The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
September 30, 2014
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At a test dinner. Photo: Luke Andrews.

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Chilled lettuce soup. Photo: Charlotte Cleary.

While State Bird Provisions is certainly one of the city’s more challenging restaurants to get a table at, the newly opened ~LAZY BEAR~ was so flooded with reservation requests for its first two weeks of seatings that the reservation ticketing system they’re using (from Chicago’s Alinea and Next) choked. All systems are go again, but scoring tickets—which are first come, first served—is up to luck (until someone figures out a bot to game the system).

Chef-owner David Barzelay has moved from underground suppers at his home into the former Hi Lo in the Mission, which now features two 22-foot elm communal tables, with room for 20 diners at each. Every Thu-Mon, there are two seatings, at 6:15pm and 8:15pm. The prix-fixe menu is around 11 courses for $120, with optional beverage pairings for $50. The Modern American menu is constantly changing, but recent dishes included chilled lettuce soup with Little Gems, summer squash, fried anchovy, parsley; Delta crawfish (cucumber, Delta rice grits, celery); and seared Sun Golds (smoked beef strip loin, basil, amaranth, tomato raisins). Desserts by Maya Erickson (previously at AQ) included ginger milk curd (pluot consommé gelée, pluot, shiso, mint) and a wooden slab of “treats” like frozen s’mores and a mini PB&J meringue.

The evening starts with snacks and optional drinks upstairs on the retro/postmodern mezzanine, and at the end, coffee service is a custom program with Ritual Coffee Roasters. Sommelier Marie-Louise Friedland (previously at Quince) and bar manager Brandon Presbury (Bartlett Hall, Locanda) are in charge of the beverage pairing menus.

Sign up for the Lazy Bear mailing list to receive information about when each month’s tickets will be released (it never hurts to follow along on Twitter and Instagram, too, @lazybearsf). 3416 19th St. at Valencia, 415-874-9921.

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Melissa Gugni and Jay Esopenko at Union Larder. Photo Courtesy Union Larder.

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Meat slicing at Union Larder. Photo courtesy Union Larder.

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The interior at The Hall. Photo by Patricia Change courtesy The Hall.

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Cassia at The Hall. Photo by Patricia Change courtesy The Hall.

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The spacious patio at Aracely. Photo courtesy of Aracely.

As reported earlier this month, ~UNION LARDER~ was opening in Russian Hill from the team behind Little Vine. Well, they officially opened their doors on September 16th, and now you can get their house charcuterie, glasses of wine, and cheeses. The retail side is also open, offering pantry items, Straus dairy products, and Marin Sun Farms meat. Hours this week are Mon-Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat 11am-11pm, but they should be opening Mon-Sat 11am-11pm in the next couple of weeks. 1945 Hyde St. at Union, 415-272-7567.

~THE HALL~, the Mid-Market gourmet marketplace we told you about in August, is now open in the former Hollywood Billiards building. The building is actually still a work in progress and will eventually be a residential building with retail on the ground floor. While the developer works that out, though, The Hall will be open in the interim, offering food from a variety of vendors including Little Green Cyclo, The Whole Beast, and Fine & Rare. It will also serve as a multiuse events space. 1028 Market St. at 6th St, 415-558-8293.

It looks like there is a new spot for handmade udon in town, in the Kinokuniya Building in Japantown. It’s called ~UDON MUGIZO~. There’s only one Yelp review, and it’s positive; sadly, Gary Soup discovered that they are closed on Mondays, so we don’t have the benefit of his always-thorough feedback. 1581 Webster St. at Post, no phone.

The Outer Sunset has a new spot for sweets—ice cream sandwiches, specifically. ~SWICH~ is now open on Irving, with customized sandwiches made with a variety of cookie and ice cream flavors, along with “toppings” for the sides of the sandwich. 2045 Irving St. at 22nd Ave, 415-592-8091.

Speaking of sweets in the Sunset, Eater caught the news of ~TWISTED DONUTS~. Husband-and-wife team Paul and Joyce Lim offers classics like old-fashioneds and glazed, along with hipper flavor combinations like mango, lemon and blueberry, and maple bacon available as daily specials. They’ve got coffee and housemade croissants too. 1243 Noriega St. at 20th Ave., 415-463-5437.

~CALIBUR~, the burger joint that moved into the former Market & Rye in West Portal, is now open, slinging organic burgers, fries, and shakes made with Three Twins ice cream. 68 West Portal Ave. at Vicente, no phone.

The ~BOBA GUYS~ have opened their second location, according to Chowhound. The new location is in Union Square, near the Stockton Street Tunnel, and to make things even easier for the downtown crowd, you can now order online for pickup. 429 Stockton St. at Bush, 415-967-2622.

And over on Treasure Island, ~ARACELY CAFE~ has now opened there after their move (you may remember them from Potrero Hill, in the Axis Cafe space). Their new island digs include a sweet patio space with bridge views, indoor/outdoor fireplaces, a chef’s garden, and a semi-enclosed courtyard. While they are serving brunch and lunch, it’s also a great event space: they host a bunch of private events (weddings, baby showers, and more), and some public events are coming up, including jazz, blues, music concerts, and wine tasting parties. Hours are Tue-Fri 11am-2pm, and Sat-Sun 10:30am-2:30pm. 401 13th St., Treasure Island, 415-694-0363.

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Adam Fleischman (Umami Burger) and Joshua Skenes (Saison) are getting ready to open a new fast-casual Chinese restaurant, ~FAT NOODLE~, this winter. It will be on Second Street at Mission in SoMa, and will offer hand-pulled noodles inspired by Szechuan and Shaanxi cuisine, along with other classic Chinese dishes. The casual service will also be speedy, with a choice of noodles, proteins, and vegetables, all served within three minutes and for less than $10. In addition to serving the lunchtime crowd, they will also offer late-night hours, until 2am. Look for an opening later this year or in early 2015. 92 2nd St. at Mission.

We’ve been tracking this space for a while now, and Eater caught the details on ~BUTTERMILK SOUTHERN KITCHEN~, opening in late October in the Mission. The space, which used to house a laundromat, comes from Miguel De Ocampo and partners, and will offer neighborhood-friendly Southern fare, including lunch, dinner, and brunch all day on Sundays. They’ll have beer and wine, along with some outdoor seating. 2848 23rd St. at Bryant.

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Matthew Bousqet at Per Diem. Photo courtesy Per Diem.

~PER DIEM~ has a new chef, Matthew Bousquet, previously of Michelin-starred Mirepoix in Windsor. He’s focused on keeping the food “simple and pure,” with almost everything made from scratch. The menu offers some decadent touches, including a bone marrow dish with escargot in Pernod butter ($12), crispy pork belly with roasted grapes, kale, quinoa, sage-pecan crumble, and Banyuls sauce ($12), and lamb sugo with tagliatelle, braised vegetables, and rosemary butter ($19). The classic bucatini bolognese all’arrabbiata remains on the menu, as well—take a peek at the dinner menu here. 43 Sutter St. at Sansome, 415-989-0300.

Back in July, I heard some rumblings that chef Bill Niles was leaving ~ST. VINCENT~, but when I reached out to confirm, I was told that the rumor was false. Wellllll, it wasn’t: Niles has left the restaurant (for now, he’s going to be working with Chris Kronner at his upcoming KronnerBurger, but that won’t be permanent). Scoop reports owner David Lynch has brought on John Thurmond, Nathan Holden, and Stephen Thorlton, a talented trio known collectively as The Other Guys (they have a pop-up), who will be acting like a kitchen team. This week, the restaurant is running more as a wine bar (read: limited food selections) while the kitchen ramps up, and look for a return to dinner service with their new menu on October 6th.

At Oakland’s ~PICÁN~, chef Robert Sapirman is now running the kitchen after Sophina Uong’s departure, East Bay Express reports. Sapirman, who previously worked at Hotel Valencia in San Jose and Vesu in Walnut Creek, hails from Florida and will continue to offer Southern food with an international bent. 2295 Broadway at 23rd St., Oakland, 510-834-1000.

Speaking of Sophina Uong, one of her post-Picán projects was consulting on the menu at ~CAPTAIN & CORSET~ in Oakland. However, East Bay Express reports that not only did Uong leave the project in July, but also that the wine bar and restaurant has closed. Apparently, there were some issues with the team and financial arrangements. No word on what may be moving into the space. 2212 Broadway at Grand, Oakland.

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The exterior of Tante Marie’s, future home of Parties That Cook. Photo from Facebook.

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Nachos from Green Chile Kitchen. Photo from Facebook.

Local businesses are branching out: first up, ~THE AMERICAN GRILLED CHEESE KITCHEN~ will be opening a third location in North Beach. Scoop reports they have a letter of intent for a new space at the corner of Broadway and Battery, expect an opening in mid-2015 or thereabouts.

Another ~SUPER DUPER~ will be coming to the El Faro on Kearny, look for an opening in spring 2015. 346 Kearny St. at Pine.

Adriano Paganini will also be busy opening a second location of the Marina’s ~DELAROSA~ in Yerba Buena Lane. The 100-seat space is aiming for spring 2015. 37 Yerba Buena Lane at Market.

Tipster Jason B. let us know there’s a second location of ~DRAGON EATS~ now in SoMa. The menu is similar to the Hayes Valley location, with banh mi, rolls, salads, and bowls. 555 Folsom St. at 2nd St., 415-795-1169.

Big congrats to Bibby Gignilliat and ~PARTIES THAT COOK~, who will be taking over the storied Tante Marie space on October 1st. It ends up Gignilliat is an alum of Tante Marie and is thrilled to have a permanent location for her corporate team-building events, parties, and cooking classes. She says of the move, “When Mary [Risley] called and offered me the keys to her space I was thrilled with the chance to take over the venue. The romantic look and feel of the building is filled with great karma from the culinary legends that have walked through her door. I’m very excited for our new permanent location and for the next chapter of Parties That Cook.” 

Look for an opening later this fall; Tante Marie’s last day in the space is October 1st.

Up in San Rafael, ~GREEN CHILE KITCHEN~ is opening a location in the former Odalisque Café & Grille, and aiming for October. The restaurant will be full service and everything will be made to order. There is a rotisserie, grill, and full kitchen, so GCK Marin will be adding some new dishes to the menu once they open—there won’t be traditional taqueria fare, but they’ll still offer some of the classics. There will also be cocktails! GCK owner Trevor Logan is partnering with Santa Fe native Ted Razatos on the project (Razatos’ family opened the highly acclaimed Plaza Cafe in downtown Santa Fe in 1947, the oldest restaurant in town). Follow along on Facebook for updates. 1335 Fourth St., San Rafael.

Now this expansion is pretty far afield: Chad Robertson will be opening a ~TARTINE BAKERY~ in Tokyo, how cool is that? Scoop reports it’s due to open in April and will feature Japanese grains, plus there will be sandwiches too. There’s also a brewery next door, so there will be some collaboration there as well.

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The pastrami sandwich from Wise Sons, now available for dinner. Yelp photo by J G.

It’s officially a (Jewish) new year, and ~WISE SONS DELI~ is celebrating by adding dinner service at their Mission location three nights a week, according to a tweet we spotted on Saturday. Scoop fills in that they’ll be open Thursdays through Sundays from 5:30pm-10pm, serving sandwiches like their Reuben, all-day breakfast plates, and blue plates like braised brisket or latkes. They’re also offering full table service during dinner for the first time (this is an excellent development), but still no reservations. You can also order delivery via Caviar.

~GASPAR BRASSERIE~ is now offering Saturday lunch from 12pm-3pm. If you need a shopping pick-me-up, perhaps their Champagne julep and a cheese plate is just the thing to keep you going. Take a peek at the lunch menu here. They also have a new Sunday supper menu, served family style every Sunday from 5pm-10:30pm for $40 per person. Each week, a different dish is the centerpiece of the three-course meal, with roasted lamb leg this Sunday October 5th.

If you’re looking to, ahem, jazz up your Sunday brunch, check out the new live music from Gaucho at ~BOXING ROOM~ every Sunday from 11:30am-2:30pm. The brunch menu is served 11am-3pm, and reservations are available.

Looking for a new happy hour? ~FERRY PLAZA SEAFOOD~, which recently reopened in North Beach, is now offering happy hour specials Monday through Friday from 3:30pm-6pm (with last call at 5:30pm). The menu choices will change regularly, but you’ll find options like oysters ($7 for a half dozen and $12 for a dozen), cups of clam chowder ($4), salmon rillettes ($10), and grilled half artichoke ($4). Selected glasses of wine are $5, beer $4. 653 Union St. at Columbus, 415-274-2561.

Sadly, with their new locations coming to Tokyo and the Heath Ceramics building, ~BAR TARTINE~ will have to stop offering lunch. Chad Robertson will be using the space during the day for menu and recipe development, according to Eater. Weekend brunch will remain, though. Whew.

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The iconic sign at All Star Donuts. Yelp photo by Kevin Y.

We were very sad to learn that 24-hour mainstay ~ALL STAR DONUTS~ in the Marina closed on September 22nd after 28 years of business, according to Scoop. A note in the window states that they’ve lost their lease, though reportedly they may reopen in a new location. As for what will be moving into the corner space, Scoop reports that chain ~GLAZE TERIYAKI~ will be opening their second San Francisco location there in 2015. From glazed doughnuts to Glazed. 2095 Chestnut St. at Steiner.

Last month, Hoodline reported that ~HAYES & KEBAB~ would close at the end of September to make room for a large mixed-use construction project that includes residential units, a parking garage, and retail space. They served their last kebab on September 28th. The good news, though, is that they’ll be moving into the ground-floor space in 2016 when the building is completed. In the meantime, they’re planning a food truck at Proxy and even eyeing a space on Valencia at 20th Street. 580 Hayes St. at Laguna.

Speaking of late-night bites, it looks like ~ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK~ has closed their Castro location. Their other five locations remain open, and Marcello’s is still slinging slices up the street. H/t Scoop. 508 Castro St. at 18th St.

Hoodline notes that there are some changes afoot at Second Act Marketplace on Haight. ~HIGH COTTON KITCHEN~ has moved to a space in Oakland, and ~SPICE HOUND~ has closed because the owner, Tammy Tan, is expecting a child and will now be focusing on online and wholesale sales. Of the two spots left vacant, one is being filled by Hayes Valley-based catering operation ~CRÊPE LA VIE~ from Emilie Le Pessot, Hoodline reports. The menu will offer eight to ten options, half of them savory crêpes made with buckwheat flour (galettes in the maison!), and the other half sweet ones made with unbleached pastry flour. Toppings will change with the seasons, but look for ham and cheese, smoked salmon, salted caramel, and chocolate with orange; you can see Le Pessot’s current menu here. The plan is to open in October. 1727 Haight St. at Cole.

Over in Oakland, East Bay Express reports that ~UME~ is no more, after taking over the Plum space only four months ago. The Daniel Patterson Group has, well, regrouped yet again, and the space will essentially become an extension of next door’s ~PLUM BAR~. The sense seems to be that a casual, less expensive option will be a better fit for the neighborhood, despite Ume’s good reviews. 2214 Broadway at Franklin, Oakland, 510-444-7586.

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The bar at Hecho. Photo via Facebook.

Just a couple of things to note in your brain files: first, after a public outcry and offense over the name “Bandidos,” the newly opened Mexican restaurant on Market Street has now changed its name to ~HECHO~. (Yes, there used to be an Hecho downtown, where Gaspar is now, but this new one is not related.) You can read a statement from the owners about the name change on their Facebook page. Now, let’s eat some short rib quesadillas. 2200 Market St. at Sanchez, 415-926-5630.

Next, the upcoming project from Brett Cooper and Daniel Patterson Group in the former Beast and the Hare location in the Mission will be called ~ASTER~. Scoop reports they are aiming to open at the end of the year. 1001 Guerrero St. at 22nd St.

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The Gaggia at Iron & Steam. Photo from Facebook.

Some coffee news for you around town because, hey, caffeination is important. We have mentioned ~PINHOLE COFFEE~ before, and they are now open in Bernal. The owner is JoEllen Depakakibo, previously of Blue Bottle, and Bernalwood reports she is using Linea Caffe beans. You can read more on Sprudge here. Rainbow stripes! Hours are Mon-Fri 6:30am-5pm and Sat-Sun 7:30am-5pm. 231 Cortland Ave. at Bonview.

Over in Dogpatch is the new ~DIGNITÀ~, which opened in the Invention Hub coworking space—people seem fired up on the seating options. There are also a variety of goodies available, from cookies to quick breads. In case the name seems familiar, this is the same café that is opening in The Hall as well. 2225 3rd St. at 19th St.

Was sorry to read on Chowhound ~IRON & STEAM ESPRESSO BAR~ and their gorgeous Gaggia machine have packed up and are no longer operating out of the Hi Lo Club’s window on Polk. 1423 Polk St. at Pine.

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Massimo Battura. Photo from Facebook.

The crush of fall book releases is upon us, with all kinds of cookbooks and restaurant vanity books to keep us well fed, inspired, and informed in the coming months. ~OMNIVORE BOOKS~ just released their list of upcoming fall events, packed with visits from locals like Thomas McNaughton (Flour + Water has their new book out) and Alder Yarrow talking wine, and Tony Gemignani talking pizza. There will also be some great visitors, from Renee Erickson (from Seattle restaurants like The Whale Wins) to Alexander Lobrano, whose second edition of Hungry for Paris was a great resource on my recent trip. Oh yeah, and there’s a party for Yotam Ottolenghi!

One more Omnivore event to note: next Thursday October 9th, ~TOSCA CAFE~ is hosting a party for Italian chef Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana to celebrate his new cookbook, Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef. The party is 5pm-8pm; a $55 ticket includes wine, cocktails, and passed canapés inspired by recipes in the book (but please note it doesn’t include the book, you gotta get that separately).

There’s also quite a lineup of chefs coming to speak at INFORUM, including Flour + Water’s Thomas McNaughton with MythBusters host Adam Savage on October 6th, Mario Batali with Tyler Florence on November 1st, and Marcus Samuelsson with Nikki Silvestri on November 3rd.  

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The front window of the upcoming La Snackeria. Photo from Facebook.

East Bay Dish has the story on the new project from Tina Tamale, who has been running Tina Tamale Catering. It’s called ~LA SNACKERIA~ and will offer “Chino Latino” food, like quesadillas with Oaxacan cheese and char siu-style pork, and boba frescas, or aguas frescas with tapioca. There will also be a large selection of salads made with local produce, and desserts and snacks from other local spots like Tart! Bakery. The project was partially funded by a Kiva loan, and after she opens the shop, Tina hopes to become a loan trustee and endorse loans for other small local businesses. Rock on, Tina! 815 Washington St. at 8th St., Oakland.

~A16 ROCKRIDGE~ is now offering an early morning and afternoon café service, with coffee from partner roaster Scarlet City Coffee Roasting. During breakfast and lunch, you can get Italian-style coffee and espresso, along with savory and sweet pastries like sfogliatelle, zeppole, and pizzas for takeout or dine-in. Free Wi-Fi will be available, as well. The café set-up will be offered Mon-Fri 7am-3pm and Sat-Sun 9am-3pm.

We’ve been tracking this one on Facebook for a while now, and it looks like it’s going to open this Friday October 3rd. ~DIVING DOG BREWHOUSE~ from owner Rob Bailard is a microbrewery opening in Oakland. With 30 taps, they will be serving their own beers plus many from other breweries. In addition, they’ve got a cool workshop element: groups will be able to come in and brew beer on-site using a variety of customizable recipes. After fermenting for a couple of weeks, you come back, bottle your beer, label it, and take it home. There isn’t a kitchen, just snacks, plus all that beer. 1802 Telegraph Ave. at 18th St., Oakland, 510-457-1148.

September 5, 2014
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Blue Jay Cafe exterior. Photo via Facebook.

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Brenda’s famed fried chicken. Photo: Libby Truesdell.

For years, I have wondered who and what would take over the lusterless ~BLUE JAY CAFE~ on Divisadero. The place has such great bones (love that horseshoe counter SO MUCH) and there’s even a patio out back. All it was missing was some real soul, which it’s going to be getting in spades, because the fabulous Brenda Buenviaje and her partner Libby Truesdell of ~BRENDA’S FRENCH SOUL FOOD~ (and Libby Jane Café) will be opening ~BRENDA’S MEAT & THREE~ at the end of this year. They haven’t bought the business from the current owners, André and Jennifer Larzul, but they are now majority/part-owners of the business, and the concept is theirs.

So, let’s discuss. First, the place is going to be a classic Southern diner concept, but not limited to New Orleans—Brenda has visions beyond beignets and gumbo. Breakfast will be served, with some standard and new items, ranging from johnnycakes to a one-eyed jack (i.e., toad in the hole) inside of one of Brenda’s famed cream biscuits, with creamed gravy and “city ham steak.” She’s also working on a version of callas, a fritter you don’t see much anymore, even in New Orleans: it’s a creamy but crisp rice pudding fritter, which will be served with brown sugar and a buttermilk glaze. Whoa.

Lunchtime means blue plate specials, from red beans and fried chicken on Wednesday to an amped-up fried baloney sandwich. Bring it on.

Dinner is when the diner’s name will make the most sense: you’ll be able to choose from five or six proteins, like fried chicken (yes, Brenda’s delicious fried chicken will be in the 94117!), oxtail, fried catfish, and country ribs. And then it’s time for three sides, with up to 15 in all, like bacon fat fries, smothered green beans, mac and cheese, creamed biscuits, and some seasonal sides too. The meat and three combos will range from $18-$22. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, or just trying to eat more vegetables, there will be plenty of sides for you to make a good meal. There will also be appetizers and salads. Oh, and beer and wine too.

It will be open daily, except for Tuesdays. The remodel starts Monday, with lots of cleaning, painting, and more. The hoped-for reopening will be mid-November. I’ll be (happily) giving you progress reports. As for Brenda’s Fillmore project, Brenda’s Original Po’Boys, that continues to move at a “snail’s pace,” as she put it—that’s definitely looking like 2015. 919 Divisadero St. at McAllister.

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The bar at Doc Ricketts. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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Doc Ricketts. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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The dining room at Doc Ricketts. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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The venue stage at Doc’s Lab. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

A report by Dana Eastland. The former Purple Onion space in North Beach has officially reopened as ~DOC RICKETTS~, as of Wednesday September 3rd. As previously reported on tablehopper, the owner is Christopher Burnett of Darwin Café, and he’s done quite a number on the historic location. The three-level space has been divided into two areas: Doc Ricketts, the restaurant, and Doc’s Lab in the lower level. The basement is where Purple Onion used to be, and it is still a performance space, with a full lineup of acts including comedy, music, and other acts.

As for the restaurant, it’s on the main floor and seats 32, with room for 8 at the bar. There is booth seating along the wall, with raw slab tables and glass light fixtures. The restaurant is named after Doc Ricketts, a marine biologist who inspired a character in John Steinbeck’s novels, and there is a touch of the maritime in the decor. One wall has a large vintage educational marine biology poster, and a painting of an octopus appears in another corner. Ricketts’ photo even appears over the bar. In the coming weeks, they will also be adding sidewalk seating.

In the kitchen, which is on the second floor, is chef Justin Deering (previously of 15 Romolo). His menu is focused on straightforward ingredients, carefully prepared with layers of flavor and texture to create something exciting and complex. The small plates selection is focused on vegetable and seafood dishes, including a cauliflower dish ($11) that sounds simple but includes three kinds of cauliflower, all prepared differently, and served with housemade vadouvan yogurt and vinaigrette made with sultana raisins. There is also a selection of housemade charcuterie ($7.50 each or $24 for a plate)—there’s a curing room on-site.

As for the main dishes, they are heartier, with choices like a pork chop with mustard, maple, and spaetzle ($26). There is also a burger made with short ribs and served with fries ($14), and a roasted chicken with liver toast, fingerling potatoes, and broccoli rabe ($22). Since a version of the menu will also be served in Doc’s Lab, there is a section of the menu devoted to snacks (all $6), which will also be nice at the bar. Take a look at the current menu here.

Speaking of the bar, it’s a small one, but they have a full liquor license and are serving classic cocktails (nope, not “with a twist”) like a Martinez (gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino, orange bitters) and a Vieux Carré (rye, Cognac, vermouth, Benedictine, bitters). The drinks are all pleasantly priced, at $9-$11. The wine list is small with five whites, one rosé, and six reds, all intended to pair well with the food. There are four beers on tap, as well: North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner, Big Daddy IPA, Anchor Liberty Ale, and Eel River Porter, plus a few more choices by the bottle. Here’s the beverage list. Charlie Brown, who was the restaurant manager at Prospect since it opened, is in charge of operations.

Doc’s Lab will offer a limited version of the menu when it opens on Friday September 12th, and also has its own bar. The calendar is booked for the next month already, including some literary events in partnership with nearby City Lights Bookstore, along with music, comedy, and even a magic show.

Restaurant hours are Sun-Wed 5:30pm-10pm, Thu-Sat 5:30pm-12am. Doc’s Lab will be open for events. 124 Columbus Ave. at Montgomery, 415-649-6191.

September 3, 2014
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A rendering of the chef’s table and dining area. Courtesy of Engstrom Design Group.

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Rendering of the service counter. Courtesy of Engstrom Design Group.

There’s a new waterfront restaurant coming to Mission Bay, near the upcoming Warriors event center and Mission Rock, that’s due to open in late fall 2014. It’s called ~STEM~ and is from Bon Appétit Management Company, which is behind Public House at AT&T Park, SeaGlass at the Exploratorium, and the Commissary in the Presidio.

The cuisine will be Mediterranean in style, serving casual breakfast (smoothies, eggs, plus a juice bar), lunch (panini, soup, salads, flatbread pizza, plus larger entrées), happy hour (you’ll find small plates and charcuterie in the bar), and dinner. Per BAMCO’s company policy, all the ingredients will be sustainable and humanely produced, with local produce figuring prominently. There will also be local coffee, cocktails, craft beer, and wine on tap.

It’s a spacious location, with 158 seats, views of the bay, heated outdoor seating, an edible garden with raised beds and planters, fire pits, and complimentary bocce ball. The location is 499 Illinois Street, within Alexandria Real Estate Equities’ science and technology campus. Engstrom Design Group is behind the design, which will be modern yet full of natural touches. 499 Illinois St. at 16th St.

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A dish from a Californios dinner at Naked Kitchen: Yerba Buena Fruit Cup Under the C. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

After experiencing a Californios pop-up dinner by chef Val Cantu last year, we’ve been tracking his next steps, which now includes opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant called, you guessed it, ~CALIFORNIOS~. He’ll be opening in the former Panchita’s 3 (and the short-lived Manos Nouveau) on 22nd Street.

Val’s background includes cooking at Uchi in Austin (he’s from Texas) and locally he was a sous at Sons & Daughters. His cuisine is a unique and modern version of Mexican cuisine, taking inspiration from the history of Californios here in SF and Alta California (you can read more here). There will be three menus ($45-$75): an omnivorous 4-course, a vegetable 4-course, and an extended 7- to 10-course menu. Dinner will be served Tue-Sat.

So, the space. It’s going to have 25 seats, with 7 at a chef’s counter, looking into the open kitchen. Val’s wife, Carolyn Cantu, will be designing the interior. She was most recently a designer at Ken Fulk, and once the design duties are wrapped up, she will be the maître d’. Charlotte Randolph, previously a server at The French Laundry, will be running the front of the house and the wine program. Look for an opening in November. 3115 22nd St. at Capp.

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Just next door to Cantina, in the neighborhood bordering Nob Hill and Union Square will be ~HOGWASH~, a craft beer hall and restaurant (the space was previously Crackers Grill, Persimmon, and J Tu Cafe). The team is Nick Rothman, who you may recognize as the owner of Zeki’s Bar, and Paula Thompson, a hospitality veteran.

They are going to be offering gourmet sausages (made in-house), pretzels, and other dishes with locally sourced ingredients by Morgan Hamm (the owner of Le Beau Market, who is known for his sandwiches). The craft beer list—30 on draft—will be well rounded and represent many styles of beers (Rich Higgins is assembling the list). Thompson, who is currently trying for her cicerone certification, will also be closely involved with the beer program. And…there will also be some very creative beer milk shakes and floats!

Lauren Geremia (of Geremia Design) is behind the laid-back but well-designed look, which will have handmade plaster tiles that line the walls, a bar area, and there will be custom-made communal tables (from designer Alexis Moran). The look will be more on the California modern tip than German, and it’s designed to be a social place where people can get together and hang out.

Hours will be determined (lunch may be added), but happy hour and dinner hours are certain. Look for an opening this fall. We’ll keep you updated. 582 Sutter St. at Mason.

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The bar at Hecho. Photo via Facebook.

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The fajitas at Bandidos. Photo from Facebook.

~BANDIDOS~, the Mexican restaurant and bar from Jesse Woodward and Dana Gleim of Hi Tops, opened in the Castro Tuesday September 2nd. It’s in the former Leticia’s space in The Century building. They’ve got a full liquor license, along with a menu of traditional Mexican dishes with a modern edge from consulting chef Jamie Lauren (of Top Chef fame).

The dinner menu includes small plates like a barbacoa quesadilla with beef cheeks, or queso fundido with rajas or chorizo. There are plates of two tacos in a wide variety of choices, including fried avocado and duck mole, and entrées like a fried whole fish and fajitas. At brunch, there are egg dishes including fideos (noodles) with chile sauce and eggs, along with chilaquiles and scrambles.

As for beverages, the cocktail menu has margaritas, of course, along with other cocktails (Sipcraft consulted on the menu), and a selection of tequila and mezcal (and sangrita!). (Order the Guns a Blazin’ if you want to get that cute guy’s attention at the bar.) A small wine list includes three reds, three whites, and two rosés available by the glass or bottle. Beers are mostly Mexican imports (think Corona, Bohemia, and Victoria), along with Lagunitas IPA.

C Walters Design is behind the design of the 3,000-square-foot space, which includes geometric tile, rough-hewn reclaimed wood tables, floor-to-ceiling windows, and an impressive shelving situation behind the tiled bar. There is also an open kitchen, so you can watch the action, and leather booths. A pet-friendly patio coming soon means you can (eventually) bring your cute Frenchie while you enjoy your albondigas and an agua fresca. Hours are Mon-Thu 5pm-11pm, Fri 5pm-12am, Sat 11am-12am, and Sun 10am-11pm. 2200 Market St. at 15th St., 415-926-5630.

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Housemade coppa. Photo courtesy of Union Larder.

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The exterior of the soon-to-open Union Larder. Photo courtesy of Union Larder.

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A peek at the in-progress space. Photo courtesy of Union Larder.

We broke the news earlier this year about ~UNION LARDER~ coming to Russian Hill from the Little Vine duo, Melissa Gugni and Jay Esopenko. If everything pans out as planned, they should be opening their doors within a couple of weeks. The 30-seat space is looking great, with a zinc bar, custom-fabricated barstools with comfy upholstered seats, and there’s a hand-cranked meat slicer too. And then there’s all the light that comes in from the huge windows.

We have some project updates for you, starting with the hiring of their chef, Ramon Siewart, who was previously at Quince, Bourbon Steak, and The Cavalier. He will be making all their charcuterie in-house, and they’re building an aging room downstairs for salami and prosciutto (but we’ll have to wait awhile until we can taste the prosciutto—that takes some time). Look for some fantastic charcuterie, ranging from pâté (including sea urchin pâté!) to pork rillettes, ciccioli, duck liver mousse, and cured meats like mortadella, coppa, and lonza. Esopenko also says Siewart’s blood sausage is the best he’s had anywhere! (Noted!)

Another key hire is Kristi Bachman, the buyer at the Cheese School of SF, who is coming over to work for them. She’ll be the cheese director (there will be close to 100 cheeses, whoa, with a focus on artisanal American cheeses), and she will be organizing cheese and wine pairing classes and events too. There will be 30 wines by the glass, including 5 sparklers (I love to hear that). Like we said in our previous post, the inspiration for this place was a cava and jamón bar Esopenko frequented while living in Barcelona 20 years ago. So yes, jamón Ibérico de Bellota will be en la casa. The meat-and-cheese boards will be something really special here: you’ll be able to choose from 30 cheeses and 15 meats. Also on the menu: oysters, housemade boquerones, raclette, fondue, sandwiches, and salads.

The retail side will have Straus milk, Marin Sun Farms meats, and dozens of other grocery items from small producers. Follow along on Facebook for opening updates since tablehopper is going to be dark through September 30th! 1945 Hyde St. at Union.

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The exterior of El Zocalo. Yelp photo by Ed U.

Last week a reader tipped me off to some news that ~EMMY’S SPAGHETTI SHACK~ was going to be moving, and before I could figure out where to, some ABC license activity revealed all: ~EL ZOCALO~. I know, our trusted late-night pupusa joint—yes, the one that makes it feel like forever until your pupusas arrive, but whatever, you’re drunk and hungry and those things are handmade and the service was never that great to begin with, but damn—is sadly leaving us. Sigh. Eater got more details on the change: El Zocalo has been open since current owner Victoria Reve’s mother opened it in 1965, but now Victoria is ready to retire (after serving how many drunk people?!) since she started running it in the ’70s.

The good news is that the space is going to a neighbor, Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack, which has been in the neighborhood for 13 years and is another female-owned business at that. Emily Kaplan is reportedly planning to move Emmy’s to the more spacious digs in November. With the move, hours will run later, there will be more wines, and more to-go options too. As far as the original location, it sounds like it will function as an annex until they determine what they want it to be. And this means I need to go tie one on soon and come in for a loroco con queso and a revuelta at 2:15am before El Zocalo sadly leaves us. We called to get an official date on the closing but unfortunately no one at the restaurant could confirm for us. 3230 Mission St. at Valencia, 415-282-2572.

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The back counter and retail area. Photo courtesy of Nicholas Cho.

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The custom pour-over station with built-in scales and a special drain board. Photo courtesy of Nicholas Cho.

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The 16-foot bench where you can perch and enjoy your coffee. Photo courtesy of Nicholas Cho.

Fans of Wrecking Ball Coffee (you may have encountered it at Firehouse 8 or Marla Bakery) will be pleased to know the opening date has been set for their very own café this Friday September 5th in Cow Hollow. Partners Nicholas Cho and Trish Rothgeb both have some serious chops behind them—Rothgeb has been roasting, buying, and in the coffee world for 25 years, and Cho will be rocking the retail and barista side (he has 12 years under his belt). They’re excited to be opening a neighborhood coffee shop, a place with a bit of feminine style (cute pineapple wallpaper made in SF, check, and stylish aprons by studiopatró, you’ll find that too). As Nick says, “We wanted a shop to be proud of.”

But it’s not a place to bring your laptop. There’s a long 16-foot bench inside where you can sit next to some neighbors, and there’s a small counter where you can sit in front of the pour-over station and geek out with your barista, almost like a chef’s counter (both owners are big on education). They plan to get some outdoor seating soon, but they’ll have to get that permit first.

The duo has been working on finding a balance of flavors in their coffee drinks. For example, Cho says they have found using 2 percent milk for their cappuccino offers more flavor and balance (although you are more than welcome to order your capp with whole milk, they’ll have that too). Look for some creative drinks, effervescent drinks, and a chocolaty number to come when the weather gets a touch cooler. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, Sat-Sun 8am-8pm. 2271 Union St. at Steiner.

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The 555 Golden Gate exterior, when it was Maestro. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

There’s a new taker for the storied former home of Stars (and Maestro, most recently), according to Scoop. Actually, there are two takers: Jordan Langer (formerly at Big) and Pete Glikshtern (from Jones), who opened Oddjob together and have been running Pier 70 lately. They’ve signed a temporary three-year lease on the space (it’s going to be demolished, eventually). They’ll be calling the new project ~EMPIRE ROOM~, and it will feature different “social spaces” to take advantage of the large building. The main dining room will become a bar and nightclub, while the private dining room is going to be a smaller, higher-end cocktail bar.

As for the kitchen, it will function as a commissary for food trucks, who will also serve food in the bar. There will be several different trucks on the roster, rotating on different evenings. Because the space is so temporary, they won’t be doing any major construction, just some visual updates. Besides, they like how it looks—it’s a San Francisco classic. The plan is to open by November. 555 Golden Gate Ave. at Van Ness.

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Front booth action, and yes, that’s Simon on the shelf. Photo courtesy of Chino.

Over at the ever-poppin’ ~CHINO~ in the Mission, the team has just brought on consulting chef Justine Kelly, who hails from the Charles Phan empire—she initially started working with the Slanted Door in 1996 and was a key figure with the group until she moved on to The Battery as executive chef of their restaurant, 717B. She is now going to be working closely with Chino executive chef-partner Telmo Faria and chef de cuisine Dale Arcalas—partner Joe Hargrave tells me the team is adding around two new dishes a week. They aren’t going to be massively changing the menu—it’s more about fine-tuning and the pursuit of excellence. They want to dial the food at the restaurant to be great and are excited to have Justine on board to help drive it. Also in the works: the team is going to be taking a trip for inspiration to Vancouver.

About a month ago, we mentioned the upcoming brewery and beer incubator ~CITIZEN FOX~ that’s coming to the Mission (it’s now due to open early 2015). They have just announced a consulting chef: Tanya Petrovna, the founder and past president of the vegan café company Native Foods. So yes, it will be a vegan menu, but not “hippie vegan”—it will be designed to appeal to everyone. After getting the menu in place, she’ll be updating it seasonally and adding new dishes. If you want to meet her, she’ll be leading a demo at the CUESA Ferry Plaza Farmers Market this Saturday. 2205 Mission St. at 18th St.

Some changes are afoot at ~OUTERLANDS~: the chef who was brought on to replace Brett Cooper, Greg Kuzia-Carmel, has also been let go after four months. Pastry chef Brooke Mosley, who is also a big part of the savory side of things over there, will be collaborating with sous chef Bayani Inclano; it sounds like another chef will be brought on to work closely with the team. We’ll see where Kuzia-Carmel lands next.

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A peek into the new Le Marais Bistro space, which flanks the bakery (at left). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

~LE MARAIS BISTRO AND BAKERY~ is getting ready to launch its bistro dinner menu on Wednesday September 10th. We wrote about the details of the new menu in July, so check out all the details there. To recap, they’ve expanded into a larger space and added bistro-style dinner service from chef Nicolette Manescalchi. You can look at the bistro menu right here. The café and bakery will now be open daily 7:30am-4:30pm, and the bistro open Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. 2066 Chestnut St. at Mallorca, 415-359-9801.

~A.G. FERRARI~, the local deli and gourmet shop, will be closing its three San Francisco locations for a makeover on Monday September 8th. The shops, which were purchased by investment firm Murano Group last year, will have new menus from chef Ira Meyer, a new wine selection, and a new design to their interiors. After the renovations, look for a grand reopening later this month. 468 Castro St. at 18th St., 415-255-6590; 3490 California St. at Locust, 415-923-4470; 688 Mission St. at 3rd St., 415-344-0644.

The owner of Bean Bag told me awhile ago that the (permanently under construction) space next to Bean Bag on Divisadero would potentially be a casual Mediterranean spot, and Hoodline confirms the news. The new spot, which is still unnamed, comes from Chris Totah, owner of Zaytoon in the Mission. This new location will cater more toward dining in, though they will still offer takeout options, with a menu of items made from fresh ingredients. Though there have been a lot of construction delays, Totah hopes to open in the next couple of months. 605 Divisadero St. at Hayes.

~NOODLES & COMPANY~, a Colorado-based chain of fast-casual restaurants, has opened a San Francisco location in the Metreon, and another location in the Market Center is opening on Monday September 29th. The menu offers noodle and pasta dishes with internationally inspired flavors, along with salads, soups, and sandwiches. Hours for both locations are Sun-Thu 10:30am-9pm, Fri-Sat 10:30am-10pm. Metreon, 135 4th St. at Mission, 415-979-0793; Market Center, 575 Market St. at 2nd St., 415-543-5700.

Now you’ve got an extra day to nab pastrami and matzo ball soup. ~WISE SONS DELI~ on 24th Street in the Mission is now open on Tuesdays, from 8am-3pm. They’re still closed Mondays, though—you’ll have to go to the Contemporary Jewish Museum location for a Monday fix.

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Feasting at CUESA’s Sunday Supper last year. Photo ©Drew Altizer Photography via Facebook.

CUESA’s 12th Annual Sunday Supper is coming up on Sunday October 5th from 6pm-9:30pm. The evening begins with a reception on the main floor of the Ferry Plaza, with oysters, Champagne, appetizers, and cocktails. Then, you’ll head upstairs for a four-course dinner prepared by some of San Francisco’s best chefs, including Evan and Sarah Rich (Rich Table), Michelle Polzine (20th Century Cafe), and Dennis Lee (Namu Gaji, Smokestack). All of this will be accompanied by wine pairings, of course. There will also be a silent auction with local gourmet experiences, like a farm dinner for 20 with Paula LeDuc Fine Catering. Tickets are $275 per person; VIP tickets are $350, which includes entry to the reception at 5:30pm, specialty cocktails, and a gift bag. The evening is a benefit for CUESA’s Foodwise Kids program.

~MILLENNIUM~ is celebrating 20 years of business this month, and of course they’re toasting this anniversary with a special fête. It’s on Thursday September 25th, and there will be lots of passed appetizers, a full bar, and live music. Reservations can be made for either 6pm or 8pm, and the party is $50 per person (not including tax and tip), with a portion of the proceeds going to Farm Sanctuary. Reservations can be made by calling 415-345-3900 ext. 10.

For a special evening in Half Moon Bay, check out the Husk to Harvest Farm Dinner from the Half Moon Bay Chamber of Commerce on Sunday September 28th from 5:30pm-9pm. The five-course dinner will be held at La Nebbia Winery in Half Moon Bay, with many local chefs and bakers making the magic happen in the kitchen. La Nebbia and Trojak-Knier Winery will be pouring wine, along with beer Highway 1 Brewing Company and Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. and spirits from Half Moon Bay Distillery. Plus, everyone will receive a special gift basket full of fresh produce and other local products. Tickets are $150 per person. 12341 San Mateo Rd., Half Moon Bay.

~FOREIGN CINEMA~ is toasting to its 15th birthday this year, and they’re throwing (what else?) a quinceañera to commemorate the occasion. Actually, it’s officially called the Quintessentially Quixotic Quinceañera and is happening Thursday September 18th from 7pm-11pm. The fiesta includes a whole roasted suckling pig, handmade tortillas, a ceviche bar, and all the fixings for excellent tacos. Cocktails from Kevin Dowell will be shaking all night long, as well. Heklina, Trannyshack, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will also be in attendance, keeping the festivities faaaaabulous with live performances. Tickets are $100 per person and include food, wine, and drinks. Proceeds benefit LYRIC and the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy.

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theLab’s inviting exterior. Photo from Facebook.

After their unfortunate closure in May due to permit restrictions, Recchiuti’s Dogpatch cafe ~THELAB~ has reopened as the ultimate pop-up destination. They’ve shaken up the concept a bit, and turned it into a space for events like their new Taste Project series. Each evening will offer an experience along with dinner, usually involving beverage pairings. On Friday and Saturday September 12th and 13th at 7pm, they’ll team up with Dogpatch’s own Sutton Cellars for a dinner with wine pairings. Future events include a sugar- and glassblowing demonstration along with dinner, an evening with Almanac Brewing, and an evening on the science of salt and bitters; check here for upcoming events. Tickets are typically $95 per person. The space is also available for private events, with special menus tailored to fit your group’s needs and interests.

The fine folks at Mattarello will be popping up at Gourmet & More on Saturday September 6th from 1pm-4pm. Their ravioli San Domenico will be available (they look totally insane), along with tagliatelle and pappardelle and a variety of sauces; check out all the choices here and be sure to preorder! 141 Gough St. at Oak, 415-874-9133.

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Thirsty? Here’s the Juju at Bar Dogwood. Photo via Dogwood’s Facebook page.

The owner of ~BAR DOGWOOD~ and ~STAG’S LUNCHETTE~, Alexeis Filipello, is not only busy with the upcoming ~DARLING’S~, which we told you about earlier this year, but she also has another project in the works: ~THE LODGE~. She is partnering with Matt EIseman on this project, which will mostly be a bar with classic cocktails and some top-notch bar food/small plates. Bay Area classics will figure prominently, like oysters on the half shell, plus fish fries, crudo, chowder, and salads. We can’t announce the space juuuust yet (it’ll be a month or so before we can say anything), but it’s pretty fantastic, with a nice lodge setting and a patio; there are about 60 seats in all. We’ll keep you posted!

August 29, 2014
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Cheers to the Ramen Shop’s expansion! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Fellow fans of ~RAMEN SHOP~ in Rockridge will be thrilled to know business partners (and evil culinary masterminds) Jerry Jaksich, Rayneil De Guzman, and Sam White have secured the luggage shop space next door (Rockridge Luggage & Leather Goods at 5816 College Avenue), and will be expanding their footprint. But it’s not going to be a case of knocking down the wall in between the businesses and making it a big restaurant; partner Sam White says they want to keep the intimate feeling of Ramen Shop.

The new space will become an intimate cocktail bar—no food will be served, except maybe a couple of bar snacks—and will double as a waiting area. The current front bar area will become a place for diners to eat, adding 15 precious seats. White says it should help with lessening the overall wait times.

Another big component to all this is they’ll be moving their office over, adding another kitchen, and therefore gaining more storage space for their ingredients (and broth!), which means they’ll be able to move to being open seven days a week (Ramen Shop is currently closed on Tuesdays). Since the gents will be gaining storage space for the kitchen, they expect to be able to expand to being open nightly in November or December, and lunch on the weekends is also being looked at. They get the keys October 1st, and expect the entire addition will be done in late winter or early spring of 2015. For now, they’re gearing up for another trip to Japan in October, so expect them to come back with even more inspiration and ideas.

August 26, 2014
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The cheerful interior and communal table at L’Aviateur. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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Window seating at L’Aviateur. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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Vegetable “caviar” with pepper-carrot purée and quail egg. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

A report by Dana Eastland. As we mentioned back in March, there is a new bistro headed to 21st Street in the Mission, called ~BISTRO L’AVIATEUR~. To recap, the project is definitely a family affair, from husband-and-wife team Maha and Vincent Laforge, with Maha’s sons helping out in the kitchen.

I had a chance to attend a friends and family preview dinner on Sunday evening. The small, intimate space feels very warm and welcoming. It’s a cliché, but it truly does feel like dining in someone’s home. The name means “the aviator,” a nod to Vincent’s past as a pilot and the globe-trotting nature of the food. There are fun aviation-inspired decorative elements throughout the restaurant, including an Art Deco lighting fixture, prints of planes, and other pieces of fun memorabilia. The space seats 25, with a bar along one of the large windows and a communal table that can accommodate large groups. Eventually, there will also be sidewalk seating.

As for the food, the menu will change daily, with one salad, one soup, two appetizers, and two entrées (one meat or fish, one vegetarian) available at lunch and dinner, and Tunisian-style tea and pastries available in the afternoon (the kitchen will close from 2:30pm-5:30pm every afternoon, with tea, coffee, pastries, and juice available). The food is French, with influences from all over the Mediterranean, including Maha’s native Tunisia. At the preview dinner, there was a delicious beef bourguignon with mashed potatoes, and a vegetable “caviar” with carrot-pepper sauce and pesto. One of the teas served in the afternoon is mint with toasted pine nuts, and the pastries include marzipan with rose water and North African spices, along with French macarons. There will also be a small, reasonably priced wine selection with both French and Californian choices.

I was struck during my visit by how warm and friendly the Laforges are, and how comfortable their restaurant feels. It’s not high end or groundbreaking, but it’s comfortable, hospitable, and full of heart and soul. It’s also family-friendly, with high chairs for well-behaved children. They plan to open their doors for lunch and tea service on Wednesday September 10th, and hours will be Mon 11:30am-7pm, Wed-Fri 11:30am-9:30pm, Sat 5:30pm-9:30pm, Sun 11am-3pm, closed Tue. Hours may change in the coming weeks as they figure out what works best. 2850 21st St. at Alabama, 415-757-0272.

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Xan deVoss and Barbara Gratta. Photo from Facebook.

More exciting news coming out of Bayview: Xan deVoss of Fox and Lion Bread and Barbara Gratta of Gratta Wines are joining forces to open ~BUTCHERTOWN GOURMET~. It’s going to be a micro marketplace, with a bread bakery and wine bar (each running under their own name), plus a shared grab-and-go case with sandwiches, basic grocery items, and some items to pair with bread and wine. There’s also talk of some pizza nights.

In an email to me, deVoss says, “Barbara and I have been working with Earl [Shaddix] on the Bayview Underground Market for over a year since its inception at All Good Pizza, and from that effort we knew we wanted to create a welcoming atmosphere where families can come get food/coffee/wine or beer and feel a positive sense of community.” They are keen to keep prices low but quality high.

The space has been vacant for more than a year—it was previously a barbershop. But back in the day (say, 1934), it was actually an Italian deli called Babbes & Bogios Grocery, which ties in to the Butchertown Gourmet name, since Bayview used to be called Butchertown. It was a working-class neighborhood where Italians, Germans, Austrians, Portuguese, and other immigrants lived as shipbuilders, butchers, and other tradespeople (deVoss says it’s amazing to see how many immigrants planted fruit trees in yards all over the neighborhood).

Best-case scenario is that it will open in early October; we’ll keep you posted. For now, say hello to the ladies at the next two upcoming Bayview Underground Food Scene farmers’ markets on Thursday September 4th and Thursday September 18th at Pier 70, from 5:30pm-8pm. 5273 3rd St. at Williams.  

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Roy Choi backstage at Mad 2013. Photo by Mikkel Heriba via Facebook.

Anyone attending the MAD Symposium this past week has heard the news that LA’s Roy Choi and SF’s Daniel Patterson have teamed up for a new chain of fast-food restaurants, called ~LOCO’L~ (a bit loco, and local). Scoop reports that the new project will start with two locations, one in Los Angeles and the other in San Francisco’s Tenderloin. After the first two open, hopefully in early 2015, they’ll do a round of investment for expansion. The restaurants are all about offering a healthier, more sustainable alternative to the current fast-food choices, while maintaining low prices.

The idea came about after a talk about hunger Choi gave at the MAD Symposium in 2013, and grew from there. They are specifically hoping to appeal to youth in struggling neighborhoods, with a menu of “smashes” (burgers with beef, whole grains, and tofu) served on buns from Chad Robertson of Tartine. They are still looking for a space but we’ll keep you updated on the project’s progress.

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The Monterey pizza at Coffee Bar. And wood. Because it’s wood-fired pizza, yo. Photo via Coffee Bar’s Facebook.

Some changes over at beer HQ ~MONK’S KETTLE~—they are closing the restaurant on Wednesday September 3rd, and when they reopen two weeks (or so) later, there will be a sidewalk patio with room for around 20 folks, a dual-temperature draft system that will feature 28 lines and a cask engine (5 more than they currently have), and the men’s bathroom is getting an upgrade too. When they reopen, you’ll want to check out Porchbier, a collaboration with Almanac Beer Co. (it’s a session saison made with wheat berries and dry-hopped with Sorachi Ace and Amarillo hops) and a collaborative beer they did with Cellarmaker, Beertender’s Breakfast. Cheers!

Just a reminder that ~HOTEI~ in the Inner Sunset is closing after more than 15 years in business on Sunday August 31st. Owner Steve Fujii, who also owns Ebisu across the street, is slowly retiring after more than 30 years of owning restaurants, though he will continue to operate Ebisu. 1290 9th Ave. at Irving, 415-753-6045.

Also in the Mission: the folks at ~COFFEE BAR~ have started serving pizza from their wood-fired oven on the patio. Selections include the Monterey (mozzarella, Asiago, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, roast garlic, oregano, tomato sauce) for $12. (Pssst, they have been offering some free slices at lunch as they ramp up the program.)

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The pretty cream puffs at Choux. Photo from Facebook.

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The hot pot spread at Little Sheep. Yelp photo by Krystal L.

Back in December, we reported on a new French cream puff bakery opening in Lower Haight called ~CHOUX~. They are officially opening their doors Wednesday August 27th, serving cream puffs with unique fillings like pistachio, passion fruit, and raspberry, alongside more classic choices like vanilla and chocolate. Owner and pastry chef Laura Athuil is from Nice, France, and trained in Paris. Here in San Francisco, she’ll be making the cream puffs fresh daily, and offering coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Hours will be Sun-Fri 10:30am-7pm. 248 Fillmore St. at Haight, 415-528-9673.

Chowhounders caught the opening of ~DIM SUM CLUB~ on Van Ness in Russian Hill, and Urban Daddy snagged some details. The new place is in the Da Vinci Villa hotel, but despite the odd location, it’s serving some delicious dumplings and other dishes, according to initial reports on Chowhound and Yelp. It’s from the same team behind Guangdong Barbecue Tea House, so there are also roasted meats on the menu—you can even order a whole roast pig in advance for a large group. 2550 Van Ness Ave. at Filbert, 415-529-2615.

International Mongolian hot pot chain ~LITTLE SHEEP~, which is well known in San Mateo (and has locations throughout the Bay Area), has opened in San Francisco. The new location is on the second floor of a building in Union Square and offers an extensive selection of meats and vegetables to cook in your hot pot. They take reservations for large groups too. Hours are daily 11:30am-2:30pm and 5:30pm-10:30pm. 405 Mason St. at Geary, second floor, 415-673-9919.

~THE ITALIAN HOMEMADE COMPANY~ is now open in North Beach. It’s a classic Italian deli, with grocery items to take home or flatbreads, sandwiches, and other items to eat there. They are making pasta in-house along with sauces, and importing a variety of goods from Italy, including deli meats, specialty oils, and cheese. Early Yelp reports warn that they do sometimes run out of pasta, so stop in early. Hours are Tue-Sun 9am-8pm. 716 Columbus Ave. at Greenwich, 415-712-8874.

A new frozen custard spot has moved into the former Yotopia space in the Mission, called ~THE VELVET SCOOP~. They’re serving frozen custard scoops, along with concretes (like a milkshake, with mix-ins) and specialty toppings. There will also be a special concrete each day—follow along on Facebook and plan accordingly. 3280 22nd St. at Valencia, 415-757-0735.

For even more dim sum, Glen Park Association reports that ~WIN GARDEN~ is now open. They’re serving dim sum, standard Chinese dishes, and a large selection of vegetarian options; check out the menu here. Open daily 11am-10pm, plus there’s delivery. 2784 Diamond St. at Chenery, 415-333-1331.

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A look at the new Modern Coffee. Photo courtesy of Modern Coffee.

Last month we told you about the big remodel ~RITUAL COFFEE ROASTERS~ was undergoing, and now the nearly 10-year-old coffee shop and roaster has reopened, and has some new changes to show off. Check our previous post for all the details of the new look, but one thing we didn’t mention is Ritual will now offer a 25-cent discount to customers who bring their own mugs and/or use one of Ritual’s new reusable jars (available for a $2 deposit). The jars can be returned the next day for a clean one—you don’t even have to wash it (but don’t tell your mom). Owner Eileen Hassi Rinaldi wants to reduce the number of paper cups by 50 percent in 2014 and move upward from there. Right on. 1026 Valencia St. at 21st St., 415-641-1011.

Farther down Valencia, ~FOUR BARREL COFFEE~ is turning six (!) on Wednesday August 27th and having a fun anniversary party to celebrate. What this means is you can enjoy free coffee from 7am-4pm, and you may want to time your visit for cake at noon (mmm, cake)! There will also be a photo booth, some burgers from 4505 Meats, and music. Four Barrel will be closing at 4pm so they can have their own celebration, so swing on by.

Over in the East Bay, the woman-owned ~SCARLET CITY COFFEE~ has opened their first brick-and-mortar café in Emeryville. Owner Jen St. Hilaire opened the shop with business partner Susanna Handow, which is where you’ll be able to score some beautifully pulled shots of their Northern Italian-style espresso while hanging out at the counter (yes, you get to pretend you’re in Italy and stand and quite possibly enjoy some conversation with the barista and people next to you). SFoodie also mentions the modern bar has some fun science-fiction touches (like pinball machines, and expect some readings from sci-fi authors—St. Hilarie is a self-confessed “sci-fi nut”). Trekkie jokes welcome. Open Mon-Fri 7am-3pm and Sat-Sun 8am-3pm. 3960 Adeline St. at 40th St., Emeryville.

A couple of months ago, we told you that ~MODERN COFFEE~ was opening a second location in Uptown Oakland, and now we’re here to tell you it’s softly open! The space is still a work in progress, but coffee is being served. It’s about the same size as the original (800 square feet, with around 12 seats), with a quartzite counter and custom speakers. You’ll be able to try a variety of coffees from roasters like Stumptown Coffee from Portland, Counter Culture Coffee from Durham, North Carolina, and Northern California’s De La Paz Coffee (SF), Chromatic Coffee (San Jose), and Verve Coffee Roasters (Santa Cruz), plus teas too. For now, it will be open Mon-Fri 7am-5pm. 1814 Franklin (with the entrance at 381 19th Street, between Franklin and Webster).

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Tempura udon for lunch at Pabu. Photo by Kevin McCullough via Pabu.

Downtown’s ~PABU~ is now open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30am-2pm. The menu is a bit scaled back from dinner, with a selection of small plates, larger dishes, and sushi and sashimi. Look for okonomiyaki with squid and pork belly, tempura udon, and sashimi selections, to name just a few items. Here’s the full menu for your perusing pleasure. 101 California St. at Front, 415-668-7228.

~DARWIN CAFE~ is now offering weekend brunch, Eater reports. The menu isn’t huge, but offers a nice variety for everyone, with sweet choices like waffles and muesli with yogurt and fruit, or savory choices like poached eggs Darwin (that’s creamed spinach, roast beef, and béarnaise sauce, oof) or Turkish breakfast with egg, tomato, figs, kasseri cheese, olives, and toast. Weekend hours are Saturday and Sunday from 10am-2pm, with a “pastry hour” starting at 9am. 212 Ritch St. at Bryant, 415-800-8668.

If you’re looking for a Sunday evening spot, you can now head to ~TWENTY FIVE LUSK~. They are offering a menu of their “greatest hits,” with favorite dishes from the lunch, brunch, dinner, and lounge menus. There’s a lobster eggs Benedict with pancetta, or check out their small dishes like gnocchi with red pole beans, Sun Gold tomatoes, frisée, and black garlic. Brunch for dinner, yes! Dinner is served Sundays from 5pm-9pm.

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A course from the recent Fortress summer fig dinner. Fig, goat curd, vanilla vin chicories, quail egg, lard croutons. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

There are a variety of pop-up events happening in the coming weeks, starting with Sneaky’s BBQ popping up on Monday nights at ~THE RESIDENCE~. According to their Facebook page, the menu includes their famed wings, along with barbecue sandwiches (like their excellent pulled pork) and tacos. 6pm-10pm. (You can keep track of their other pop-up locations here.) 718 14th St. at Church.

Coming up on Saturday September 6th is the Dux Duck Dinner at ~NAKED KITCHEN~, another dinner in the Fortress: Solitude & SF series from Eddie Lau and Luis Villavelazquez. The gents are cooking up a six-course feast featuring duck (including Dux tsukemen with house noodles and roasted duck vadouvan butter); check out the ducky menu here. Dinner is $55 (gratuity included), and pairings are $20 (which you’ll want to do if you love Chablis, or even if you don’t love Chablis). Two seatings: 6pm and 9pm. Tickets here.

Remember when we told you about ~CHARIN~, the pop-up restaurant from Charles-C Onyeama that will be open once a month in Noe Valley? Well, a few more details have emerged: first, Michael Ireland will be doing the wine pairings and will be on the floor at the event (he is currently consulting on the wine list at Verbena and was formerly the wine director at The Restaurant at Meadowood and a sommelier at Benu, Quince, and The French Laundry). So yeah, there will be killer wines. Secondly, the opening dates have been announced: Sunday September 7th and Monday the 8th. Sign up for the newsletter for reservations, cost, and more details.

Greg Lutes has announced he is phasing out of his Kinfolk pop-up brunch and dinners at 903 in Bernal in order to prepare for his new restaurant, which will be called ~3RD COUSIN~. The last dinners will be next week. Mid-October is the targeted opening date for 3rd Cousin; we’ll follow up with more soon. 919 Cortland Ave. at Gates.

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Bites at last year’s Luckyrice Festival. Photo by Richard Patterson via Luckyrice.

Don’t miss the Luckyrice Festival’s visit to San Francisco at the Bently Reserve on Friday September 5th. The event is a celebration of Asian flavors of all sorts, with bites and beverages from some of the best local restaurants and bars. Participating restaurants include Azalina’s, Kin Khao, Dosa, Chino, E+O Asian Kitchen, and Butterfly, to name just a few. In addition, bartenders like Kevin Diedrich of Liholiho Yacht Club, Suzie Robinson of Novela, and Ian Adams of 15 Romolo will be on hand, mixing cocktails from official sponsor Bombay Sapphire EAST gin to pair with the food. Check out the full menu of food and drink here. But, trust us, don’t read it if you’re hungry. Beer, wine, and ginger ale will also be on hand.

The event runs from 8pm-10pm for general admission, with VIP entry at 7pm. Tickets are $88 for general admission and $150 for VIP. Proceeds benefit the Center for Asian American Media. Bently Reserve, 301 Battery St. at Sacramento.

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Chef, writer, and person-you-need-to-know Samin Nosrat. Photo from Facebook.

Local writer, educator, chef, and all-around food expert Samin Nosrat will be at ~DOÑA TOMAS~ on Wednesday August 27th sharing stories from her kitchen and her global travels from 6pm-8pm. She’s a true Bay Area treasure, don’t miss this peek into her world! Tickets are $15. The evening is hosted by Social Eats, a part of the Edible Schoolyard project. Small bites are included, and drinks will be available at the bar. 5004 Telegraph Ave. at 51st St., Oakland, 510-450-0522.

Beginning in September, check out the new PBS series Food Forward. The series is a half hour per episode, with 13 episodes, and aims to redefine the current state of food television. Rather than celebrity chefs or competitive challenges, they series is focused on examining our food system and finding compelling narratives and characters who are changing the way we eat. Check your local listings here.

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The interior at Jack’s Oyster Bar & Fish House. Yelp photo by Michael R.

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The ploughman’s plate at Café Underwood. Photo courtesy Café Underwood.

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Outdoor seating at Café Underwood. Photo via Facebook.

Rick Hackett and Meredith Melville, owners of Jack London Square’s Bocanova, have opened a new restaurant in the neighborhood. It’s called ~JACK’S OYSTER BAR & FISH HOUSE~, and, as the name suggests, it’s all about seafood. Peter Villegas, whose previous experience includes La Mar and Campton Place, is the executive chef, and the menu includes classic seafood dishes like clam chowder, a lobster roll in a housemade pretzel bun (which we mentioned in this 7x7.com piece on new lobster rolls!), and fish and chips. There are also modern classics, like a charred octopus dish with potatoes and piquillo pepper, or squid ink carbonara with bone marrow. Non-seafood choices include a burger and T-bone steak. Take a look at the menu here.

There is a full bar, with a focus on refreshing drinks that play nicely with seafood—think tallboys like the herbaceous “Dill-icious” with blanco tequila, lime, St. Germain, cucumber, dill, and soda. The wine list features a large selection of sparkling wines from around the world, along with local wines on tap, and there is also a selection of local beers.

The space—from architect Michael Guthrie and interior designer Ann Rockwell—has seating for 100. There is a 20-seat raw bar, with custom seating from Berkeley’s Wooden Duck, and banquettes in the main dining area. A semi-private dining room is available for groups up to 36. A collage-style mural on the back wall celebrates Oakland’s waterfront, and outdoor seating offers a view of the bay. Hours are 11am-10pm daily, with reservations for dinner after 5:30pm. 336 Water St. at Franklin, Oakland, 510-271-7952.

Speaking of Jack London Square, it looks like a big new project will be landing there in October. It’s called ~PLANK~ and is a dining space and event venue clocking in at 50,000 square feet, indoors and out. It comes from Los Angeles-based Trifecta Management Group and will include entertainment like bowling, bocce ball, video games, and an outdoor beer garden. There will also be food options, offering a wide range of selections for many tastes. 98 Broadway at Embarcadero West, Oakland.

There’s a new hangout in North Oakland we’ve been tracking for quite awhile, ~CAFÉ UNDERWOOD~, and we’re happy to report Dominick Scala has opened its doors. Scala is a former bartender from Dogwood and a freelance writer (hence the hat tip to the famed typewriter in the name), so he understands the kind of third place-meets-coworking space people seek.

There is great coffee from Highwire Coffee Roasters (and there’s also nitrogen-infused, cold-brewed coffee on tap—Scala says it comes out like Guinness, mmmm), Italian-influenced sandwiches, and a rotating selection of housemade and seasonal items like grits, frittata, baked pasta, eggplant Parm, and garbage bread (stuffed with meat and cheese), charcuterie and cheese plates, and yes, there’s WiFi. There will be plenty of outlets, and instead of having to leave your computer at your table to reorder (always a gambling or annoying moment when you have to pack up), servers will come to your table to take your order. And when it’s time to shut the laptop and hang with your friends, there’s quite a curated selection of local beers (including Ghost Town) and wine (like Donkey & Goat).

You’ll find indoor and outdoor seating, plus a mezzanine with rentable chair space (or you can book the entire mezzanine, which has room for about 20). There are many handcrafted touches, from the welding to the woodwork and tiles. Oh, and on the weekend, they had some live music in the evening, and served until 1am. Open Mon-Thu 7am-10pm, Fri 7am-1am, Sat 8am-1am, Sun 8am-5pm. 308 41st St. at Broadway, Oakland, 510-995-6660.

~TAIWAN BENTO~, the Taiwanese-style restaurant we reported on in June, is now softly open, until their Friday August 29th grand opening. They offer Taiwanese-style bento boxes, with options of proteins and sides. While they are softly open, the menu will be limited and the hours will be weekdays 11:30-2:30pm; once open, look for wider menu selections and expanded hours. 412 22nd St. at Boradway, Oakland, 510-250-9858.

If you’re looking for a fun Labor Day but don’t want to cook, check out the second annual Labor Day Barbecue at ~HOMESTEAD~ on Monday September 1st. The buffet-style menu includes baby back ribs, corn on the cob, potato salad, mixed greens, baked beans, and housemade popsicles for dessert. The buffet is $30 for adults and $15 for kids, with beverages available at the bar. Note that they accept cash only. 4029 Piedmont Ave. at Glen, 510-420-6962.