Last August, executive chef Anthony Strong departed the Delfina Restaurant Group after 11 years—he was first at Delfina, then opened Locanda, as well as expanding Pizzeria Delfina to its four current locations. Instead of moving on to another restaurant gig, Strong has created his own business model: SF’s first delivery-only restaurant, with no storefront.
Launching in June is Young Fava, a new delivery option that is chef quality-driven, and instead of an afterthought, delivery is the primary focus. Strong has been creating a menu of about 15 “New American classics,” ranging from a burrata and slowly melted spring onion dip with lemon oil and crème fraîche (it’s like your dream Cali French onion dip) to rice dumplings (Korean rice cakes) and mushroom sugo with English peas and pine nuts, plus grilled organic iceberg, with Pt. Reyes Blue, busted radishes (LOL), snipped herbs, and a warm bacon-sherry vinaigrette. Oh, and another guilty pleasure: ’90s-style ahi crudo with ginger oil, wasabi tobiko, sesame seeds, micro cilantro, and taro root chips.
Items will change often but are designed to travel well and offer a level of quality that is like your favorite neighborhood restaurant. He has tested the “travelability” of each item extensively (even with an SF hill test, as mentioned in this SF Chron article).
Some dishes will be perfect for a late dinner at your desk (sorry, I feel you!), while others are built to share if you have people over (like your Netflix and chill date). Plus there will be some fun fancy ones, like caviar service (if you really need to impress). Most entrées will be $24 and below (three are less than $18). He’s also thinking about offering a prix-fixe meal down the road.
Strong thinks it’s an interesting new business model in our challenging SF restaurant climate, and it presents an exciting opportunity as a chef. He says, “I want to give delivery the attention it deserves.” His aha moment was when they were first delivering pizzas at Pizzeria Delfina. Back then, it was some of the best you could get outside of the big delivery names and maintaining delivery quality was something he became obsessed with. (The business name comes from a nickname he had in the kitchen—instead of making his staff shuck, blanch, and peel a huge box of baby favas, he decided to fry them up whole. So in a way, this new service is similarly about working with constraints to come up with something else.)
Strong is going to exclusively start with UberEats and will then roll out with other delivery services in time. He’s working out of Turtle Tower on Larkin (one of his favorite places in the city), so will be going in when they close at 5pm, and then starting delivery by 6pm. The plan is to run Tue-Sun 6pm-11pm. Sign up for his newsletter to keep up with previews, tests, and the true launch. And, of course, I’ll keep you posted.
Burrata-spring onion dip with dried ramps, sea salt. Photo: Eric Wolfinger.