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Mar 26, 2024 19 min read

This week’s tablehopper: boho.

This week’s tablehopper: boho.
Table of Contents

what’s cookin’

 “Wall Decorations” in Coppa’s Red Paint Restaurant, 534 Washington St. From the tablehopper vintage postcard collection.
My latest postcard find, it felt like a wonderful omen for my upcoming party! “Wall Decorations” in Coppa’s Red Paint Restaurant, 534 Washington St. From the tablehopper vintage postcard collection.

I hope you had a nice weekend, we ended up getting more sun than I expected! This weekend is also looking pretty loosey-goosey weather-wise. I’ve been basking in so much fantastic visual and cultural input this past week, from visiting my dear friend’s new shop, Soochie on Sutter (check out my reel about this much-needed chic addition to SF’s fashion scene), to watching the Carol Doda Topless at the Condor documentary at the Roxie on Friday (and what a fascinating look at North Beach—it’s playing through April 3rd!). On Saturday, I checked out the Superfine Art Fair at Fort Mason (and bought some fire art!) and had a fab brunch at Radhaus (their mushroom, egg, and black forest ham spätzle bowl is incredible), and on Sunday, I was pawing through boxes of vintage SF postcards and ephemera at the Vintage Paper Fair so I have new material to share with you in the archivist. I always walk away broke but rich with many amazing treasures—I love looking at hundreds of vintage images of SF in a few hours, it’s heady stuff. And Sunday night was a fantastic Californios collab dinner at Copas, I can’t believe I got to revisit chef Val Cantù’s fish taco in a sourdough tortilla, one of my favorite SF bites. 

The rest of the weekend was spent working on this upcoming tablehopper party (A Bohemian Sunday at the Savoy Tivoli)! Guess who was up late on Saturday figuring out the intricacies of Eventbrite event codes? Wild night, I tell ya. But I can’t wait to finally put tickets on sale for all you fabulous supporting subscribers (and Patrons and Super Patrons) tomorrow/on Wednesday! Watch for an email from me. Thank you for your patience, there are a lot of moving parts (and wonderful sponsors) I needed to finalize before releasing tickets to this event!

I’m also running a flash ⚡️ subscription sale this week, so those of you on the free plan don’t miss out on getting tickets to this event, which is going to be one for the books! Take $29 off an annual tablehopper subscription (in honor of my 29 years in SF!) and you’ll get first dibs on tickets when they’re released to supporting subscribers only tomorrow. You can upgrade your subscription to Patron or Super Patron levels (also $29 off!) and you’ll be invited to the party an hour early (at 3pm) for a special VIP experience, with luxurious bites, special pours, and you get to bring home a VIP bag. Mwah!

Since I wanted folks on the free plan to have a final opportunity to subscribe with a sweet discount before I release party tickets, I’m doing something different and sending out the same newsletter to everyone at the same time today (normally, folks on the free plan get an abridged version of the newsletter a day later, on Wednesday). Someone is also really busy (it’s me!) and I don’t have time to mess around with editing a second newsletter this week! So, let’s party!

Later this week, I’m looking forward to previewing the latest incarnation of Mestiza, which is (re)opening soon in SoMa. You can read my early piece about this plant-based, Filipino-Mexican restaurant from Deanna Sison. I’m also excited to tuck into a lobster roll at the brand-new Broad Street Oyster Company, opening its latest location in Ghirardelli Square this week. I’ll have deets next week about both spots for you.

Big thanks to all of you who sent emails about saving the Palace Hotel neon signs, and here’s an update from SF Neon: “Thanks to 211+ people who sent emails about the Palace Hotel: Neon vs. LEDs. But we have to wait until April 3 for the vote...It was a marathon 5-hour hearing with many topics that pushed the Palace Hotel agenda item to the last 15 minutes of the hearing. Very frustrating! The SF Historic Preservation Commission heard a quick presentation supporting the LED conversion from Arrow Sign Company before hearing public comments. After public comments, the commissioners agreed to postpone their vote until the next regularly scheduled hearing on April 3. It’s hard to wait 2 weeks, what a nail-biter situation. Stay tuned!” Thinking all the best thoughts for this.

And any of you fellow longtime SF residents should dig this fun post and chat on Threads about older SF restaurants and bars that are no longer with us. It’s a sweet flash of good memories in the ’90s. Follow @tablehopper while you’re there!

Okay, friends. Let’s jump in. Have a lovely week and I’m wishing you a Buona Pasqua, if you celebrate (you can see my list of places to go for Easter from last week’s column here). 🐣


the chatterbox

Beef boat noodles soup at the new Khao Tiew. Photo courtesy of Khao Tiew via Yelp.
Beef boat noodles soup at the new Khao Tiew. Photo courtesy of Khao Tiew via Yelp.

New Openings Include Some Tasty-Looking Thai and a Vegetarian Pop-Up

OMG, I am ready to hop in my car and drive right over to this new Thai restaurant, Khao Tiew, which looks really, really good. Duck breast panang curry, tom gai bai ma karm (sour tamarind leaves soup with chicken), beef boat noodles soup, khao soi…I’m so in. Nice plating, too. It was previously Chiaya Thai Restaurant; one Yelper commented: “The owners were so hospitable and kind – they let us know the restaurant space was passed down to them by the previous owner who moved back to Thailand.” West Portal keeps on getting even more interesting! I’ll report back with more deets after I visit. Open Wed–Mon 4pm–8:30pm. 272 Claremont Blvd. at Ulloa.

I’ve been reporting on the opening of Bar Jabroni from Dennis Cantwell and Monica Wong of Palm City Wines in the former Axum Cafe in the Lower Haight, and according to this article in the Chronicle, they ended up bringing on former chef de cuisine Robert Hernandez from Octavia, who will be offering creative small plates and larger dishes, too. Open Tue–Sat 5pm–10pm, wine until 11pm. 698 Haight St. at Pierce.

Over the weekend, Berkeley-based Boichik Bagels opened their new location in Presidio Heights (previously Saint Frank Coffee, just next door to Sociale). Open daily 7:30am–1pm. 3665 Sacramento St. at Spruce.

There’s a new, weekly pop-up called Fare Play that just launched in the Joint Venture Kitchen space from a queer chef and artist, Brenden Blaine Darby. He’s offering a vegetarian menu, either as a tasting menu (five courses, $95) or à la carte, which will change weekly based on what’s available at the market. Fare Play will be in the space for a few months (until May), so he updated the décor with his friends, which looks more welcoming and interesting, and features his art, too. Open Thu–Sat 5pm–10pm. 167 11th St. at Mission.


Mini pan-fried pork buns at Mini Potstickers. Photo: ©
Mini pan-fried pork buns at Mini Potstickers. Photo: ©

Supporting subscribers already know about my love of Mini Potstickers in the Outer Sunset (which I featured in The Hopper Notebook: 29 Things I’m Loving About SF Right Now), and when I was driving up Polk Street recently, I noticed a sign for a second location. They said it should be open by the end of the month. 1639 Polk St. at Clay.

Over in Chinatown/North Beach, a second location of Inner Richmond’s Kiss of Matcha has opened right next to Sam’s burgers, serving matcha lattes, soft-serve ice cream, and hojicha. Open Thu and Sun 11:30am–7:30pm, Fri–Sat 11:30am–8:30pm. 612 Broadway at Grant.

New Service and Menu Additions for Lunch and Brunch

Dishes on the current Quick Catch lunch menu at Angler. Photo: Adahlia Cole.
Dishes on the current Quick Catch lunch menu at Angler. Photo: Adahlia Cole.

Angler has launched a “Quick Catch” lunch menu, a three-course, prix-fixe menu for $38 that is designed to get you in and out for lunch swiftly. Rotating options include Pacific oysters with seaweed vinegar and embered tomato, sea bream with vermouth butter (this dish is so bonkers delicious, don’t miss it) or half-chicken roasted in the wood oven, and THE soft-serve sundae. There’s also an à la carte menu, with lobster buns and angry frog legs with cardamom crème fraîche. Tue–Sat 12pm–2:30pm. 132 The Embarcadero.

Have you ever had brunch at Merkado in SoMa? Well, it’s back, and it’s pretty fantastic, especially when the weather cooperates and you can sit on the back patio. Chef Lorenzo Caamal has inventive dishes like Bennie (lamb patty, labneh, chile morita hollandaise on homemade biscuits, roasted tomato, caramelized shallots, and jicama salad; $20); chilaquiles (broccoli rabe, scrambled eggs, sautéed onion, salsa chile cascabel, queso fresco, avocado, corn tortilla chips, and crema; $18); and warache (Impossible housemade chorizo con papas, refried beans, crema, pico de gallo, scrambled eggs, queso, heirloom blue corn tortilla; $20). Considering the lousy omelets I’m seeing around town for $17, this menu way over-delivers. And the tortillas are made daily by Olga Dzul May, Merkado's “tortilla lady.” 

If you’re looking for a spot for the SF Giants Opening Day at Oracle Park on April 5th, doors open at 10am, and they’ll be serving an all-day menu with drink specials, with a DJ after the game.

Just in case you’re looking for something special for dinner tonight (March 26th), check out the pop-up dinner from their chef and bartender, Stories from Home. Dishes will include arroz caldo jook arancini with dipping sauces, yeah. 6:30pm. 130 Townsend St.

Pasta fans: Flour + Water Pasta Shop is now offering a selection of their hand-crafted pasta dishes during lunchtime, as of today. Known for their tasty sandwiches, you can now also get rigatoni cacio e pepe, tagliatelle alla bolognese, and agnolotti dal plin (dishes will change in time). Available daily 11:30am–3:30pm.

You can come check it out during SF Restaurant Week (starting April 5th): the $30 lunch special will feature an arugula salad, choice of cacio e pepe or agnolotti dal plin, and a Pellegrino soda. 3000 20th St.

Some Quick Notes

Pasta Supply Co. on Clement St. Photo: ©
Pasta Supply Co. on Clement St. Photo: ©

Anthony Strong of Pasta Supply Co. just launched a Kickstarter to help fund their second location that is opening soon in the Mission. Did someone say pasta for a year? Check it out. The Clement Street shop turned one this past weekend, and now it’s time for Strong’s return to the Mission.

After adding a 10 percent dining-in charge for guests, Che Fico has ended the controversial charge and is now charging a “more standard 5% San Francisco Business Mandate charge to help offset city-mandated expenses.”

In an email, they share more about the shift: “Over the past two years, we have made significant strides toward recovery despite the ongoing challenges of doing business in San Francisco. However, our approach may have alienated some of our devoted diners. Please know that the proceeds were used judiciously, supporting initiatives like a 401k with a 4% match in which we contributed over $300k to our employees’ retirement funds. We have distributed more than $100k to employees through our profit-sharing program. We have significantly increased our hourly wages and salaries across all departments, raising the floor of our wages by over 25%…As owners and operators, we have not profited from these measures, maintaining our pre-pandemic salaries. We have put the proceeds from the charge towards better benefits and wages for our team.” It was well-intentioned, but I wondered how long it would last.

Closures Include Birch & Rye and a Mission Old-Timer: We Be Sushi

Trio of caviar. Photo courtesy of Birch & Rye.
Trio of caviar. Photo courtesy of Birch & Rye.

On March 30th, Birch & Rye in Noe Valley will be closing their doors after two years in business (they opened in February 2022). Executive chef and owner Anya El-Wattar shares more about the difficult decision to close: “We wanted to present a new and elevated lens on Russian cuisine. Doing so required working with labor-intensive techniques and using premium ingredients, which made it challenging to keep this concept affordable for the neighborhood. We made so many of our dishes from scratch, from the rye bread and cultured butter, to the smoked fish and fermented vegetables, to our line of vodka infusions. Ultimately, it was unsustainable to devote this much attention to production, but we were not willing to compromise on quality.” 

I so appreciated all their extra effort and unique sourcing and ingredients. Every dish had many stories woven into it, and I’m sorry to see one of the City’s few Russian restaurants (and storytellers) depart our culinary scene. El-Wattar “plans on pursuing new culinary projects, and will announce those as they crystallize.” Best wishes. Make a final reservation to say goodbye while you can (and have one last taste of sea buckthorn). 1320 Castro St.

The original We Be Sushi location on Valencia Street. Yelp photo by Andrew N.
The original We Be Sushi location on Valencia Street. Yelp photo by Andrew N.

It’s time to pour out some hot sake (which is all we could find in the ’90s) for the original location of We Be Sushi, which has closed after a 36-year run at 1071 Valencia Street at 22nd Street. Mission Local reported that owner and chef Andy Tonozuka (who worked with his wife, Eiko) cited slow business for one reason for the closure, and, at 74, he has sciatic nerve pain and would occasionally have to close the restaurant. It’s time for the dear man to retire! What a run. I remember the long waits we’d endure on the sidewalk to snag a seat at this snug spot, there was always a crush of folks outside—it was so popular when I first moved to SF in the early ’90s. Awwww, good times.

Mission Local says: “Tonozuka is looking for someone to buy out the remaining five years of his lease. He’s asking $80,000 for the lease and all the items inside the restaurant. He will retain the name ‘We Be Sushi’ for his 16th and Valencia location. The price is negotiable, he added. If ‘nobody buys it, I may ask somebody in my restaurant at the 16th location to’ look after the 22nd St. location.” You guys, this is a pretty amazing opportunity for a sushi chef to take over a tiny spot and get some sweet rent for five years, which, let me do the math for you, comes out to $1333/month. I’d love to see something creative and special move in there!

Tonozuka also noted to Mission Local that he “will devote his time to teaching chefs at the 16th Street location, which will remain open.”

the sugar mama

San Francisco Restaurant Week Returns April 5th—Enter to Win One of Two Gift Certificates to Dine in Style!

Attention all food lovers! Get ready for San Francisco’s most exciting culinary event in the spring: San Francisco Restaurant Week (running Friday April 5th through Sunday April 14th, 2024)! Celebrate the flavors of the City and enter to win a gift certificate at participating San Francisco Restaurant Week restaurants: we’re giving away a $100 gift certificate to Wayfare Tavern, and another winner will win $100 for Rose’s Cafe!

Delectable weekend brunch? Indulgent five-star dinner? SF Restaurant Week brings you lunch and dinner options from over 200 restaurants, including Flour + Water, ROOH, Señor Sisig, The Vault Steakhouse, and more!

Restaurants will offer special prix-fixe menus at one or more of the following price points:
- brunch or lunch (2+ items or courses): $10, $15, $25, $30, $40
- dinner (3+ items or courses): $30, $45, $65, $75, $90

Visit to see all participating restaurants and to make reservations.

To enter to win a gift certificate, visit this @tablehopper post on Instagram! Good luck!

the lush

The Stud Collective co-owners Marke Bieschke and Rachel Ryan. Photo: ©
The Stud Collective co-owners Marke Bieschke and Rachel Ryan. Photo: ©

The Stud Announces a Reopening Party Date in Their New SoMa Location!

Back in February, I was able to hang out in the new location for The Stud bar during a neighborhood meet-and-greet before they applied for a Place of Entertainment (POE) permit with the SF Entertainment Commission, which would allow them to host DJs, drag shows, live music, and more (indoors, not on their patio). Great news: they got the permit (as well as their liquor license and successful rezoning to open a “new” nightclub in SoMa!), and over the weekend, the 16-member Stud Collective (a co-op) announced their grand opening party will be on Saturday April 20th (4/20)! Amazing. She’s baaaack!

The exterior of the upcoming The Stud bar, once Julie’s Supper Club. Photo: ©
The exterior of the upcoming The Stud bar, once Julie’s Supper Club. Photo: ©

They have been hard at work updating the former Trademark bar, which was formerly Julie’s Supper Club (where my disco associate Ryan Robles and I threw our illustrious +Rehab+ brunch parties in 2004–2005, so I’m feeling doubly nostalgic about The Stud’s new home). Most recently, the space has been used for themed pop-up experiences, like The Golden Girls, but now The Stud family has been working hard to strip the longtime party space of years of tape and paint and crud and start getting it ready for its next fab era. (The most recent pop-up was Beetlejuice-themed, hence the black and white stripes that will be going away.)

When the bar opens on 4/20, it’s not going to be the final version by any means—the space is going to be a community work in progress. Right now, they’re in the process of building a stage so we can see the qweens do their thang, and they’re also creating a green room so there’s a space for performers to get in and out of their lewks between acts. There are more ideas and plans for ongoing renovations, like potentially raising the ceiling of the performance area, and converting the former kitchen into more space, but for now, they just need to get open!

The future stage and performance area. Photo: ©
The future stage and performance area. Photo: ©

When SF’s oldest LGBTQIA+ bar (since 1966) closed their 9th and Harrison location during the pandemic, the collective saved decades of the bar’s historic memorabilia and furnishings and décor and put it all safely into storage. (Did you ever see the basement? We’re talking about a lot of stuff.) My heart skipped a few beats when I saw some of the old Stud signs on-site at the meet-and-greet, including everyone’s favorite: “Everybody is welcome at the Stud. Dream it. Be it.” I also love the eventual plan to be able to return The Stud’s bar in situ, which was the longest bar in SoMa!

The current bar in the new space (with a few of the historic Stud signs). Photo: ©
The current bar in the new space (with a few of the historic Stud signs). Photo: ©

Right now, they’re looking for volunteers to help them start unloading and schlepping these precious items from storage and install them at the bar. They also need help painting, building, organizing, and setting up the space. Many hands make light work, here’s the volunteer form

You can also help them out with a donation since any and all dollars would help with all the reopening expenses they’re having to take on to transform the space into a proper drag bar and get the place open. MAKE IT RAIN! There’s also some great history on the building on the donation page (which includes Patty Hearst), so why don’t you head on over… And in case you need a reminder on why you should try to help and show up hard for The Stud, AHEM, I’d read this piece from co-owner/collective member Marke Bieschke for 48 Hills. 

Co-owner Marke Bieschke with one of the original Stud signs. Photo: ©
Co-owner Marke Bieschke with one of the original Stud signs. Photo: ©

I’m just gonna say it: the turnout from the community to financially help The Stud get back open has been pretty lackluster. How can we have so many wealthy people in this city (around the world, actually) who absolutely LOVE this bar, have had their lives changed by it, and they haven’t turned up for it? Why are there only $71k in donations for one of the most beloved and iconic queer bars in the world? If you have ever had a drink at The Stud, a twirl, a make-out, a moment, a laugh, a late night, a lock-in (those were the days, ha-ha!), then you need to kick down some money for this beloved bar, like, right now. Even $20. I know money is tight for many of us, but come ON. Tip your bar(tender)!

We need to show our gratitude to the Stud Collective for fighting so hard to keep the legacy of The Stud shining bright in our city. San Francisco without The Stud was impossible and terrible to even imagine. It’s not just a miracle this is all happening—the hard work from the collective (and especially the indefatigable co-owner/general manager Rachel Ryan) is beyond inspiring. They deserve so much support from us.

There’s also a second fundraiser with As You Like It for The Stud at Public Works next Saturday April 6th, which is going to be a banger with The Blessed Madonna, David Harness, Carrie on Disco, Nina Sol B2B with Charles Hawthorne, and more. Get the high-tier tickets if you can afford it, mmmkay!

Stand by for more updates from me on the space and opening party—the event is going to honor The Stud’s past and the many people (both here and gone) who have played an integral part of the bar’s history and soul, for 58 years and counting. 💫 1123 Folsom St. at 7th St.

the socialite

Prima Mangiamo E Poi Balliamo fundraiser for North Beach Citizens

Get Your Ticket for North Beach Citizens’ Annual Benefit at Bimbo’s 365 Club

The designated charity for my upcoming A Bohemian Sunday at the Savoy Tivoli event is North Beach Citizens, a nonprofit organization serving the City’s low-income and unhoused population. Founded in 2001 by Francis Ford Coppola, North Beach Citizens provides food, housing, and stability to those in need. This year, they are celebrating 23 years of serving hope, generosity, and compassion to people living in extreme poverty.

On Friday April 12th, North Beach Citizens will be hosting their annual benefit, Prima Mangiamo E Poi Balliamo, at the iconic Bimbo’s 365 Club in North Beach from 6pm–10:30pm. This annual festivity is a gathering of the community to enjoy live music (from Pride & Joy) and to drink and dine together, while supporting a fund-a-need for essential services.

Tickets to attend the event are $250 for individuals, with sponsorship packages ranging from $750–$25k. To buy tickets or sponsor the event, click here. 1025 Columbus Ave.

This Saturday Is Pop-Ups on the Plaza: Celebrating Black Women Makers

That’s My Jam at last year’s Pop-Ups on the Plaza. Photo courtesy of Foodwise.
That’s My Jam at last year’s Pop-Ups on the Plaza. Photo courtesy of Foodwise.

This Saturday March 30th is Pop-Ups on the Plaza: Celebrating Black Women Makers at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market & Ferry Terminal Plaza. This popular event (now in its second year) will feature 18 Bay Area Black women food, drink, and craft vendors, including Peaches Patties, Smoke Soul Kitchen, The Lemonade Bar, Big Black Brunch, and many more, plus craft vendors like En Vie Naturals (with aromatherapy sprays and lotions) and jewelry from Cocoacentric, as well as cooking demos, music from DJ Lonnie Taylor of, and family activities. Admission is free, with food and products available for purchase. 9am–2pm.


Get the “For the Love of Pizza” kit for your favorite home pizza maker!
Get the “For the Love of Pizza” kit for your favorite home pizza maker!

For the Love of Pizza 🍕

Calling all my home pizza makers (and those of us who love them feeding us)! Corto Olive Co. and Stanislaus Tomatoes have teamed up to launch the “For the Love of Pizza” kit to celebrate Women’s Pizza Month, which is running through the end of March.

I enjoy cooking with Corto olive oils (have you ever tried their versatile La Padella sauté oil?) and they sent me this pizza kit which features their flavorful TRULY 100% extra virgin olive oil, plus two Piccolo Datterini baby plum tomatoes in 12 oz. jars from Stanislaus (never before available to the public, these hand-picked and hand-packed tomatoes are coveted by pizza-makers), Burlap & Barrel single-origin oregano flower buds in a grinder-top jar, a cute For the Love of Pizza tote bag from Baggu, and a booklet of exclusive recipes from top pizzaiolas, including an Eggs in Purgatory pizza from Laura Meyer of Pizzeria da Laura! (Feel free to invite me over if you make it.)

Available for a limited time for $75, the “For the Love of Pizza” kit is dedicated to pioneering pizzaiolas and their commitment to the best ingredients and pursuit of elevating the craft of pizza. To that end, Corto, Stanislaus, Christy Alia, and Pizza University are offering pizza scholarships to five aspiring female pizza makers to attend a multi-day intensive Master Pizza Seminar at Pizza University in Baltimore, MD; go here for more info and to apply by May 15th. Share this news with your favorite pizzaiola!

the starlet

I haven’t had a Julia Roberts sighting at her favorite spot Outerlands since before the pandemic, but a tablehopper reader wrote in with this fun tidbit: “On Saturday, Julia Roberts and Danny Moder dined at Outerlands. They seemed to be enjoying a date night and each other’s company. They were at the table next to us and started with their meal with Outerlands toothsome yummy bread and a bottle of red wine.” Sounds pretty damn cute! 

the archivist

Joseph “Papa” Coppa and his wife Elizabeth in Coppa’s Restaurant. From the tablehopper vintage postcard collection.
Joseph “Papa” Coppa and his wife Elizabeth in Coppa’s Restaurant. From the tablehopper vintage postcard collection.

Last week in the archivist (for subscribers only!), we ran a feature about Coppa’s Restaurant, the famed Bohemian hangout known for its fabulously eccentric murals at its many locations (the first one was on Montgomery Street in 1904, which then moved to Pine Street after the 1906 Quake, and then to Washington Street, and the last one at 120 Spring Street closed in 1939).

“Wall Decorations” in Coppa’s Red Paint Restaurant, 534 Washington St. San Francisco, Calif. From the tablehopper vintage postcard collection.
“Wall Decorations” in Coppa’s Red Paint Restaurant, 534 Washington St. San Francisco, Calif. From the tablehopper vintage postcard collection.

While I was at the Vintage Paper Fair this past weekend, I found even more postcards of the Coppa’s murals at the 534 Washington Street “Red Paint Restaurant” and the Spring Street location. I’m excited to be sharing them here.

This postcard featuring a mural in the 120 Spring Street location is dated 1936 on the back. From the tablehopper vintage postcard collection.
This postcard featuring a mural in the 120 Spring Street location is dated 1936 on the back. From the tablehopper vintage postcard collection.

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