If you have been a longtime tablehopper reader and you’re an Italian scooter fan, you may remember reading about CAFÉ LAMBRETTA, which opened on Polk Street back in 2007 (also: enjoy looking at that almost ancient tablehopper issue!) and closed not too soon thereafter. Well, owner and Lambretta fanatic John Quintos has been busy with many other businesses over the years, including his Cento café and Cento Coffee roasting label, Special Xtra and Special Xtra 2 cafés, and more. And now he has a great opportunity to open his biggest yet, so he’s going back to where he started and opening Café Lambretta again.
The SoMa location is in an old building that dates back to 1913. There is 1,500 square feet for retail—fortunately the building owner was a Cento customer, and they were able to work out a deal. Quintos is going to be offering a menu for breakfast, lunch, and happy hour, with an extensive selection of in-house baked goods.
He’s working with Najla Turczyn (20th Century Café, Papa November) on the Italian-style breads and savory baked goods, while Christian Ciscle of Wing Wings is consulting on the rest of the menu. It’s going to be a little bit Parisian and a little bit Italian. Think croissants, either with chocolate or havarti and prosciutto for breakfast, plus a croque-madame, frittatas, scones, and more. Lunch will have a variety of sandwiches on house-baked breads, either grab and go or open-face with a meatball from a family recipe, plus some pressed panini as well as salads (bring on the panzanella in the summer, yes!). Happy hour will have some share plates, salads, and wine and beer. Catering and some wholesale business to local offices are also in the plan.
There will be 49 seats, with tables, booths, and of course, vintage Lambretta bikes installed throughout—the space is a beaut, with 18-foot ceilings. Quintos, a CCAC grad, is also creating an original art piece to be mounted on the wall: he’s taking apart a Lambretta and making the parts look like one of those old-school plastic model kits. Can’t wait to see it. He’s hoping to open in March 2017, I’ll keep you updated. Hours will be Mon-Fri 8am-8pm. 101 Townsend St. at 2nd St.
Not too far away, the new BLUE BOTTLE SOUTH PARK café has opened in the former Jeremy’s space, which is 1,200 square feet. It’s Blue Bottle’s first café designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. An extra room brings an expanded menu and coffee program and an iced coffee bar, or Cold Bar, which will serve zero-proof mixed coffee drinks. It also features the company’s first-ever Mavam espresso machine, with equipment that is built in beneath the counter. You can also enjoy the finely tuned audio off the vintage Klipsch speakers. Open daily 7am-7pm. 2 South Park St. at 2nd St.
A rendering of the upcoming Café Lambretta. Courtesy of Dahlin Group.