This week's tablehopper: signs of life.
Have a fun night on the town and see the opulent Moulin Rouge at the Orpheum Theatre (and enjoy a pre-show bite and post-show cocktail somewhere nearby). Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Hello, friends. I got back from Lake Tahoe a week ago, in time for an action-packed week that included checking out the gorgeously restored Peacock Court at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins (it’s truly glam and fabulous), followed by boozy drinks at the Tonga Room (when on Nob Hill…). (If you follow me on Instagram, I shared all these fun visits in my Stories.) My wingwoman and I tried to get a cocktail at the Big 4, but it’s still closed and locked up! So tragic. The Huntington Hotel was supposedly reopening last July, according to some Instagram posts, but obviously that didn’t happen. If anyone has any intel, I’m all ears.
On Friday, I had my heart lifted and mind blown with the scintillating production of Moulin Rouge, running at the Orpheum Theater until November 6th. Do NOT miss this show—especially if you’re a music lover, you won’t believe the mash-ups! The sets are fantastic, and it’s such a sexy show! Enjoy the spectacle, it will take your mind off of things.
If you’re looking for somewhere to eat before or after the performance, check out the special food and cocktail menus at The Madrigal, Villon, and La Bande (they will also be giving away tickets, check their social media accounts!), and One Market has put together a tasty three-course menu with a weekly ticket drawing! Cocktails on the rooftop at Charmaine’s are always a good idea, and Bluestem Brasserie also makes it easy to make it to the show on time with their pre-show ordering. Have a fun night!
With all my running around, I managed to pick up a nasty bug, and have been playing my least-favorite game since Saturday: is it a cold or Covid? (Second only to “monkeypox or mosquito bite?” Ugh.) I’ve been testing myself daily, and fortunately—not really, but yes—it’s a cold. (Such a rarity these days, but it’s kicking my ass.) I woke up without a voice, so I didn’t get to interview a couple folks I planned to speak with for today’s column. Wah wah. I’m wiped out, so it’s back to bed for me, with my noodle soups and golden milk. Blergh. Catch ya later. (And don’t catch this cold.)
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Coming Soon: Three Projects from Bacchus Management Group, Afici, Bandit to Dolores Park, Los Amigos, Colombo's to SF
Big announcement from Bacchus Management Group (The Village Pub, Spruce, Selby’s, Pizza Antica)—they’re launching a trio of restaurants in Potrero Hill in early 2023: a modern donut shop (Magic Donuts & Coffee), an old-fashioned burger and shake shop (Louie’s Original), and an Italian restaurant (La Connessa). They’re opening on the ground level of Mason on Mariposa, a luxury residential development.
Left Coast Design Studio and S.B. Brady Design will be handling the interior design. LA CONNESSA (1695 Mariposa St.) will feature an 86-seat dining room and a 16-seat bar, designed as a modern take on the classic trattoria. LOUIE’S ORIGINAL (1685 Mariposa St.) will feature two burgers: The Park (named after nearby Jackson Park) and the Big Sister Burger, aka the Spruce Burger. There will also be a fried chicken sandwich and vegetarian sandwich, two types of fries, and onion rings, plus classic milkshakes and soft-serve custard cones. There will be 12 counter seats and 17 table seats, with takeout and delivery. MAGIC DONUTS & COFFEE (1675 Mariposa St.) will specialize in brioche and cake doughnuts, plus doughnut holes and coffee drinks made with Bacchus’ own Roast Co. beans. Stand by for updates in coming months.
I’ve been seeing some ads for the soon-to-open AFICI from the Alexander’s Steakhouse team, opening in the former ALX Gastropub. Chef Eric Upper’s menu is a four-course prix-fixe for $125 (plus supplements, of course), spanning Italian and French influences, with housemade charcuterie, pastas (like casoncelli with pistachio purée, cherry, and confit wagyu), and whole-animal practices—you can take a look at some dishes on their Instagram account. It’s due to open on September 24th. 680 Folsom St. at Hawthorne.
I’ve had a couple folks ask me what’s going into the former Namu Stonepot that’s kitty corner to Dolores Park, and What Now SF reports it’s going to be another location of BANDIT, known for their siiick breakfast sandwiches (and burgers). I reached out about timing and if they were still going to open in Dogpatch (in the former Glena’s) but I haven’t heard back. 499 Dolores St. at 18th St.
Coming to the former Castro Republic space (it will always be the old Bagdad Café to me, what fun memories) is LOS AMIGOS, a second location of the Mission Salvadoran restaurant (located at 530 Valencia). Look for an early October opening. [Via Hoodline.] 2295 Market St. at Noe.
I was happy to read in SFGate that the longtime COLOMBO’S DELICATESSEN in Pacifica (since 1986!) is opening in South Park’s The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, with plans to start takeout and delivery this fall. I love that they have family ties to the great Woodside Deli (I grew up on Dan Gallinetti’s godfather sandwiches, and am pleased to see Colombo offers one that looks about the same!). 1 South Park Ave., Suite 103A, at 2nd St.
New Openings Include Cauliflower, Birdbox, United Dumpling Marina, Dumpling Kitchen, Tallio's Coffee & Tea
Earlier this spring, a pending ABC license revealed Tom Silargorn and business partner Rattakorn Potharam behind the three locations of Lers Ros were opening a project called CAULIFLOWER in the former (and longtime) Katz Bagels location on 16th Street in the Mission (Hoodline noticed the license back in May).
It ends up the concept is a homestyle, American breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner spot with French flair. The breakfast and lunch menu includes scrambles, omelets (with a tasty-sounding shrimp omelet), Benedicts, pancakes, French toast, salads, burgers (and a fried chicken sandwich), two kinds of cheesesteaks (made with grass-fed ribeye or prime New York), and a kids’ menu (you can peep the daytime board here).
Dinner includes apps like tuna tartare, steamed mussels, and four kinds of salads, while main dishes include prime New York steak with brandied mushrooms, thyme, and fried fingerling potatoes (looks good); pork osso buco (getting me ready for fall!); sea bass crusted with prosciutto and beurre blanc; rabbit Niçoise; and rack of lamb with asparagus, mashed potatoes, and rosemary jus. And there’s a namesake cauliflower steak. For those who remember, it’s not a big spot, so it will have a cozy vibe. Soft-opening hours are daily 10am-3pm and 5pm-9pm (closed Monday). 3147 16th St. at Valencia.
Back in July, I mentioned BIRDBOX, the casual, fried chicken spinoff from the Birdsong team was opening in South Park, and it’s now open for takeout only with a limited menu for now (Birdboxes, fried chicken breast and Claude the Claw sandwiches, “Bird Part” sets, and select sides including fries with schmaltz, coleslaw and cornbread); look for an expanded menu and indoor dining soon. It’s right by Oracle Park, so you can check it out on the next game day. Hours are currently Wed-Sun 11am-8pm. 680 2nd St. at Townsend.
Another follow-up: Sandy Zheng and Julia Zhu of UNITED DUMPLINGS in Bernal have opened their new Marina location (they took over the short-lived Cancha location on Chestnut). You’ll find their menu of both creative and traditional dumplings (including a jumbo soup XLB), small plates, noodles, fried rice, and more. Open daily (except Tue) 11am-2:30pm and 4:30pm-9pm (until 10pm Fri-Sat). There’s both indoor and outdoor/sidewalk seating, and they also offer takeout and delivery. 2015 Chestnut St. at Fillmore.
Over in the Castro, Hoodline reports DUMPLING KITCHEN has opened in the former Papi Rico space. I’m ready to hit that patio and enjoy some Shanghaiese dumplings made at the restaurant (bring on the pan-fried dumplings and XLB) and noodles and soups, plus lunch specials from 11am-3pm. This is owner Michael Shao’s second location. Open Mon and Wed-Fri 10am-3pm and 5pm-9:30pm, Sat-Sun 10am-9:30pm. 544 Castro St. at 18th St.
Over in Bayview, after countless delays and permit snags, Olton Rensch has finally been able to open TALLIO’S COFFEE & TEA, a specialty coffee roaster retail shop and café; check out his variety of roasts here—be sure to try the popular Bayview dark roast. He also offers a refreshing ginger brew that is made from a family recipe (from Suriname). I look forward to swinging by, welcome to the neighborhood. Here’s to persistence and perseverance. Soft-opening hours this week: Tue-Fri 9am-3pm, grand opening on Saturday at 1pm. 4732 3rd St. at Oakdale.
Updates: New Ownership at Heirloom Café, East Bay News, Healdsburg
Big news from the 12-year-old HEIRLOOM CAFÉ: a few weeks ago, owner Matt Straus passed the reins to new co-owners and managing partners Amy Siemers and Stephen Hallenbeck, who have been longtime associates at the restaurant. In his farewell/announcement letter, Straus says, “There have been a few projects simmering on my stove, and when they become official (fingers crossed, in the next few weeks), I will send flares to tell you about them, before I sign off. I have also been working on an Heirloom Café cookbook, which has been great fun. It’s a collection of chapters built around favorite dishes from my ten years of food and wine at Heirloom. (If anyone knows an agent or publisher who might be interested?)” He adds: “There is also some likelihood that I’ll host a dinner on Folsom Street here and there, perhaps even once or twice a year. Just thinking about it makes the gears turn and the palate start to water.” Thanks for creating such a personal and true neighborhood restaurant, am happy to hear it will continue with folks “in the family.”
I haven’t had time or bandwidth to report on East Bay openings, so I wanted to point you to this handy recap in Nosh, with news on Cafe Colucci, Cafe Ohlone/’ottoy, the new Humphry Slocombe, and so much more.
Up in Healdsburg, I was sorry to see a friend’s Facebook post about the closing of CAMPO FINA, a true local’s joint—here’s their farewell letter.
How about a great comeback story? CYRUS RESTAURANT from Douglas Keane and Nick Peyton has reopened in new, modern digs in Geyserville, here’s the dining format: “The Cyrus Dining Journey invites an intimate group of just 12 guests per seating to move through different spaces during the course of the evening. Our menu features locally sourced peak produce from family farms as well as the freshest seafood and ethically raised beef, pork and fowl. The cuisine is highly seasonal with Asian influences. Reservations for the full Dining Journey are ticketed and released in monthly blocks two months in advance. Tickets: $295.” Book here. Also worth noting: they will open their lounge on October 6th for casual cocktails, Champagne, and a curated menu for walk-in guests, 5pm-9pm.
Closures Include Arinell Pizza (Sigh) and Broken Record (in October), St. Francis for Sale
Last week, I tried to swing by ARINELL PIZZA for a slice around 8:45pm, and was frustrated to find it closed. (I was off to my other slice standby: Marcello’s in the Castro.) The next day, a tablehopper reader wrote in to tell me there was a sign posted at Arinell stating that they were closing due to staffing issues on 9/10. Big. Sigh. We learned back in April that owner Ron Demirdjian was having issues keeping the business going with less people out drinking and partying in the Mission, and sadly, he decided to permanently close the 33-year-old, New York-style slice shop that has fed thousands of us over the years. Really sorry to see this one go. Thanks for saving our drunk asses fat too many times to count. Fortunately, the Berkeley shop is still up and running in case you’re craving their trademark slice. 509 Valencia St. at 16th St.
Broke-Ass Stuart shares the unfortunate news that THE BROKEN RECORD is closing after 15-plus years in the Excelsior. I have been to some great pop-ups and had some strong drinks there over the years. Owner Jason King posted on Facebook: “We can no longer keep up with increasing expenses after 2 1/2 years of covid related slow downs, rising costs (goods and services), loans and, finally, a new lease that we unfortunately can not afford. This is not a plea for help nor is it a crowd funding cash grab. Just a reality. We will be closed to the public after Saturday the 15th of October and will entertain a couple private events as we clean out the property. As of now, there is no tenant lined up to take over but I know the landlord is attempting to rent out the space. For the sake of the Excelsior, I hope he finds someone with the capabilities to provide something amazing because the neighborhood deserves vibrancy. Whomever moves in, remember they did not shut us down and they will need ALL your help to stay open in the years to come.” Swing by for a final-final while you can. And as BAS notes, King’s other bar, Church Key, is still trucking.
After 20 years of owning the classic (and legacy business) ST. FRANCIS FOUNTAIN, owners Peter Hood and Levon Kazarian are looking for a new owner (they will keep the soda fountain open and running until that transition happens). Read more in this SFGate piece. I really hope SF’s oldest ice cream parlor and diner ends up in the right hands—I’m still not over the tragic gutting and dismantling of It’s Tops. 2801 24th St. at York.
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
(Sponsored): Just Fare's Secret Sauce to Being Green
(Hint: it’s all about the people!)
Food service operator Just Fare in Oakland and Emeryville is known for their delicious office and event catering menus, with favorites like tahini chicken, poke tofu brown rice bowls, and other world cuisine flavors. (tablehopper checked out their Mediterranean spread last summer and loved it!) With monthly menus inspired by beloved local chefs and organizations like La Cocina, their offerings never get boring.
Besides their delicious food, Just Fare also does good for people and the planet, prioritizing locally grown, organic ingredients from women- and BIPOC-owned independent farms. They are also trailblazing action against food waste—a problem the catering industry in particular struggles with. In the past three years, Just Fare prevented 4.5 tons of food waste, saving the company close to $35,000 and earning them an award from local public agency StopWaste. What’s their key to success? Read more.
Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Get Your Ticket to the Top 100 Tasting in SF with Wine & Spirits
It’s time to raise your glass and taste the Top 100 Wineries of 2022 with Wine & Spirits! They’ll be showcasing their top-scoring wines at the 19th annual Top 100 Tasting in SF on Thursday October 13th at City View at Metreon. From Burgundy and Barolo to Santa Barbara and Sonoma, come taste hundreds of the world’s best wines and learn the story behind each bottle. Champagne Bollinger, Le Macchiole, Ridge, Diamond Creek, and Zind-Humbrecht will be among the dozens of notable wineries featured at the event. The full list of this year’s Top 100 wineries can be found here. There will also be bites from top local restaurants and purveyors.
Top 100 VIP and general admission tickets are limited; tablehopper readers get 20 percent off GA tickets with code TABLEHOPPER.
5:30pm-8pm: VIP Admission 6pm-8pm: General Admission
Please note they require proof of a COVID-19 vaccination and government-issued ID at the door for entry.
City View at Metreon: 135 Fourth Street at Mission, San Francisco