Back in February, I broke the news that chef Anthony Strong was taking over the Hog & Rocks location in the Mission, and now he’s ready to release some details about what he’s launching. The restaurant will be called PRAIRIE, and it’s an homage to his Midwestern roots and his preferred style of eating (grazing). If you were expecting an Italian name—especially considering the 11 years he worked for the Delfina Restaurant Group (when he left, he was group executive chef)—he decided to take a break from the minimum three-syllable names with a bunch of vowels and embrace his American roots.
The menu will still have a primarily Italian sensibility and feeling, but he’s going to be integrating international ingredients and allow his travels (including his love of Japan) to inform the concept as well. He’s ready to loosen up, have fun, and stretch some boundaries.
The menu will offer a slew of antipasti, something he loves about Italian dining (“it’s an onslaught!”), and he’s going to be doing a lot of grilling on the two grills he’s bringing in (a Josper from Spain, which a friend of his says is “God’s gift to chefs,” and a J&R Grill from Texas). He fell in love with grilling as a kid and wants to continue with his passion for it. You’ll be able to order an array of items “by the each” (like sardines with tea leaf salsa verde) and seasonal vegetables, meats, and more—dishes will be sized to share with your dining partners as well (like whole fish). Handmade pastas, also in the plan. He wants it to be fun and relaxed. If you attended any of his recent Cibi Cotti pop-ups, you’ll get the vibe.
To be clear, there will not be delivery! His Young Fava delivery concept from last year is a distant memory—this is a full-service restaurant. There’s going to be a full bar, too, with Italian-ish cocktails. He’s also getting a Suntory Toki highball machine installed (bring on the carbonated highballs, something he enjoyed while eating yakitori in Japan; he liked how well they paired with grilled food).
Strong is doing most of the design and acting as the general contractor, and he’s keeping the look simple, clean, and natural. When the 75-seat restaurant opens in late summer, they’ll be serving dinner nightly and plan to open for brunch on the weekend right out of the gate as well. You’ll be meeting Strong’s kombucha Bellini soon enough. There are also 15 sidewalk seats, always nice for cocktails and bites. Service will go until 11pm during the week and 12am on the weekend. I’ll keep updating you! 3431 19th St. at Mission.
Coming in hot! Chef Anthony Strong is ready to light things up. Photo: Victor Wong.