I’m happy to see North Beach continue to percolate with new openings. Now open in the former Caffe Baonecci space is CONVIVIUM ENOTECA, from Sofia Scarpone. In case her last name is familiar, she’s the daughter of Lorenzo Scarpone, known for his Italian wine importing company, Villa Italia, and an early supporter and ambassador of Slow Food, working closely with founder Carlo Petrini for 32 years. Lorenzo is from Abruzzo, and his children have grown up with the food and wine from the region, as well as being steeped in the values of Slow Food (good, clean, fair food). As originally reported in What Now SF, Sofia used to work at A16, and has lived and worked in Rome as well.
Rotating dishes on the menu will feature some Abruzzese classics, like arrosticini (skewers) and spaghetti alla chitarra, but will also highlight dishes from other regions, like a trofie pasta dish from Sicily. (The part-time chef is from Puglia.) But these won’t all be traditional dishes: there will be inventive small plates, like a savory cannolo with mortadella mousse (!), or filet mignon tartare with osetra caviar, and larger dishes, like eggplant parmigiana alla Convivium, with couscous, avocado, and tomato confit. Some Japanese and other Asian ingredients will also be making appearances.
Of course, the extensive wine list will feature Italy prominently, but there are also Californian wines, biodynamic wines, and more. Look for six-seven whites and reds by the glass (each), and 70-80 bottles.
Community and conviviality are a big part of this project—it’s important to the family to showcase and preserve Italian culture and history in North Beach. Sofia is passionate about involving the artist community, musicians, and more, and she is committed to creating a space of inclusivity, where everyone is welcome (even people who don’t drink—Sofia knows how to take good care of you!).
In fact, the space used to be home to Danilo Bakery (for 36 years, until 2005), and the Scarpones reused the former plank the bakers used to knead bread dough into a counter for the enoteca. There’s room for 25-30 guests, with a small room and bar in the front, and two private rooms in the back. Dava Guthmiller of Noise 13 (the local design shop that designed the tablehopper newsletter and website many years ago!) consulted on the design of the space and branding, and has been an amazing support.
Things are a little wonky with hours this week because of the holiday, but they will be open Wed-Sun 5pm-10pm (except Thursday/Thanksgiving this week). 516 Green St. at Grant.
Now open in the former Franchino is ELENA, a Mediterranean restaurant from Nader Parhizgari of Nature Stop grocery. This interview on Joe Content mentions the menu spans Turkey, Greece, and Spain, featuring halal meats, and the wine list is focused on small producers. Open Sun and Tue-Thu 5pm-9pm, and Fri-Sat 11am-3pm for lunch and 5pm-9pm for dinner. 347 Columbus Ave. at Grant.
A tablehopper reader wrote in with a tip that LUKE’S LOCAL appears to be opening another location of their popular grocery store (also known for their deli and prepared foods) on Green Street (What Now SF spotted the permit filing back in September). I was able to get confirmation that they’re opening in winter 2023—additional details are coming soon. 580 Green St. at Stockton.
The main room of Convivium Enoteca. Photo courtesy of Convivium.