Russian Hill residents are going to be very happy to hear about this new and impending addition to their neighborhood! Melissa Gugni and Jay Esopenko of the popular Little Vine speciality grocery (and sandwich shop) in North Beach are going to be opening a new concept, UNION LARDER, in Russian Hill. It’s going to be a cheese, wine, and charcuterie bar with a full-service cheese counter, plus many of the same grocery items they feature at Little Vine. They’ll have around 15 taps with wine, beer, kombucha, and cold-brew coffee.
There will also be oysters all day (yes!), some Alpine-style dishes like raclette, fondue, and bratwurst, plus their killer sandwiches and a couple of salads. John-Paul Henaff (Ame, RN74, Central Kitchen) will be consulting on the food—he is known around town as a wine guy, but it ends up he has an extensive background/knowledge of gastronomy as well.
Jay is extremely passionate about wine, and the space is inspired by a cava bar he adored when he lived in Barcelona—he wanted to create a place that is all about eating delicious food while drinking good wines. There will also be pour-over coffee from Bicycle Coffee; espresso is TBD since space is limited.
There will be around 30 seats, with a bar and some tables. The look of the space will be larder-inspired, and there will be floor-to-ceiling shelving in the back with rolling ladders. The owners are thrilled to have 8 Inc doing Union Larder’s design—8 Inc worked with Steve Jobs to design the Apple Store, and one of the designers happens to be a dedicated customer of Little Vine.
The space was originally a parking garage that was later renovated into condos—they are taking over the 800-square-foot commercial space on the ground floor, which has big windows. What’s funny is that Melissa and Jay used to live on that exact block six years ago! Kismet. They are also going to be welcoming their first baby next week, so they’re actually going to have two babies this year. Busy busy.
Look for an opening around early June. Hours will be Tue-Sun 11am-11pm, and they’ll open on Mondays a little bit after the opening. You can follow along on Little Vine’s Facebook and Twitter for updates until they get Union Larder’s social media up. 1945 Hyde St. at Union.
The exterior of 1945 Hyde. Photo courtesy of Jay Esopenko.