends, and a wonderful team. They have seen so many proposals, reunions, parties, and breakups. I’m raising a shot of Underberg (with Girl Talk blasting).

They’re hoping to find someone to pass the torch too—it’s a funky and unique space, and is perfect for the right taker (the neighborhood location is fantastic, and they have a nice landlord, too). Whether it’s someone who wants to continue the sushi lineage, or do meal kits, or open a deli, there are options. Thanks for all the memories, wonderful meals, hospitality, big laughs, and fantastic sushi, damn! Best wishes, to your health, kanpai! 3369 Mission St. at Godeus.

I was also sorry to read that after 21 years in the Mission, one of our city’s few German restaurants, ~WALZWERK~, has closed (via Eater). Owner Christiane Schmidt posted a farewell note on their website. And so, we say goodbye to another eclectic and quirky SF spot that was affordable and lively and delicious—it will be missed. 381 South Van Ness Ave. at 15th St.

And now for some positive news: there will be a new restaurant opening in the former La Briciola in SoMa at the end of July called ~ROMA’S~, from first-time restaurant owner Matt Leum (you may have read the Hoodline article about it). For those of you who know your Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence well, the restaurant is in fact named in honor of Sister Roma, a very good friend of Matt’s—they met 34 years ago at The Stud. He also remembers when the location used to be Ruby’s Pizzeria, a popular late-night spot after hitting the bars, so he’s excited to be taking over the location.

What’s wild is he closed escrow on March 27th, just two weeks after the stay at home order, so it’s quite an adventure to be opening a new restaurant during this time and at diminished capacity (no thanks to Miss Rona), but he’s optimistic: “I’m not bringing the mentality about the way it used to be—it’s all new to me, it’s my new reality!” He has been working with consultants, and has been busy updating, renovating, and rearranging the 49-seat restaurant—he plans to offer around 28-32 seats max to start, with flexible tables and seating, which includes spaced seats at the bar. He’s also applying for outdoor seating.

Matt is interviewing chef candidates right now, and plans on offering farm-to-table Italian, starting with lunch service with panini, salads, and box lunches that are easy to bring to work; dinner service will come later. He wants to create an inclusive space, where everyone is welcome (look for the rainbow flag), and will be highlighting local art on the walls. This is a passion project—he loves people and Italian cuisine and looks forward to welcoming everyone to Roma’s soon. In the meantime, he’s selling some gift cards to help get them over the initial financial hump since he wasn’t eligible for PPP or SBA loans. I’ll keep you posted on the opening. 489 3rd St. at Bryant.

Mission residents will be pleased to hear Christian Ciscle is moving his ~SF CHICKENBOX~ from inside Trademark in SoMa to the Mission. He’s moving into the draft and bottle shop, The Brew Coop (the name is fitting), and is going to open on July 1st, just in time for the Fourth of July. You’ll be able to enjoy some of the best fried chicken in the city, which includes his chicken boxes, a fried chicken sandwich, and don’t forget those mochi muffins. Their last day on Folsom Street is this Saturday June 26th. 819 Valencia St. at 19th St.

Over in North Beach, Tony Gemignani’s ~CAPO’S~ has changed its focus from Chicago deep dish and cracker-thin pizza to now include trendy Detroit square-style pizza, which he was originally serving at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. Detroit pizzas are cooked in 10” x 14” Detroit steel pans and come topped with Wisconsin brick mozzarella cheese, white cheddar, tomato sauce, and garlic butter, with toasted corners, and finished with pecorino, oregano, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. His longtime teammate and fellow World Pizza Champion, chef Laura Meyer, is leading the Capo’s update, adding new pizzas, more small plates, pasta, and local beers. Outdoor dining is available Sun, Wed-Thu 4:30pm-9:30pm and Fri-Sat 4:30pm-10pm. 641 Vallejo St. at Stockton.