The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
April 22, 2014

Work in progress at the new 4505 Burgers & BBQ on Divisadero. Photo: ©

Things keep getting closer for the opening of ~4505 BURGERS & BBQ~, in the former Brother-in-Law’s/Da’ Pitt on Divisadero. I paid a visit to chef-owner Ryan Farr to check out the new digs and get some initial details on the project.

While the space isn’t camera-ready just yet, here are some notes for you. The first thing you’ll notice is all the light inside—they installed larger windows, which makes a big difference, and things are lightened up further with white subway tile and hex tiles on the floor. Farr’s wife and 4505 partner, Cesalee, chose a dark gray flannel color for the walls and a gray-blue for the ceiling (oh yeah, and there’s a glittery gold floor in the bathroom!). There’s distressed corrugated metal as well, giving things a bit of a roadhouse look, plus vintage-style fans and almost Steampunky light fixtures.

Fortunately the wood-fired pit itself was not repainted, so its decades-old patina remains intact (the building goes back to the 1930s!). You’ll be able to order a whole or half hog from the pit, and you’ll always see some hanging sausages in there too. There’s a walnut counter, and just behind it there’s a huge Southern Pride smoker (4505’s third, and largest).

The menu will be like their farmers’ market stand menu, with barbecue sandwiches, barbecue meats by the pound (hello, brisket), sausages, and of course the famous cheeseburger (all are made with locally sourced and sustainable meats). Weekend brunch will start about three months after the opening, which is when you’ll be able to get their egg sandwich. Big score: there will be a late-night burger window, open 10pm-2am on the weekends (to start).

Another cool thing: they will be serving beer and wine, and the license they got will allow for beers to be purchased on premise and brought home with you. Yup, you can get a pound o’ meat and a six-pack to go—instant party. Some potential barbecue-friendly beers on the list will include Racer 5, Anchor Steam, and Shiner Bock.

A big component to the project is the outdoor patio, which won’t be complete until June; 4505 plans to open the counter first for to-go orders—there won’t be any formal seating just yet, although there will be a small standing counter inside. The lot outside is 40 by 25 feet, and there will be a shipping container that’s converted into a seating area (there will also be skylights in it). Coming off the container will be a corrugated metal roof, with heaters (yay) and plenty of seating underneath—there will be space for 48 seats total.

Once you order inside at the counter, if you want more to eat or drink, there will be runners who will be able to assist—no need to get back in line. Kids will have a place to play (FYI, the lot itself will also be enclosed by a fence), and there will also be a bike rack. Yup, it’s all shaping up to be a very neighborhood-friendly joint. For now, the target for takeout/standing room only is Saturday May 3rd; stand by for pics and more in the next couple of weeks! Initial hours (to be finalized) may be daily 10:30am-11pm. 705 Divisadero St.
 at Grove.


The bar at Gashead Tavern. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


An antiqued mirror behind the bar at Gashead. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


The exterior. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

A report by Dana Eastland. As we wrote in tablehopper back in October and again in February, Edward Sargent and Rodger Howell of Murio’s Trophy Room on Haight Street are opening a new bar in the Mission. It’s going into the former Charanga space, and is called ~GASHEAD TAVERN~.

It’s a bar with food, as opposed to a restaurant with a full bar, according to Sargent. The space was mostly built by Sargent and Howell, with initial design consultation from Haleh Cunningham and Bernadette Holmes of Thornbird Styling. The space is eclectic, with a Victorian gothic feeling and modern touches. A huge antiqued mirror behind the bar is surrounded by a savaged cast-iron and zinc frame that is at least 120 years old, and the original wooden floor has a weathered look. For contrast, modern brass lighting and vintage midcentury chairs strike a different note. In front, a nook before the door will offer some outdoor seating, as well.

The menu, too, has an eclectic feel. The inspiration comes form British pub fare, with a seasonal, California twist. Matt Nudelman, of Lower Haight’s Greenburger’s, designed the menu, and it’s got true British classics like fish and chips, bangers and mash, and mushrooms on toast. You’ll also find a variety of sliders, mussels, and an egg and watercress salad. Here’s a tentative menu, though there may be changes once they open.

As for drinks, they are still in the process of working out the final drink list, though it will be simple takes on classic drinks, along with a few dessert cocktails. There will also be 10 beers on tap, most of them of the local persuasion. Think Anchor Steam, Speakeasy’s Prohibition, and hopefully Russian River Brewing, along with a selection of bottles.

As for the name and the graphic on the sign out front, there is an explanation for the slightly intense vibe. “Gashead” is the name given to fans of Sargent and Howell’s hometown soccer team, the Bristol Rovers. The team used to play on a field near a gasworks plant, and the (apparently quite rowdy) fans were called “gasheads” by opposing fans as a result. Over time, they adopted the moniker, and some even took to wearing gas masks and other creative headgear to show their team spirit. So, for Sargent and Howell, the name and logo are a nod to their roots.

Gashead Tavern should be opening by the end of April, depending on how all the inspections go. Once open, hours will be 11am-2am, though that could change depending on the neighborhood crowd. Once they’ve got an official opening date and hours, we’ll let you know. 2351 Mission St. at 20th St., no phone yet.


The interior at Fearless. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


A report by Dana Eastland. As previously reported on tablehopper, Lauen Kiino of Il Cane Rosso has two new projects under way in SoMa, ~THE RED DOG~ and ~FEARLESS ~. Well, Fearless is getting ready to open this Wednesday April 23rd, and here are some details for you. While we’re at it, the current opening date for Red Dog is May 18th. Get excited!

The colorful café features coffee in the mornings from Mr. Espresso roasters, with drip coffee, espresso drinks, and cold-brewed options available, along with breakfast and lunch to dine in or take out. You’ll find grab-and-go items, as well as a selection of made-to-order choices. Like Il Cane Rosso, the focus is on housemade items, made with ingredients from trusted, high-quality purveyors. Accordingly, the menu will change regularly to reflect the seasons, with some staples remaining on the menu year-round. In the mornings, look for broken farro porridge, housemade muffins, egg sandwiches, and yogurt parfaits with housemade granola.

At lunch, you’ll find seasonal salads and sandwiches, plus soup and some heartier side dishes. Look out for a classic egg salad sandwich (the one at Il Cane Rosso is a standout for sure), as well as a bacon-wrapped meatloaf sandwich with barbecue sauce and mozzarella, or a vegetarian roasted mushroom sandwich with Swiss cheese, spinach, and garlic. There is also a solid selection of dessert options (or afternoon snack, to go with that 3pm coffee), with cookies, seasonal tea cakes, and panna cotta with seasonal fruit compote. Here’s the full menu, though do note that choices will rotate according to availability, so you may not see everything on there all the time. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-5pm and Sat-Sun 8am-3pm. 303 2nd St. at Harrison, 415-692-0181.


Porcellino’s Italian Dip (meatballs, provolone, marinara). Photo: The Dapper Diner.


Bacon Bacon’s grilled cheese. With bacon. Duh. Photo via Bacon Bacon’s Facebook page.

A couple of places whose names celebrate the most magical of animals, the pig, have just opened around town. First up, ~PORCELLINO~ is now open in the former Incanto, offering a more informal experience for the Noe Valley neighborhood. Owners Mark Pastore and Chris Cosentino have created a fast-casual spot (you order at the counter), with a simplified all-day menu of small plates ($4-$11), sandwiches ($7-$11), three pasta dishes (all $14), and a few larger plates (tuna conserva, porchetta, and rapini and sausage, all $15-$16). You can also treat the place like a wine bar, since there are plenty of wines by the glass and small plates to go with them (and if there’s a wine you like, you can buy a bottle to bring home with you). There’s also the entire Boccalone line of salumi and sausages available to go. Open Mon and Wed-Sat 11am-9pm, Sun 11am-6pm, closed Tue. 1550 Church St. at Duncan, 415-641-4500.

After the neighborhood NIMBY ruckus about the wonderful bacony smells coming from ~BACON BACON~’s shop in Cole Valley shut it down, owner Jim Angelus has reopened the location, with a top-notch “odor abatement system” (I’d call that bacon odor perfume, but that’s me). It has more of a café vibe now, with 13 seats inside and a to-go counter.

On the menu: their popular breakfast sandwich (fried egg, bacon, cheddar, and bacon jam), bacon cheddar scones, a bacon cheeseburger, a bacon fried chicken sandwich with spicy slaw, The LGBT (with bacon, Little Gem lettuce, tomato, and goat cheese spread on French roll), and more. Oh yeah, and chocolate-covered bacon strips for dessert. You’ll also find espresso drinks (they use Roast Co.), Mexican hot chocolate, and more. Open Mon-Fri 7am-3pm, Sat-Sun 8am-3pm. 205 A Frederick St. at Ashbury, 415-218-4347.


Kinfolk’s hamachi crudo. Photo via Facebook.

A couple of pieces of restaurant news on Cortland: first, ~RED HILL STATION~ will be moving into the Blue Star Elephant space, which will be close at the end of April. Eater reports the owners are chef Taylor Pederson and Amy Reticker (operations), who have both worked at Anchor Oyster Bar. When the 28-seat, neighborhood-friendly restaurant opens in late May/early June (hopefully), the menu will be centered on sustainably sourced seafood (oysters, clams, mussels, etc.), plus eight Cali-style dishes. Bonus: there will also be a fish market, opening at 4pm. Beer, wine, and weekend brunch are also in the plans. 803 Cortland Ave. at Ellsworth.

With the closure of 903 Cortland, pop-up ~KINFOLK~ needed to find some new digs. Ends up chef-owner Greg Lutes found a location to go permanent: Scoop reports he’ll be opening his own place in the former Pizza Express. There will be 40 seats; look for an opening this summer. 919 Cortland Ave. at Gates.


One of Mark Hayashida’s creations. Photo courtesy of Mark Hayashida.


Special Xtra’s signature drink, The Macau Iced Coffee, currently served at Special Xtra 46 Minna St. Photo courtesy of Kirk Harper.

~JOHN COLINS~ in SoMa has some new additions coming, taking it beyond just a bar. First, they are launching a permanent sushi concept (The Dojo) on the mezzanine level from Mark Hayashida. There will be a 20-seat sushi bar, but you’ll be able to order sushi throughout the entire space every evening. Hawaii-raised Hayashida’s background includes the sushi bar at the San Jose branch of Blowfish, Google, Skool in Potrero Hill, and HayaHon Catering with Johnny Honda at Cafe Royale (they also partner on Street Food Dojo in the former Zog’s Dogs at 1 Post St.).

Sample dishes include sardines with avocado, beets, English peas, pickled red onion, shiso, and Meyer lemon crème fraîche; Kauai ahi poke (Koloa rum sea salt, furikake, hijiki seaweed, sesame teriyaki dressing, shaved green onions); seasonal nigiri like umi masu (ocean trout), saba, iwashi (Japanese sardines), and many others; kakuni donburi (seasonal fish, red spring onions, ginger, kombu pickle, sous-vide quail egg served over sushi rice); and seasonal makimono. It should open in late May-June; stand by.

Also opening soon (downstairs) in John Colins will be another ~SPECIAL XTRA~ from John Quintos and Kirk Harper (they are also behind the cafés Vega, Cento, etc.). It will be similar to the other Special Xtra location at Harlot (at 46 Minna), serving Blue Bottle coffee drinks Mon-Fri 7:30am-4pm. Look for an opening in mid-May. 138 Minna St. at New Montgomery.


The intimate dining area at the Nob Hill Club. Photo: Rien van Rijthoven.

In case you’re looking for a more intimate spot for a tête-à-tête instead of your usual café, you may want to check out the new ~NOB HILL CLUB~ at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco. The ground-floor space was previously the Club Lounge for the hotel, and is now a restaurant, bar, grab-and-go spot, and club lounge. There’s a breakfast buffet ($24-$28) and an à la carte all-day dining menu, plus coffee service, and wine and cocktails too. It’s a handsome space, with wood floors, Italian chandeliers, and white oak, rosewood, and mahogany chairs and couches. You’ll find banquette seating in the dining room, an intimate bar, and a semi-private dining area that can seat up to 14. Hours: Tue-Sun breakfast 6:30am-11am, all-day dining 11am-9pm. Sun-Mon breakfast 6:30am, lunch 11am-2:30pm. Bar 2pm-9pm. One Nob Hill at Mason, 415-392-3434.


Asparagus for brunch at Piccino. Photo courtesy Piccino.

It’s pretty much always brunch season in this town, and darling ~PICCINO~ is in the sunniest corner we’ve got. Their new weekend brunch menu has some elegant and seasonal options, including baked egg with polpette, broccoli di ciccio, spring onion, and crushed tomatoes, or asparagus with hard-boiled egg and capers. Of course you can also order one of their pizzas (add an egg for $2), and if it’s nice out, try to sit outside. Brunch begins at 11am Saturday and Sunday.


Photo from Super Duper.

A couple of food establishments are celebrating their birthdays, which means we all win. This Wednesday April 23rd and Thursday April 25th, swing by ~PAL’S TAKEAWAY~ from 11am-3pm, and you’ll be able to say, “Happy fifth anniversary!” while picking up a sandwich from some guest chefs, like a special braised artichoke vegetarian number from Gialina and Ragazza’s Sharon Ardiana, or a special “gyro” from Mission Chinese Food and Linea Caffe’s Anthony Myint. You should also say “cheers!” and order a special limited-edition IPA draft from Almanac. It all goes down at ~LA MOVIDA~. 3066 24th St. at Treat.

Another reason to stand in line: on Monday April 28th, it’s Super Duper Day, which means the first 100 people to fall in line at any of ~SUPER DUPER~’s seven burger spots beginning at 3pm will enjoy a free mini burger (four-ounce, all-natural Niman Ranch beef patty with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, and Super sauce on a toasted sesame bun). Yes, fo’ free! Locations include the Castro, 2304 Market St.; Union Square, 721 Market St.; Metreon, 783 Mission St.; Embarcadero, 98 Mission St.; Marina, 2201 Chestnut St.; and Mill Valley, 430 Miller Ave.; and San Jose, Valley Fair Mall, 2855 Stevens Creek Blvd.


New Taste Marketplace at St. Gregory’s. Photo from Facebook.

On Saturday April 26th from 11am-4pm, the New Taste Marketplace will once again be taking over St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Potrero Hill. The lineup of food purveyors includes Little Red Riding Truck, Boucherie Meats, and Simply Mochi, among many others. You’ll also find beverages from the likes of Almanac Beer Co., Rock Wall Wine Company, and The Mead Kitchen. There is also live music, activities for kids, and lots of fun.

This is the fourth year that the New Taste Marketplace has brought local food artisans together, to raise money for the Food Pantry at St. Gregory’s. A suggested donation is requested at the door, to help provide groceries for more than 400 families each week. 500 De Haro St. at Mariposa.


David Lebovitz, the chef and author who used to reside in the Bay Area but now makes his home in beautiful Paris, has a new book out called My Paris Kitchen. He’ll be making an appearance at ~DANDELION CHOCOLATE~ on the morning of Saturday May 3rd, from 11am-12:30pm. Dandelion’s chef, Lisa Vega, will be making treats from Lebovitz’s book to celebrate. 740 Valencia St. at 18th St., 415-349-0942.

Also on Saturday May 3rd, from 3pm-5pm, he’ll be at ~THE PASTA SHOP~ on 4th Street in Berkeley, reading from the book. There will also be samples from the recipes, and of course he’d be happy to sign the book for you. The event is free, with books available for purchase. 1786 4th St. Market Plaza at Delaware, Berkeley, 510-250-6004.

And then, on Saturday May 10th, catch Mr. Lebovitz one more time at ~OMNIVORE BOOKS~ from 3pm-4pm. The event is free, and of course the book will be available for purchase.

Speaking of ~OMNIVORE BOOKS~, they’ve also got an afternoon with Josey Baker lined up on Sunday May 4th from 3pm-4pm. He’ll be talking about his new book, Josey Baker Bread, and maybe sharing some stories about his business venture, The Mill, and its much-discussed toast. Baker is a seriously funny and fantastic guy, and this is not one to miss. The event is free, and books will be available for purchase and signing.

Deborah Madison will also be making an appearance at Omnivore, on Saturday May 3rd from 3pm-4pm. Her classic Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone from 1997 has been released in a new edition, The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, with more than 200 new recipes and lots of new information and updates.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth exploration of Madison’s new edition, check out this luncheon at ~FOREIGN CINEMA~ on Tuesday May 6th from 11am-2:30pm. The lunch will begin with appetizers, followed by three courses inspired by the book. Of course, Madison will be in attendance, discussing the book and signing copies. The luncheon costs $85 per person, and reservations can be made by calling 415-648-7600.


Spring vegetable ragout with spicy chickpeas and couscous. Photo courtesy of Standard Fare.


Interior of Michel Bistro. Photo courtesy of Michel Bistro.

Back in January, we mentioned Kelsie Kerr’s unique upcoming Berkeley project ~STANDARD FARE~. To recap, the Chez Panisse, Café Rouge, and Zuni Cafe alum is opening a place where you can pick up complete meals (and à la carte selections) that you reheat at home, presented in handcrafted ceramic dishes by Jered’s Pottery.

I’m on Standard Fare’s newsletter list, and while they are not officially open, they just soft-launched their beta this week. If you’d like to test out the service, you can survey the menu online, and order by 5pm on Wednesday for Friday pickup (between 4:30pm-7pm), or delivery! You’ll need a password to access the site (eultaw), and for 10 percent off your order, use code: standardfare10 (directions/tips about online ordering from the newsletter are here).

Be sure to read the fine print about when you need to return the pottery as you order that tasty-sounding brothy green garlic soup with kale and Dirty Girl cannellini beans, or savory bread pudding with goat cheese, nettles, and fava beans. Kerr is using top-notch ingredients—expect restaurant-quality sourcing and market freshness. Look for hours to be extended and a retail component to the business to come in time. 2701 8th St. at Carleton, Berkeley.

The owners of Amélie wine bar here in San Francisco (and New York!) have opened a new location in Oakland, called ~MICHEL BISTRO~. The new spot is a wine bar and lounge, with a menu of Provençal-style dishes (including escargots, bone marrow, mussels and fries, and more). They are open for dinner Tue-Sun 5:30pm-10pm, and for brunch, you can enjoy some pain perdu and omelets Sat-Sun 11am-3pm (closed Mondays). 3343 Lakeshore Ave. at Trestle Glen, Oakland, 510-836-8737.

East Bay Express reports that East Oakland’s ~GENNY’S BBQ PIT~ has reopened after a fire last year. The menu hasn’t changed much, though there are a few new sandwiches. To celebrate the reopening, anyone who places an order during the month of April will receive a free pastry or soda. Hours are Wed-Sun 12pm-8pm. 6637 Bancroft Ave. at Havenscourt, Oakland, 510-777-9037.

April 15, 2014

The interior at Woodbury. Photo by Phoebe Geonzon, courtesy Woodbury.


La Boulange West Portal. Photo by David Vegne, courtesy La Boulange.

From the team behind The Alchemist comes a project right next door, called ~WOODBURY~, which opens today, Tuesday April 15th. (And I know many of us could all use a drink.) The new place has a rustic hunting lodge vibe, with a taxidermy moose, rustic wood, antler chandeliers, and barstools made to look like tractor seats. At the bar, look for craft beers and classic cocktails, plus a separate bar only for shot-and-a-beer combinations. The menu is heavy on hearty comfort food, like a burger of caul fat-wrapped brisket with pork belly, fried shallots, and brown butter (oof, bring on the Lipitor), or poutine with mushroom gravy and ricotta. Hours are Mon-Fri 4pm-1:30am, Sat 5pm-1:30am, closed Sundays. 685 3rd St. at Townsend, 415-904-9896.

~LA BOULANGE DE WEST PORTAL~ is now open, serving croissants, coffee, and breakfast and lunch items. The menu includes pommes frites, a Maine lobster sandwich, egg sandwiches, and granola, plus an expanded selection for kids; take a look at the menu here. Hours are 7am-9pm. 16 West Portal Ave. at Ulloa, 415-753-0300.

Eater reports that a new Brazilian juice shop called ~BEBEBAR~ has opened up, just next to Dolores Park. It’s from mother-daughter team Celinha and Lya Moreira, and serves made-to-order juices and smoothies, along with açai bowls with granola, guaraná, and banana (yes!), Nucha empanadas, and coffee. In the future, look for grab-and-go options with a healthy bent, as well as expanded hours. For now, they’re open daily 10am-6pm. 3809 18th St. at Church, 415-203-8406.


670 Larkin Street, the future home of The Chairman. Photo from Facebook.

Big red food truck ~THE CHAIRMAN~ is opening a brick-and-mortar location, Eater reports. Way back in 2011, tablehopper reported that their new kitchen on Larkin Street would include a to-go counter, and now it looks like the plan has expanded. The space will offer about 15 counter seats, and the menu will include the signature bao buns, along with noodle dishes, rice bowls, and salads. Owner Curtis Lam is also hoping to add some outdoor seating and improve the currently run-down trees out front. The space will require a full build-out, with an opening targeted for this summer. In the meantime, you can still find the Chairman truck all over the place; follow on Twitter for updates. 670 Larkin St. at Ellis.

As reported on tablehopper in February, Southeast Asian restaurant ~LIME TREE~ has expanded from their original location on Irving to a second spot on Clement, in the former Singapore Malaysian space. The new location is now open, according to Eater. Look out for their Malaysian dishes, like laksa and beef rendang, in a brighter, more open space. Hours are Tue-Fri 11am-3pm and 5pm-9:30pm, Sat 12pm-9:30pm, and Sun 12pm-9pm. 836 Clement St. at 9th Ave., 415-831-8811.

The Mission’s ~BOBA GUYS~ are opening a new location in Union Square in June. The new location will offer their small-batch boba drinks made with loose-leaf tea and Straus milk, as well as an open exhibition lab in the back. The “Boba Lab” will offer demonstrations, seminars, and other events to share the process of making boba tea from scratch with the public. To raise funds they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign; take a look. 429 Stockton St. at Bush.

A tipster wrote in to let us know that it looks like the Bayview brick-and-mortar and food truck ~SMOKIN’ WAREHOUSE BARBECUE~ is opening up a second brick-and-mortar location in Pacific Heights. An email confirms that they are indeed opening in the former Eunice’s Café space on Sacramento Street. The menu will be similar to the two other incarnations’ offerings, with both beef and pork ribs, brisket, sandwiches, and burgers. You can check out the truck’s menu here. Hours will be daily 9am-9pm, no word yet on an opening date. 3336 Sacramento St. at Presidio.


Some of the plentiful outdoor seating at 338 De Haro. Yelp photo by Mariela D.


Yup. Healthy tacos. And a wine bar. Photo courtesy of Sean Timberlake.

Some updates for you on a few projects around town. First, Ryan Scott is taking over the little Potrero Hill lot at De Haro Street, where one of his ~MARKET & RYE~ locations is—ends up he’s opening a project in the former Kitchen Mojo/Pizza Nostra next door as well. The unnamed project will offer affordable dinner service, and he’ll be taking advantage of the pizza oven as well. Luis Villavelazquez (Les Elements) will contribute to the bread and pastry side of things. Beer and wine will also be available; look for an opening this summer. (H/t Scoop.) 338 De Haro St. at 16th St.

Some things just make me laugh. Like this: fab reader Sean Timberlake sent me this image (at right) of what’s going into the former ~QUE TAL~ on Guerrero. Yup, healthy tacos and a wine bar! ‘Cause that’s the kind of balance I like in my life. Sounds like landowner Luisa Hanson may have a hand in this “concept.” 1005 Guerrero St. at 22nd St.

Details have emerged on what the Twenty Five Lusk duo (Chad Bourdon and Matthew Dolan) are going to be opening in the Westfield Centre near M.Y. China and other “Under the Dome” tenants. It’s going to be called ~TAP(415)~ (because it’s like the internet, and every clever restaurant name has been taken, really?), a 140-seat “modern beer garden” designed by Cass Calder Smith. Plan on seeing a menu of burgers, sandwiches, freshly baked breads, ice cream made on-site, freshly pressed juices, adult milk shakes, and beer, wine, and cocktails on tap. And since we’re now San Frantechcisco, you’ll be able to order and pay from your iPhone. Look for an opening in November. (H/t Scoop.)

A couple of readers excitedly asked me if Tartine Bakery was opening an offshoot in the former E’Angelo in the Marina, but it was just a Designer Impostor (“If you like Giorgio, you’ll love Primo!”) with the name “La Tartine.” I have been tracking down a very elusive representative from the La Tartine Group since February, but she went dark on me. She popped back up to speak with Eater, and it looks like they got smart and changed their company name to ~LA PANOTIQ~. The Guterman family are opening a location in Campbell and will be coming to the Marina next (targeting June). The plan: have an on-site bakery, making breads and viennoiserie and a variety of pâtisserie items; offer lunchtime quiches, panini, salads, and soups; and have some dinnertime options as well (you’ll also be able to get wine and beer with your dinner at the Marina location). The plan is to aggressively expand to multiple locations around the Bay Area, à la La Boulange, it sounds. 2234 Chestnut St. at Avila.


The old-school atmo at Susie’s Cafe. Yelp photo by Bill W.

Lovers of quirky little diners will be sorry to hear that ~SUSIE’S CAFE~ in SoMa is closing (after 84 years!) on April 30th to make way for, you guessed it, condos. My pal Luke Lightning (how’s THAT for a name?) said the landlord decided to sell the funky little shack—it’s right by the Concourse, which is also slated to be converted into condos. Also being sold: everything in the joint, so if you want to pick up a little vintage memorabilia, you should swing by. 603 7th St. at Brannan, 415-431-2177.

Last week, The New Fillmore posted quite an in-depth article about all the changes coming to Upper Divisadero, including the news that the 44-year-old ~KING OF FALAFEL~ will be closing in January 2015 when its lease runs out. Sadness. The building’s new owner, Rick Howard (of Harry’s Bar on Fillmore Street), will be renovating the building and giving it a seismic upgrade, and then deciding what to do next (lease the space to a new tenant, or open his own project). There’s a lot more to read in the piece, sure to be of interest to anyone who lives nearby. 1801 Divisadero St. at Bush.

One more item in the article was that the owner of ~TORTILLA HEIGHTS~, Paul Owens, was on the brink of selling it, and one of the interested buyers was Ezra Berman of The Corner Store on Masonic. Ends up Berman (and Miles Palliser) did in fact get the space—Scoop notes that Tortilla Heights has suddenly closed and said farewell on their Facebook page. Alas, the queso creek and margarita river have stopped after a nine-year run. Stand by for what’s next in the space. 1750 Divisadero St. at Bush.

One more piece of tortilla-related news: in case you’re headed into the Macy’s Cellar Marketplace at Union Square and all ready to get your Rick Bayless Frontera Fresco eats on, you’ll discover that it has been replaced with ~TORTILLA KITCHEN~.


Fried egg banh mi from Rice Paper Scissors. Photo by Adria Lo via Facebook.

~RICE PAPER SCISSORS~ is settling in at their new home in Brick & Mortar Music Hall, and as of Saturday April 19th you’ll find weekend brunch at the new location. From 11am-2pm on Saturdays and Sundays, you’ll find a menu with a stronger Chinese influence than their usual choices. Look for some dim sum choices like daikon rice cakes with Chinese sausage and dry-fried chicken wings, as well as egg dishes like a fried egg banh mi and a mapo scramble, plus banh xeo (one of my faves), and sriracha Bloody Marys and Vietnamese coffee; here’s the menu. Cash only! 1710 Mission St. at Duboce, 415-878-6657.

The next time a craving for cassoulet or a Ginger Rogers hits you on a Monday, you’ll be able to indulge in both at ~ABSINTHE BRASSERIE & BAR~, which will be open seven days a week as of Monday April 21st. Kitchen hours will be Mon-Sat 11:30am-12am and Sun 11am-10pm. Look for a menu of classic plats du jour for weekday lunch as well. The lineup is Monday: cassoulet l’Absinthe ($22); Tuesday: salade Lyonnaise ($16); Wednesday: moules frites ($17); Thursday: confit de canard ($19); and Friday: soupe de poisson à la rouille ($23). Served 11:30am-2pm.


The blue room at Blue Plate. Photo courtesy Blue Plate.

Bernal restaurant ~BLUE PLATE~ is celebrating a whopping 15 years in business this May, which is pretty phenomenal. They’ve lined up a series of winemaker dinners to toast the occasion, with wine flights of five tastes for $15. First, on Thursday May 1st, Steve and Chrystal Clifton of Palmina Wines will be in attendance from 5:30pm-10pm, followed by Sean Thackrey Wines on Friday May 2nd from 5:30pm-10:30pm, and Skylark on Saturday May 3rd from 5:30pm-10:30pm. The winemakers will all be on hand, mingling with guests and talking about their wines.

The menu from the talented chef Sean Thomas will be served à la carte, and here’s a sample menu of what to expect. Reservations are available. Let’s toast to this wonderful neighborhood restaurant! Big cheers to co-owners Cory Obenour and Jeff Trenam on 15 years of keeping us wined and dined. 3218 Mission St. at Valencia, 415-282-6777.


Who will win the pork statue at Cochon 555? Photo from Facebook.

Get ready for a piggy time because ~COCHON 555~ (careful, that is a loud link!) is back and the lineup is porky and delicious. Sunday April 27th at the Ritz-Carlton marks the sixth year that five chefs, five pigs, and five winemakers will come together to compete for the ultimate in porcine glory: being crowned the King or Queen of Porc. Participating chefs this year are Kim Alter (Plum), Mark Liberman (TBD), Michael Rotondo (Parallel 37), Richie Nakano (Hapa Ramen), and David Bazirgan (Dirty Habit). Each of the chefs will prepare a whole hog menu for attendees and judges, and then voting will determine the winner. The hogs are all heritage breeds from small-scale farmers, to bring attention to the value and importance (and deliciousness!) of responsible ranching. The winner will go on to compete in the national competition in Aspen.

In addition to the main event, you’ll find a live hog butchering demonstration; a station featuring Goose Island Beer and Hudson Valley Foie Gras (yes, foie!); a bourbon bar featuring Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace, Breckenridge Bourbon, Hirsch, Templeton Rye, and Luxardo; a cheese bar from Mission Cheese; an ice cream social; and more. Yeah, it’s pretty serious. And pretty seriously decadent.

Tickets are $125 for general admission, or $200 for VIP, which includes early admission and more drinks and experiences and other good stuff. It goes from 5pm-8pm (4pm entry for VIP) at the Ritz-Carlton, 600 Stockton St. at Pine.


Cold-brewed and iced Sightglass coffee at the CRO Café. Photo: ©

The coffee experts at teeny-weeny ~CRO CAFÉ~ will now have a little more room, East Bay Express reports. The tenants at Temescal Alley, where the café is located, has been playing musical chairs in recent months, and CRO has ended up with a larger home. The new space is still petite (only 240 square feet), but that’s still an expansion. You still won’t find any interior seating, but the coffee cart has been replaced by a counter. The new space will also allow for an expanded menu, including iced coffee on tap (apparently it develops a “head,” like beer) and housemade sodas. They’ve also added a rotating single-origin pour-over coffee from Linea Caffé, in addition to their current Sightglass offerings. There is also more space for food options, including bagels from Authentic Bagel Company, and some grab-and-go items may be coming soon. Temescal Alley, 49th St. at Telegraph, Oakland.

We’ve been tracking this one for a while and now East Bay Dish reports that the day has finally come: ~LOST & FOUND~, a beer garden and restaurant from the team behind The Layover, is opening on Sunday April 20th. Co-owner Christi Vaughn tells us that the large space in downtown Oakland is about 10,000 square feet, including a 7,000-square-foot beer garden, which is the focus of the spot. It will be family-friendly and casual, with counter service and more than 20 beers on tap. The beer garden features picnic tables, complete with outdoor games like cornhole and Ping-Pong, plus a fenced-in area for kids to play. They’re going for a very open, inclusive atmosphere, where laptops and office meetings will be as welcome as couples and families.

On the menu, look for eclectic choices, like elote-style corn on the cob, spicy Korean chicken wings, and sandwiches. They’ll be softly open in April, while they finalize the menu and hours. Their first day, Sunday April 20th, they’ll be open from 2pm-8pm. April hours will be Wed-Sun 10am-10pm, and as of May 1st, hours will be Tue-Thu 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-12am. 2040 Telegraph Ave. at 21st St., 510-763-2040.


The front patio at Johnston’s Saltbox, open to the dining room. Photo from Facebook.

We don’t usually cover much of the action on the Peninsula (we gotta draw the line somewhere), but hey, we figured it was time to toss you 650 folks a marrow bone. First, in San Carlos, ~JOHNSTON’S SALTBOX~ is now open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. They’ve got a sunny spot with a large back patio and outdoor seating in front, too. The menu is California seasonal, with salads and sandwiches for lunch, like a kale panzanella and a BLT with avocado. At dinner, there’s roasted halibut, pot roast, and a daily soup. There’s beer and wine, and the patio is dog-friendly, too! Hours are Tue-Fri 11:30am-2pm and 5:30pm-9pm, Sat 10am- 2:30pm and 5:30pm-9pm, Sun 10am-2:30pm. 1696 Laurel St. at St. Francis, San Carlos, 650-592-7258.

Craig and Annie Stoll’s newest outpost is now open, Scoop reports. ~PIZZERIA DELFINA PALO ALTO~ is only softly open for lunch right now, but they’ll be adding dinner on Wednesday April 23rd. The menu is similar to their other locations, with hand-stretched mozzarella, seasonal starters, that salad tricolore, and of course their pizzas in all their glory. This location does have a full liquor license, though, so keep your eyes peeled for cocktails from Locanda’s Alex Phillips. Right now, hours are daily 11:30am-4pm. 651 Emerson St. at Forest, Palo Alto, 650-353-2208.

April 8, 2014

A look into the new Souvla. Photo: Jen Pelka.


The communal table with a picture of my new hero on the wall. Photo: Jen Pelka.


Souvla time! Photo courtesy of Souvla.


The fantastic fries. Photo: ©

Last week I was happy to attend a preview party for ~SOUVLA~, a brand-new souvlaki place in Hayes Valley. You may remember when I wrote about the concept a couple of years ago, when Greek American chef-owner Charles Bililies was still looking for investors and a location. Isn’t it great when ideas come true? Especially when souvlaki is involved—something this city has been sorely lacking (sorry, the gyro places with mystery meat don’t count).

He is definitely doing a Bay Area spin on things: the spit-roasted meats (the “souvla” is literally the rotisserie rod/roasting spit) are all-natural, hormone-free meats (the chickens are Rocky Jr. from Petaluma, the lamb from a collective of Northern California farms, and the pork is from Homestead Farms). Each souvlaki ($9-$11) has its own combo of ingredients, from feta or mizithra, and sauces like harissa-spiked yogurt or minted yogurt. There’s also a vegetarian version with roasted vegetables. The pita is notably soft and pillowy—it’s their proprietary recipe made especially for them by a South Bay bakery specializing in flatbreads and pitas, delivered fresh daily.

Here’s the opening menu. There are some crazy-delicious fries you will need to order—they’re tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, and topped with mizithra cheese (a salty sheep’s milk cheese from Greece). Oh yeah, and there are also fries with the drippings. Yup. For dessert, there are some different toppings you can get on frozen Greek yogurt ($4-$5), like baklava crumbles, sour cherry syrup, or Greek olive oil and flaky sea salt. There are Greek wines on the list, plus some Greek beer too (opa!).

It’s a fast-casual setup (you order at the counter), with 35 seats in all. Bililies ended up taking over the former Sebo location, and the room feels completely different, with light coming in from the skylight, a couple bars made of white oak with custom-aged copper trim, and Carrara marble penny tile. There is a communal table (with a copper top, the same as the high-top bar tables). To complete the airy feeling, the front windows open up to the sidewalk. There’s a wraparound bar with three outdoor bar stools, plus a counter with stools both in and outside. Be sure to check out the hanging pots, which are vintage pieces from his grandfather’s Boston restaurant.

Hours are Tue-Sun 11am-10pm. 517 Hayes St. at Octavia, 415-400-5458.


The UP sign with some golf balls and putters. Photo: Kristen Loken.


Chef Dane Boryta in front of the Duck Shoot Hole. Photo: Kristen Loken.

It’s about that time to check in on ~URBAN PUTT~, which has set an opening date of May 5th. Here are the latest details on what will be San Francisco’s first miniature golf course (with 14 holes!), two bars, and a restaurant. To recap, this upcoming Mission project is from Steve Fox, previously editorial director of PC World, editor in chief of InfoWorld, and editorial director of CNET. The location was previously Driscoll’s Mortuary, and has been vacant since 1999 (hopefully one of the spots on the mini golf course is a creepy crypt, bwah ha ha!).

Back in January, we mentioned that the chef is Dane Boryta, most recently at Bottle Cap in North Beach. It’s a full-service restaurant called UP at Urban Putt (it’s upstairs), and will be offering “comforting Americana cuisine,” with dishes like a wedge salad with blue cheese; six kinds of Chicago-style deep-dish pizza; and poutine with duck confit, hand-cut fries, cheese curds, and peppercorn gravy. Entrées include slow-roasted baby back ribs with heirloom cannellini beans, jambalaya, and braised artichokes with mushroom and English pea filling. Take a first look at the menu here.

You’ll also be able to get some Fairway Bites while on the mini golf green, like corn dogs, pretzel twists, and fried chicken and waffle skewers. Or if you’re hanging out at the bar, the Bar Bites menu will include fried chicken thighs, a burger, pulled pork sliders, grilled cheese and tomato soup, and more. There are also two private dining rooms, with room for 14 people upstairs and 25 in the salon downstairs.

The bar was originally going to be run by the Bon Vivants, but it looks like it’s just beer and wine for now. Colin Carroll has been named the bar manager—his background includes Elixir Saloon and Paul K Restaurant, plus some Portland locations—and he’ll be highlighting some local brews (including a custom beer from the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company) and concocting some low-proof cocktails until Urban Putt gets its full liquor license. There’s a bar upstairs at UP (with the restaurant, it comes to 70 seats total) and another bar downstairs, with room for 35.

The course itself is going to be pretty high tech, and they have assembled quite the team of local designers, robotics engineers, welders, and artists to make it a really cool experience. San Francisco architect Matt Hollis (who also designed Mission Bowling Club) is behind the design of the space. Look for custom ironwork, and other touches like wood and copper bar tops and Victorian-style light sconces.

Urban Putt will be open seven days a week, offering dinner every night, plus weekend brunch. Snacks, beverages, and appetizers will be available at the bar whenever Urban Putt is open. Mini golf will be available throughout operating hours. No one under 21 years of age will be admitted after 8pm. 1096 South Van Ness Ave. at 22nd St.


The bar and seating at Trou Normand, including art pieces. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

As spring ramps up, there are some new places to get your lunch on. First, ~TROU NORMAND~ in the Financial District has added lunch hours as of Monday April 7th. The menu includes sandwiches, along with smaller bites for sharing, like arancini, a housemade charcuterie plate, and salt-and-vinegar potato chips. Hours are 11am-2:30pm, and breakfast hours are coming soon too. 140 New Montgomery St. at Natoma, 415-975-0876.

~A16~ San Francisco in the Marina is now open for lunch Wednesday through Sunday, 11:30am-2:30pm. The menu includes pizza, pasta dishes, and a broad selection of smaller dishes, including a tuna conserva panzanella. There is also a $20 tasting menu on offer, which includes three courses with choices that change regularly. Call for reservations.

~HAKKASAN~ has added a selection of affordable lunch dishes to their menu, and all of them are priced at only $5.50 each. Choices include braised pork trotters in ginger and soy sauce, or stir-fry roasted duck with chile in Szechuan sauce; check out all the choices here. And it’s a pretty gorg location for lunch, so enjoy.


Get your eggs Benny from Slow Club any day of the week. Photo from Facebook.

Looking for a new brunch spot? Well, ~SLOW CLUB~ has long offered weekend brunch, but now it’s going to be available during the week too. Starting on Monday April 14th, you can get their eggs Benedict, fried egg sandwich, and frittata any day of the week. Hours will be Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, Sat-Sun 10am-2:30pm.

On Sundays, you can now enjoy brunch with live jazz at ~CAMPTON PLACE RESTAURANT~ from 11:30am-2:30pm. The menu offers a blend of traditional dishes, like smoked salmon with bagel and cream cheese, or items with a stronger Indian influence, like the appam: a fermented-rice crêpe with eggs and curry sauce. In addition, they’ve got a broad selection of bubbles by the glass, plus brunch cocktails. From 12pm-2:30pm, the George Lacson Trio will keep things jazzy with live music.


A hot slice from Josey Baker. Photo: ©

Have you had a chance to hit the Monday night pizza party by Josey Baker at ~THE MILL~? Not yet? Well, lucky you, because they decided to make it a permanent thing! Yes! And they’re working on a preordering system for those of you coming in for an entire pizza. Also in the Josey department, his book (Josey Baker Bread) is being released this month! There are all kinds of cool events around the launch, including a pizza party at The Mill on Monday April 14th (with taco pizza!) and a special event at State Bird Provisions on Tuesday April 22nd. Check it all out here.

More local people rocking it: at the 30th Annual International Pizza Expo in Vegas, ~CAPO’S~ chef Matt Molina and ~TONY’S PIZZA NAPOLETANA~ chef Laura Meyer both received first place in their divisions (Matt won American Pan, and Laura won Nontraditional). Matt Molina also won the ultimate title of “World Champion Pizza Maker of the Year.” Go on!


Hi Lo’s exterior. Photo by Nader Khouri.

As previously reported on tablehopper, ~HI LO~ is now closed. In its place, look for the brick-and-mortar from David Barzelay of the Lazy Bear pop-up.

It looks like ~DIXIE~ in the Presidio has closed. Eater reports that they are not longer taking reservations, and a visit to the restaurant revealed a quiet, locked space, and it looks like their website is down. No word yet on exactly what happened or what future plans for the space might be. 1 Letterman Dr. at Lyon.


The interior of New Central. Photo: ©

To celebrate the beginning of Giants baseball season, Show Dogs will be serving a special menu at ~SLOW CLUB~ until Friday April 11th. The menu offers a special dish at lunch, happy hour, and dinner. At dinner, check out a charcuterie plate with pâté, duck liver mousse, and basturma (totally delicious dry-aged beef), or a cassoulet with boar sausage, ham hock, and duck confit. Yowza. Lunch served Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, happy hour 5pm-6pm, and dinner Mon-Thu 6pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 6pm-11pm.

According to Yelp and liquor license activity, Tara Restaurant on 2nd Street is now ~NORTH INDIA~. The menu includes lots of Northern Indian staples, including tandoori choices, and they’re offering free delivery citywide and a lunch buffet. 123 2nd St. at Mission, 415-348-1234.

The Bayview Underground Food Scene Community Market is now happening every Thursday at Pier 70, starting this Thursday April 10th. It’s from 5:30pm-8pm, and you’ll find food from Radio Africa, Fox & Lion Bread, Auntie April’s, and All Good Pizza, as well as beverages from Gratta Wines and SF Mead. You can also check out local artists, kid’s activities, and live music. Pier 70, 20th St. at Illinois.

The other day I noticed the windows of the recently opened ~NEW CENTRAL CAFE~ were papered over. I checked in with the owners and was sorry to learn the chef, Gustavo, was ill and needed to get off his feet. Alas, the amazing chorizo burger is gone (for now). Stand by for something new to reopen in the space in May. Get better, Gustavo! 301 S. Van Ness Ave. at 14th St., 415-722-0601.

Fabulous Oakland shop ~UMAMI MART~ has been popping up at The Perish Trust in San Francisco for a while now. Well, now they are here to stay, and that means it’s time to celebrate. They’re throwing a block party with their neighbors on Thursday April 10th from 6pm-9pm, with taiko drumming from Emeryville Taiko, 1970s Japanese funk music from DJ Spaziale, Japanese street food from Casa de Kei, and brisket from 4505 Meats. The event is completely free, with all food and drinks available for purchase. 728 Divisadero St. at Grove, 510-250-9559.


Chicken nanban, a Miyazaki-style dish at Izakaya Roku. Photo from Facebook.

Hoodline reports that ~IZAKAYA ROKU~ has a new chef. Well, actually, two new chefs: it turns out that owner Jay Hamada made friends with a pair of brothers from his hometown in Miyazaki, Japan, and now the pair is running the kitchen. They’re still in the process of tweaking the menu, and have been testing out country-style dishes from Miyazaki to see what gets the best response. 1819 Market St. at Pearl, 415-861-6500.

~JOLT ‘N BOLT~, the café in Dogpatch from Mary and Gerhard Michler, has a new chef running the show: Allison Owens. She’s put together a menu of dishes entirely from scratch, with many specials that change daily. Check out the café’s Twitter feed for the day’s specials; some recent selections included Thai green curry with chicken, a Cajun turkey burger, and country frittata with vegetables. Hours are Mon-Fri 7:30am-4pm. 948 Illinois St. at 20th St., 415-863-8761.


The delightful Azalina Eusope. Photo by Tim Benson.

Here’s a trio of folks who could use your help in getting their projects off the ground, please take a look! All the projects come with some great perks, so please read about them and give what you can!

First, the lovely Azalina Eusope of ~AZALINA’S MALAYSIAN~ is gearing up for her first brick-and-mortar location, in the Twitter building, this September, but in the meantime, she has sadly lost access to the very important commercial kitchen space she uses for catering, wholesale, and her packaged goods. She found a space to lease and build her own kitchen that’s big enough for all her needs, but she really needs some help to get it built. Here’s her MoolaHoop campaign—please be sure to watch her video!

~MARLA BAKERY~ will be launching their new brick-and-mortar bakery in the Outer Richmond on May 31st, and want to create a garden space in the back (for guests can enjoy) in addition to fruit trees, an herb garden, and more, all designed by Paxton Gate. Here’s their Kickstarter; you’ve got until May 1st to contribute. 3619-21 Balboa St. at 37th Ave.

Lastly, any of you gluten-free folks should take a look at the new magazine that Erika Lenkert will be launching in Fall 2014, Gluten-Free Forever. It will be beautifully designed and photographed, and as a lot of us know, launching a magazine isn’t cheap. Here’s their Kickstarter.


Chef David Wilcox of Soused. Photo from Facebook.

This month at ~VINYL~, check out the Soused pop-up from chef David Wilcox, who got a lot of buzz while he was at Mill Valley Beerworks, and was previously at Gjelina in Los Angeles. The pop-up is vegetable-focused, with an emphasis on marinated, pickled, and “drenched in sauce” (or soused) preparations. A sample menu mentions turkey legs with charmoula, and cured trout with avocado toast, though the menu is subject to change. Currently, you can book a seat for Saturday and Sunday April 12th and 13th, and seatings are at 6pm, 8pm, and 10pm. The dinner costs $40 per person, and proceeds benefit Ida B. Wells High School. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, but you can email for reservations for parties of six or more. 359 Divisadero St. at Oak, 415-621-4132.

For a spring evening outdoors, check out Bounty & Barrel: A Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Dinner on Saturday April 19th at Devil’s Gulch Ranch. Chefs Omri Aflalo, David Bazirgan, Jason Halverson, Laurence Jossel, and William Werner will each create one of the evening’s five courses. Each course will be paired with a cocktail from Adam Reaume, featuring Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel whiskey. Tickets to the event are $150 each, and proceeds benefit Bay Area Women’s and Children’s Center in the Tenderloin. The dinner is from 6pm-9pm, but if you arrive at 4pm you can tour the ranch too (it’s included). Parking is at Nicasio Valley Cheese Company starting at 5:30pm for dinner, 3:30pm for the tour. 5300 Nicasio Valley Rd., Nicasio, 310-721-1403.


The new signage at Doukkala. Photo from Doukkala’s blog.

Tanjia in Oakland has changed names and concepts, and is reopening on Wednesday April 16th as ~DOUKKALA~. The new concept has a California-Moroccan menu and a new chef, Eric Lanvert (previously at SF’s Rue Saint Jacques), according to East Bay Express. On the menu, there are two versions of quail pastilla, as well as a lamb couscous with oxtail, merguez, duck, and vegetables. Take a look at the menu here. Hours are Tue-Sun 5pm-10:30pm, closed Mondays. 4905 Telegraph Ave. at 49th St., Oakland, 510-653-8691.


Guisell Osorio serving at the market. Photo courtesy La Cocina.

La Cocina alum Guisell Osorio has been making superlative empanadas, alfajores, and other South American specialities for years now (she was La Cocina’s very first business!), and now she’s opening her very own brick-and-mortar location. ~SABORES DEL SUR~ is opening in Walnut Creek on Thursday April 17th, in a former La Salsa chain location. The café, which will also serve as her operation’s bakery, will be serving Osorio’s empanadas, classic alfajores, sandwiches, and pastel de choclo, a meat and vegetable pie made with corn. Brava! 3003 Oak Rd. at Wayne, Walnut Creek, 925-954-8300.

April 4, 2014

Liz Prueitt and Chad Robertson of Tartine Bakery and Bar Tartine. Photo by Eric Wolfinger.


The 18th and Alabama corner of the Heath Ceramics building. Photo by Dana Eastland. ©

Some very exciting news here: Chad Robertson and Liz Prueitt of ~TARTINE BAKERY AND CAFE~ and ~BAR TARTINE~ have just signed a lease to a 5,000-square-foot space in the Heath Ceramics factory and showroom building at 18th Street and Alabama in the Mission. How’s that for a symbiotic fit?

I caught up with Chad Robertson, who isn’t able to share specific details about their plans for the space just yet because, quite frankly, they have so many ideas that they want to work through first (as Robertson puts it, “It’s a Willy Wonka situation!”). It’s a big space with a lot of promise, and there are also going to be many collaborative components to it.

It’s definitely a long-lead story here (the opening is looking like 2015), but what Robertson could share is this: there is going to be a restaurant venture as well as a bakery project in the new space—it will be in cooperation with the current Tartine Bakery, acting like another arm. Robertson says, “The bakery staff has been hammered the past 12 years in that space. We are going to be able to do things we have wanted to do for years. We’re going to create the most efficient and comfortable workspace for them.” In addition to having a commissary production space, he mentioned there is going to be a preservation kitchen as well—he said they used to do things like make jams at Tartine Bakery, and now they’ll be able to bring that back, and do some production for themselves.

As for the restaurant component, Robertson shared there is going to be a “daytime eating situation” (I am digging all these situations). When Heath Ceramics was looking for a tenant for the space, it was very important to them that the tenant would be able to provide food for the factory and showroom staff and many artisans in the building. In addition to the 50 factory staff members, there are also jewelry makers, a letterpress printer, an apron/uniform maker, and other craft/artisan subtenants (it’s a pretty amazing artisan factory and campus over there, with a very collaborative and supportive environment).

I spoke with Heath Ceramics managing director Robin Petravic, and he said they had even considered opening their own restaurant at one point. He said, “Our aesthetic is simple, we’re not trying too hard or are fancy. But we’re quality. And good. We were looking for food like that too.”

The space has been vacant all along, but Heath really hadn’t started looking for someone specific until the past year or so. (For a sense of timing, they opened the showroom in June 2012, the Blue Bottle kiosk opened in August 2012, and the factory got running in August 2013.) They really wanted to make sure the tenant would align with the Heath aesthetic, philosophy, and values, in addition to fitting into the atmosphere of a creative community centered around design, craftsmanship, and small-scale manufacturing. Of course, they are thrilled with how well the Tartine group fits with all of this. As Petravic said, “It’s a no-brainer!”

Petravic also said they want people to visit the factory and find ways to connect with the dinnerware, enjoy the space, and want to stay. He says the courtyard they created for guests to look at the factory while enjoying a coffee (in a Heath Ceramics coffee cup, of course) has been an example of that, and the restaurant will be another experience. He clarified further that Heath and Tartine have their own identities, but both will work together toward the common goal of creating a destination.

A destination, yes, it will definitely be that. Anyone who subscribes to the Bar Tartine newsletter knows how much guest chefs and culinary collaborations are a big part of what they do. Robertson is happy that they will be able to more easily host visiting chefs in the new space, and plan to have multiple kitchen setups. They want to create more space for Bar Tartine’s chefs Nick Balla and Cortney Burns to work on their own projects too. Robertson added that people are so inspired by what those two are doing, so there will be a teaching setup in mind as well.

Robertson and Prueitt actually moved into the neighborhood not too long ago, and serendipitously are living just two blocks away. And of course it’s a wonderful thing for them to be able to start this next chapter to their business while staying on 18th Street.

The plan is to open in early 2015. They are on a tight schedule, and will open in phases, probably making bread first (hopefully in time for the holidays to take some pressure off Tartine Bakery). Expect more updates in coming months on this sure-to-be-inspiring project, a total Tartine dream. It’s going to be smelling very good over there. Corner of 18th St. and Alabama.

April 1, 2014

The dining room at Castagna. Photo courtesy Castagna.

A little more than a year after a fire damaged ~CASTAGNA~ in the Marina, the restaurant and wine bar from co-owners and brothers Jerome (general manager) and Stephane Meloni (executive chef) is reopening sometime this week. The new chapter brings some changes, including a more upscale look, with a menu inspired by Provence, Southern France, and the Italian Riviera. The space’s new look is by Jeon Design, and includes more banquette seating, wood floors, and stone accents.

On the dinner menu, look for ratatouille served in socca, a fennel-crusted Mediterranean branzino, daube à la Niçoise, and fried squash blossoms. At brunch you’ll find egg dishes, including an omelet, eggs en cocotte, and quiche Lorraine. They’re also adding bar seating, outdoor seating, and a happy hour Tue-Fri 4pm-6pm. Hours are dinner Sun, Tue-Thu 5pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm, brunch Sat-Sun 10:30am-5pm (closed Mondays). 2015 Chestnut St. at Fillmore, 415-440-4290.


Outdoor seating for brunch at Verbena. Photo courtesy Verbena.

~VERBENA~ on Polk Street is now serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, starting April 5th. The menu offers seasonal dishes, many of them with a twist on the usual selections, including a pork trotter terrine with fried quail eggs and chile oil, and poached eggs with duck ragout and peas. Take a look at the current menu here.

They’re also pouring brunch cocktails, like the Verbena mimosa with orange bitters and Cocchi Americano, and of course a Bloody Mary. Brunch is served from 11am-2:30pm, and you can also enjoy outdoor seating on sunny days.


The Other Guys. Photo from Facebook.

Here’s a new pop-up for your radar: The Other Guys from friends Nathan Holden, Stephen Thorlton, and John Thurmond. The first one will happen on Sunday April 6th from 6pm-9:30pm at ~20TH CENTURY CAFÉ~, and will hopefully be the beginning of a regular series. The menu will be available either as a tasting menu for $58 per person, or you can elect to order à la carte.

The options include starters like oyster with crisp fish skin, seaweed, and sesame, or artichokes with miso, lemon, and herbs. For entrées, check out a roasted pork jowl with potatoes, spicy sour cabbage, and shellfish, or lemon zest and peppercorn chicken wings. The tasting menu also includes dessert from 20th Century Café, along with some additional dishes not on the à la carte menu. Reservations can be made here.


Twiglight at the Presidio. Photo from Facebook.

After a winter hiatus, Off the Grid is returning to the Presidio on Sunday April 6th, with both their Sunday Picnic at the Presidio and their Thursday evening Twilight at the Presidio. On Sundays from 11am-4pm, the Picnic includes both food trucks and local restaurants serving from food stands, including Wise Sons, Del Popolo, and Nopalito. A roving cocktail bar offers drinks “blanket-side,” and you can also buy all the important picnic supplies you’ll need, like croquet, kites, and, yes, extra sweaters and blankets.

As for Thursday evening, Twilight at the Presidio runs from 5pm-9pm and includes cabanas lit with lanterns, fire pits and Adirondack chairs, and live music. Cocktails will also be available, served either right at your cabana or fireside. You’ll find a rotating lineup of trucks, including The Boneyard, Red Sauce Meatballs, and Fins on the Hoof. Main Parade Ground, Lincoln Blvd. at Montgomery, The Presidio.


Kitty loves tea. And Coca-Cola. And your lap. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

Meow! Remember when we told you about cat café ~KITTEA~ in January? Well, their crowdfunding campaign has succeeded in surpassing their $50,000 goal. Apparently there are a lot of cat lovers out there who wanted to see the project happen (not surprising)! Can’t wait to share more information about this one as it gets closer.

Intrepid Chowhounder Melanie Wong reports that Chinatown’s ~DOL HO~ is closed for a break. According to a sign on the door, they’ll reopen on April 28th. 808 Pacific Ave. at Stockton, 415-392-2828.


Chef Nancy Silverton. Photo from Mozza Pizzeria via Facebook.

On Saturday April 5th, chef Nancy Silverton of Pizzeria and Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles, will be at Macy’s Union Square giving a free cooking demonstration at the Macy’s Flower Show. She’ll be sharing several of her recipes from her Mozza Cookbook from 2pm-3:30pm, and offering samples of the dishes.

Plus, if you spend more than $35 at the Macy’s Home Department that Saturday, you’ll get a copy of the book for her to sign, a $10 Macy’s gift card, and a Flower Show gift. Just be sure to RSVP here. 170 O’Farrell St. at Powell, lower level kitchen.


The communal table awaits you. Photo from 18 Reasons.

There’s always something groovy going on at ~18 REASONS~, and here are a couple of April classes that caught my eye. First up, the fabulous Kayoko Akabori and Yoko Kumano from Umami Mart will be teaching a cooking demo, The Power of Shiokoji
, on Tuesday April 22nd from 6pm-9pm. You can learn all about koji (Aspergillus oryzae), a rice mold used in Japan to produce sake, miso, and shoyu, and shiokoji (koji mixed with salt), a miracle cooking ingredient that pumps up the umami factor of any dish, sauce, or dressing. Tickets are $35 for members, $45 for the general public.

Some of my favorite earrings are some beautiful bone earrings I received from the captivating Haven Bourque, who is going to be teaching a class called Wool, Leather, Bones on Friday April 25th, from 6pm-8pm. She will be leading a discussion of how discarded “ingredients” can be brought to life through craft. Joining her are Claire Herminjard, who plans to use discarded cowhides to make bracelets and other wearables, and Joe Pozzi, who works to find uses for “trash” wool from the sheep of Pozzi Ranch. Tickets are $20 for members, $25 for the general public.


Love pie? Good, because it’s the best! On Sunday April 13th, check out the second annual SF Pie Social from 11:30am-3:30pm at the Verdi Club. It’s also a competition, with a panel of illustrious bakers, dessert experts, and food gurus judging the entries: Elisabeth Prueitt (Tartine), Jessica Battilana (Tasting Table), Jake Godby (Humphry Slocombe), Anita Chu (Sated Magazine), and Lenore Estrada and Anna Derivi-Castellanos (Three Babes Bakeshop).

You can purchase a ticket to attend for $15 (only $5 for kids) and eat all the pie you can stomach, or you can enter one of your own creations for $25. Of course there are prizes for the winners, along with serious bragging rights. All proceeds benefit the San Francisco Community School, a K-8 public school in the Excelsior. 2424 Mariposa St. at Hampshire.


A view of Bar Dogwood on the corner of Telegraph Ave. and 17th St. in Oakland. Photo from Facebook.

It looks like two local drivers made some really bad decisions this weekend. Very early Sunday morning, cars crashed into and damaged two local businesses, ~BAR DOGWOOD~ in Oakland and ~JOEY AND PAT’S~ bakery in the Mission, according to The Chronicle. Fortunately, no one was injured in either crash, and all drivers and passengers fled and have not been found. According to their Facebook page, Dogwood will reopen tonight, which is pretty amazing.

Mission Local reports that the building on Folsom and 21st Street that houses Joey and Pat’s may have to be vacated entirely, since the car destroyed a major support beam. We know how difficult an incident like this can be for a small, locally owned business, so here’s hoping everyone can get back on their feet soon.


Seafood soup from Giin Thai Canteen. Photo from restaurant website.

East Bay Express reports that a new restaurant with a whole animal focus (and a retail butcher shop!) is coming to North Oakland, and it’s called ~CLOVE & HOOF~. The new project comes from Analiesa Gosnell (previously a butcher at Cafe Rouge) and chef John Blevins (previously at Gather and Lalime’s). The shop will sell cuts of meat from responsibly raised whole animals that will be broken down in-house, while the restaurant will focus on lunch offerings. There will be about 24 seats for those wishing to dine in, but the focus is on takeout.

Sandwiches will be made utilizing lesser-known or challenging cuts of meat that are paired with housemade condiments. Blevins is also planning to install a smoker in the kitchen and has been studying charcuterie in France, so you’ll find both European-style offerings alongside dishes that are rooted in Southern barbecue traditions. One such dish is a pork confit stew with garlic sausage (smoked in-house), brisket ends, and Tarbais beans, which marries a cassoulet-style dish with American pork and beans. To start, they won’t be open for dinner, though there are plans to offer whole-animal dinners and prepared dishes to take home. Right now, the hope is to open in the fall, though there is still an extensive build-out to get through until the space is ready. 4001 Broadway at 40th St., Oakland.

In Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood, ~COMAL~’s owners John Paluska and Andrew Hoffman have been working with the city to get approval to open a new restaurant in Elmwood for months, and they’ve finally succeeded! The new place will be in a former garage that has been vacant since at least 2007, when an organization called the Elmwood Neighborhood Association blocked a different restaurant from moving in. The same group opposed the new project, as well, but after lots of community outreach and support from many others in the neighborhood, they got the green light. Berkeleyside Nosh has lots of details on the process, so check out their coverage for lots of great information.

They are still looking for a chef to run the kitchen at the new place (Comal’s Matt Gandin will stay where he is), but they’ve got the basic concept in place. It will be neighborhood-focused, “approachable and comfortable,” as Paluska says, with “Northern California” food, including flavors from Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. The space will seat 100, including 12 seats at the bar. Once they have a chef, more details will emerge about the food. They’re targeting an early 2015 opening. 2635 Ashby Ave. at College, Berkeley.

Berkeleyside Nosh reports that there is a new Thai place in town. ~GIIN THAI CANTEEN~ comes from the same people behind Gecko Gecko, and offers thai cuisine that is spicier, less sweet, and more flavorful than the average Thai-American options. The menu includes many Thai restaurant staples, including curry and pad Thai, as well as some more unusual choices, like a whole fried fish of the day and spicy sausage with sticky rice. 3278 Adeline St. at Alcatraz, Berkeley, 510-547-4446.


Spring vegetables in the kitchen at Oliveto. Photo from Facebook.

It’s springtime, and though the weather might not feel like it, you can still celebrate on your plate. Lots of wonderful produce is popping up at the markets, including asparagus, fava beans, spring onions, and peas. ~OLIVETO~ is saluting spring from Tuesday April 8th through Friday April 11th with a special Dinners from the Field menu. This first annual feast features lots of vegetable-driven (and mostly vegetarian) dishes, all of them fresh and exciting.

Look for dishes like a ragù of braised baby artichokes with wheat berries, strawberry gazpacho with mint and green almonds, and a sformatino of asparagus. You can peek at a preliminary menu here; just be aware that it may change, depending on what is freshest that week. Pray for morels! There will also be some meat options, and everything will be available à la carte.

March 25, 2014

The delightful Azalina Eusope. Photo by Tim Benson.


Azalina’s will be going into the space at the left. You can also see the nice outdoor seating area she will have. Rendering courtesy of Market Square.


Azalina’s laksa with hand-pulled noodles (and it’s vegan!). Photo: ©


Azalina’s curry bombs. Photo via Facebook.

I was absolutely thrilled to read on Chowhound that Azalina Eusope, the hardworking and crazy-talented woman behind ~AZALINA’S MALAYSIAN~, is finally going to be opening her brick-and-mortar location—and it’s going in the lobby of the Twitter building, aka Market Square (and prepare for music if you hit that link). She has catered meals for the Twitter office, and like most other people with good taste in this town, they love her food.

It couldn’t happen to a nicer and more deserving person.

She is mulling over the name, and is thinking of calling it Azalina (sounds right to me!). She said there will be an open kitchen, and both communal and bar seating, with 45 seats indoors and about 30 outdoors. Her good friend Edward Ngiam is designing the space. She said the vibe is going to be informal, an easy place where you can swing by for a meal or get it packed up to go. Both lunch and dinner will be served, with snacks in between and brunch on the weekends.

She is sourcing spices from back home (hopefully including poppy seed powder as a spice condiment, which can be illegal in some places), while using ingredients from local farmers and purveyors. They are not planning to serve alcohol, but she hopes to offer many fermented drinks from back home. She also wants to keep everything at a very fair price point that’s accessible to many income brackets. She says: “After all, I am fifth-generation [Mamak] street vendor, making accessible street food of my culture. I simply pray I do justice to the my community, culture, and the four generations before me with this opportunity.” You will, sweetie. You will.

She will have great neighbors on the ground floor: the AQ team’s project (their brasserie, Bon Marché) and the second Small Foods location (a grocery store). Her location is along the back wall at 10th Street and Market streets (you can look at a floor plan here). Azalina is going in where it says Market on Market, a shared retail-restaurant space that takes inspiration from Chelsea Market and Eataly in New York, as well as our Ferry Building. She said a couple of her Market on Market neighbors will be Nuubia chocolates and a juice company.

She is thrilled about all the natural light and glass walls—one of her walls is made of two huge windows that can slide to open up onto the back patio garden area on nice days (this outdoor seating area will also have a roof). She mentioned there are plans to do some fun things out back, from outdoor events to movie screenings to bonfires—she said people spend their time outside in Malaysia, so she hopes they can feel a little transported here.

The targeted opening date is September 2014. In the meantime, you can enjoy her delicious food at her stand at Off the Grid on Fridays at Fort Mason, where she is currently serving dishes like flower crab tamales, vegan laksa with her famous hand-pulled noodles, chicken curry bombs, spinach yam dumplings, sweet banana donuts, and fresh-spiced pineapple tea. September can’t come soon enough. 1355 Market St. at 10th St.


The interior of L’Aviateur, still under construction. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


The exterior of L’Aviateur. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

A report by Dana Eastland. We’ve been tracking the former Rock Nation Café space in the Mission for a few months now, and I finally had a chance to sit down with the team and get some details this week. The new restaurant moving in is a French place called ~BISTRO L’AVIATEUR~, and it is very much a family affair. The owners are husband-and-wife team Maha and Vincent Laforge; she’s a French-Tunisian chef who previously owned a restaurant in Quebec, and he’s a former pilot for Air France. Maha will run the kitchen here, along with her son, Joseph Steinacher, who worked in restaurants in France for five years and has a strong background in pastry.

The space is small and is intended to be intimate and comfortable, with food to match. There won’t be a fixed menu; instead, you’ll find one salad, one soup, two appetizers, and two entrées (one meat or fish, one vegetarian), which will change every day. The food will be global, with a focus on the flavors of the Mediterranean, especially North Africa, but grounded in French bistro technique and style. Some days you might see a couscous or a tagine, another day, perhaps a Greek item or a French bistro classic, like moules frites. They’re still deciding what to start with, but are excited to keep the dishes seasonal and changing regularly. They will also have a small selection of wine, with two whites and two reds by the glass (one of each from California and France).

To start, they’ll be open for lunch and into the afternoon for a salon de thé with Parisian- and Tunisian-influenced tea service. Folks will be encouraged to sit, linger, and relax over a pot of tea and pastries from 2:30pm until about 6:30pm. Any of the lunch items remaining will be sold by weight as a ready-made dinner or late-afternoon lunch. While the space will generally encourage diners to slow down and take their time, they also plan to do a brisk to-go business, which should be a good fit in the neighborhood, which is a mix of commercial and residential buildings. They plan to add dinner service later, depending on what serves the neighborhood best.

L’Aviateur means “the aviator,” a nod not only to Vincent’s background as a pilot, but also to the global nature of the menu. The decor will reflect the theme, as will the food. As Maha puts it, “we will be traveling every day, with the food.” They’ve already got an Art Deco-style light fixture partially installed, and Vincent has some other decorative flairs tucked up his sleeve. Right now, he’s still overseeing a lot of the build-out, but they’ve started to wrap up a lot of the initial construction. The space is bright and sunny, with bright touches of yellow. It seats 25, including spots right at the window, with additional sidewalk seating for 20. They’re still waiting on some inspections and their liquor license, but are hoping to open at the end of April. We’ll be sure to let you know when they do! 2850 21st St. at Alabama, 415-757-0272.


Chef James London. Photo by Celisse Berumen.

Some changes at ~THE ELITE CAFÉ~ on Fillmore: owner Peter Snyderman has brought on a new chef, James London from New York. He was most recently at CO-OP at the Hotel on Rivington, and he opened La Fonda del Sol (modern Spanish in Midtown Manhattan) and consulted on the relaunch of The Crow’s Nest in Montauk; he also explored Japanese cuisine at Niko in Soho. But at heart, he’s a Southern boy; he spent his childhood in South Carolina.

London’s new Southern-inspired menu will be rolling out mid-April. The Elite has been around since 1981, and the Cajun- and Creole-inspired menu has not changed for the past eight years, so of course there are some favorites on the menu that will stay put: the deviled eggs, jambalaya, and Meetinghouse biscuits. I look forward to seeing what’s coming next. 2049 Fillmore St. at California, 415-673-5483.  


Outdoor seating at Fog City. Photo by John Mortimer courtesy Fog City.

The newly revamped ~FOG CITY~ on the Embarcadero is getting ready for spring with a new all-day menu, plus outdoor seating. With the excellent location on the bay and the dry, warm year we’ve been having, those 20 outdoor seats are sure to become coveted spots. The lunch menu is now available from 11:30am-4:45pm, and happy hour is Monday through Friday from 4pm-6pm. Look for discounted wines on tap, some cocktails for $7, and a special appetizer of the day at happy hour (like Oysters Jackpot, $5, which features Hama Hama oysters, green garlic, spinach, and Parmesan aioli baked in the wood oven, oof). The new outdoor seating is along Battery Street; enjoy your next alfresco lunch there! 1300 Battery St. at Embarcadero, 415-982-2000.

After breaking the news about the closure of ~MOCHICA~ in SoMa, liquor license activity reveals that they are moving into a new location in Potrero Hill. Another source mentions that they’re hoping to be “ready in four to six months, if all goes well.” 1469 18th St. at Connecticut.

The Marina location of ~CAFÉ CLAUDE~ is now serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-3pm. The menu includes a whole section of “croques,” including the madame, monsieur, and the lesser-know savoyard, with bacon, tomato, and greens. There’s also an omelet, pain perdu, and heartier lunch options like a burger or moules frites; check out the full menu here. 2120 Greenwich St. at Fillmore, 415-375-9550.

~CHOCOLATIER BLUE~ has opened a second SF location, this one is in the Mission on Valencia. The shop offers Chris Blue’s pretty confections, along with ice cream, sorbet, floats, and sundaes. Hours are 11am-9pm daily. 905 Valencia St. at 20th St., 415-648-1010.

A liquor license application revealed a new project in Hayes Valley on Linden from Victoria Slaker and Richard Howarth, and it looks like Hoodline was able to snag some details. The married pair want to open a small neighborhood restaurant and are looking to start construction this summer. 344 Linden St. at Octavia.

Family, friends, and supporters of Allison Chen have launched an Indiegogo campaign to open her ~PI DAN NOODLE HOUSE~ in Uptown Oakland after her unexpected death two weeks ago. Their goal is $75,000, and they’re dedicated to opening the restaurant in her memory. It’s a moving effort, and we’d love to see them make their goal. Please consider contributing!


San Francisco Fried Chicken Co. Yelp photo by Diljeet S.

There’s a new spot in North Beach serving fried chicken—Eater reports that the ~SAN FRANCISCO FRIED CHICKEN CO.~ is now open (and how’s that for a straightforward name?). They’re serving chicken by the piece, including wings, leg quarters, thighs, and drumsticks (prices range from $2-$6), along with homey sides like green beans, coleslaw, and mashed potatoes with gravy. They’re open 11:30am-2:30am every day, making your next late night out in North Beach that much better—and greasier. Bwok. 362 Columbus Ave. at Vallejo, 415-989-5443.


Don’t miss the many films on food, farms, and farmers at the Second Annual Food and Farm Film Fest, from ~18 REASONS~, happening April 3rd-6th. All of the films will be screened at the Roxie Theater in the Mission, and all screenings include a local food pairing selected to accompany the films. The fest opens on Thursday April 3rd with a selection of short films, accompanied by spring salad, Josey Baker bread, and sriracha cream cheese; admission to the opening night party is also included.

You can also check out Le Quattro Volte, about a goatherd in rustic Southern Italy (you know which one I want to see!), or L’Amour des Moules, about the life and harvesting of mussels. A full list of the films can be found here, and tickets can be purchased here. Prices start at $15 for a single ticket, or you can snag a festival pass to everything for $150. 3117 16th St. at Valencia, 415-735-1333.


Tamalpie’s tenderfoot vegetarian pizza. Photo by Kate Campbell courtesy of Tamalpie.

Mill Valley pizzeria ~TAMALPIE~ has a new chef and has made some changes. Owner Karen Goldberg has brought on Scott Warner as chef and partner (he previously worked at Rose Pistola and Bistro Don Giovanni), as well as Matthew Brown as manager (he was previously with the Delfina Restaurant Group). The changes, she says, are part of an effort to move “from a great pizzeria to a fantastic pizza bar and restaurant” with full service, a broader menu, full bar, and an updated wine list.

Additions to the menu include housemade pasta and pastries, as well as starters like mussels and clams, or fried Brussels sprouts—take a peek here. The wine list is focused on small, family producers from California and Italy, with more than 20 selections by the glass, including a sparkling rosé. They’ve also got plans in the works to add a bar area, as well as outdoor seating with fire pits. Hours are Sun-Thu 11:30am-9pm and Fri-Sat 11:30am-10pm. 475 Miller Ave. at Reed, Mill Valley, 415-388-7437.


The idyllic setting at McEvoy Ranch. Photo from Facebook.

On Saturday March 29th, get outside and welcome spring with the Wine + Bud Break Lunch at the picturesque ~MCEVOY RANCH~. Lunch will take place in the greenhouse at the ranch, featuring lots of fresh produce that’s crafted to pair with their new wine releases, as well as a focused tasting of the 2011 pinot noir, “The Evening Standard.” The lunch is $80 per person ($60 for wine club members) and includes food and wine. 5935 Red Hill Road, Petaluma, 707-778-2307.


A scoop from Smitten. Photo by Sarah Deragon, Portraits To The People, via Facebook.

As previously mentioned in tablehopper, nitrogen ice cream purveyor ~SMITTEN ICE CREAM~ is opening a new location in Rockridge. Opening on Tuesday April 1st, the space is three times larger than their Hayes Valley spot and has a 2,000-liter liquid nitrogen tank (dude!) for their churned-and-frozen-to-order ice cream scoops. In May, they’re planning to open another location, in downtown Lafayette, too. 5800 College Ave. at Birch, Oakland, 510-594-7630.

Some details have emerged about the closure of Next Door we wrote about in Berkeley. It looks like the space has been taken over by Mark Jones and Ramone Smith and is now ~44 RESTAURANT~. Berkeleyside Nosh reports that the chef is Kenneth Wynn, serving a New American menu with a Southern influence. 3290 Adeline St. at Alcatraz, Berkeley, 510-982-1609.

Berkeleyside Nosh caught the news that ~PERDITION SMOKEHOUSE~ is moving into the former Amadeus space. Scoop then followed up with some additional details, including news about the owner. Turns out the restaurant comes from Chuck Stilphen, of the Trappist and Mikkeller Bar. It’s all about Texan-style barbecue, and Stilphen has made a research trip to Texas already. He’s bringing in two smokers from Texas and will be serving mostly domestic craft beers to pair with the ‘cue. There will be a beer garden in back, as well. The aim is to open this summer. 2050 University Ave. at Shattuck, Berkeley, 510-900-5858.

March 18, 2014

The bar and seating at Trou Normand, including art pieces. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


Trou Normand. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


The back room and communal table. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


Menu design and postcards. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


Mural by Ebecho Muslimova, piece on the right by Lizzy Marshall. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

A report by Dana Eastland. As mentioned on tablehopper more than a year ago (back when it had a different name, even), Thad Vogler of Bar Agricole has a new spot in the works. It’s called ~TROU NORMAND~ and is now open in the beautiful Pacific Telephone Building at 140 New Montgomery. It’s an all-day bar and restaurant, serving breakfast in the morning straight through until dinner, with drinks and food available anytime. The idea is a little old-fashioned, not unlike old-school establishments from a bygone era that encouraged lingering at any hour of the day.

The space is a looker for sure, with soaring ceilings and windows to match. Boor Bridges (The Mill, Sightglass on 20th) designed the space, and they’ve kept the feeling contemporary without sacrificing or hiding the building’s great bones. The floor and all the cabinetry is dark oak, and all the tables as well as the impressive bar were made with reclaimed marble that was pulled out of the building’s elevator lobbies and honed to a matte finish. The walls were plastered and painted a clean white, and the ceiling was left unfinished, giving the space the feeling of an artist’s loft. Angular steel light fixtures (that match the bar’s foot rail and purse hooks) keep the space feeling tailored, and soft, tufted leather banquettes in a rich brown hue prevent it all from feeling too cold and hard.

A back room adjacent to the kitchen has a huge walnut butcher’s table, and the space can be used either as an additional prep space for the kitchen (it’s been used to butcher whole hogs recently), or as a private dining room for large groups. That’s not the only space that does double duty: the back of the entry has a sliding wall panel that opens to reveal some additional handicapped seating and a café counter for morning coffee.

Off the back is a huge outdoor patio that will feature a glass and steel canopy with integrated heaters, making the outdoor space usable year-round, rain or shine. Seth Boor, the architect on the project, reports that the building lit up at night is dramatic and quite gorgeous, and hopes that the patio will be installed in two months.

A great deal of attention has been paid to the interior design of the space, as well. Two graphic artists from New York, Erin Knutson and Grace Robinson-Leo of Study Studio, did all the art direction for the restaurant. That means that they’ve essentially “curated” a selection of art for the walls, all of it by women artists. They wanted to look at the cliché of the female nude in old-school bars through a contemporary lens. Particularly, they were looking to reexamine the 1960s bar culture, especially in France. To that end, they commissioned artist Ebecho Muslimova to design a female nude for behind the bar. It was painted by local New Bohemia Signs from a specially mixed paint made from raw milk, which gives it a more aged, matte look. Muslimova also created some humorous nude line drawings for the entryway (be sure to take a look at them) that offer a sassy take on the female nude (and charcuterie, wink).

There are also works from Allison Katz, Lizzy Marshall, Heidi Hahn, and a collective called Fort Makers. The art feels more considered than that found in many restaurants, and gives the space an almost gallery-like feeling. Fortunately, the art is playful enough that you won’t feel the need to whisper, but it does lend a cosmopolitan sophistication to the handsome space.

Knutson and Robinson-Leo were also thorough in their graphic design. The pair was responsible for crafting the menus, which are printed in classic type and then secured to slabs of glossy white acrylic and blond wood. They also created postcards that evoke a 1960s photographic pastiche, including a childhood photo of Thad Vogler. In the back, a walnut communal table can also be used for large parties (the room doubles as a private dining room).

As for the food and beverages, the cocktail list will include Armagnac, Cognac, and Calvados, much of it sourced directly from Europe. The name, Trou Normand, was inspired by a buying trip Vogler took to Normandy—it’s a tradition to throw back a shot of Calvados in preparation for or during a big meal to make room (“a Norman hole”).

You’ll see it all over the cocktail menu (all drinks $11), from the Bombay (brandy, sweet and dry vermouth, curacao, absinthe) to the Zamboanaga (Armagnac, pineapple gum, lime, maraschino). The house old-fashioned is made with Cognac, along with two types of bitters. There is also a wine list, dominated primarily by French and Italian selections. Two sparklers are available by the glass, as well as a rosé, four whites, and five reds.

The food is grounded in the charcuterie offerings, from chef Salvatore Cracco. His résumé includes Adesso and the butchery at Bar Agricole, and he’s apparently got quite the operation going on here too. He’s using Mangalitsa pigs from Devil’s Gulch Ranch to create at least 40 different varieties of cured meat, which will be available all day.

As for the rest of the menu, you’ll find breakfast items including sandwiches in the morning, while in the evening the menu focuses on larger entrées intended for sharing, like a red wine-braised pork shank ($50) or a halibut with salsa verde ($45). Sides are available as well, including choices like grilled spring onions ($7) and asparagus with brown butter and lemon ($9). For dessert, it’s ice cream ($7) only, or of course you could opt for another cocktail. Here’s the menu.

Hours will be 8am-1am eventually, but right now they’re opening at 5pm for dinner only. 140 New Montgomery St. at Natoma, 415-975-0876.


The counter and pizza oven at Il Casaro. Photo: ©


A pizza margherita at a test dinner. Photo: ©


The exterior. Photo: ©

Last week I swung by the brand-new ~IL CASARO~ in North Beach, which was running friends and family dinners and was softly open. The project is in the former Steps of Rome on Columbus, a second project for Francesco Covucci (the chef) and Peter Fazio of Vicoletto (which is just a few blocks away on Green). The Calabrese duo are offering a menu of authentic Neapolitan pizzas (yes, from a Stefano Ferrara wood-fired oven) with some classic Italian toppings ($12-$18), and I recognized the pizzaiolo previously at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, Salvatore DiStefano.

The concept behind the menu is doing “cibo da strada,” the late-night street food you find in Italy, like arancini (Il Casaro’s have beef inside), fried cod, and crocchette (potato croquettes), all at a reasonable price point. There will also be pizza dough sandwiches (panuozzo) stuffed with either broccoli rabe, Italian sausage, and scamorza, or one with ground pork, pepe rosso, fennel seed, and french fries (uh-huh). Nope, there isn’t any pasta on the menu (for a change!), showing it’s not just another place geared at capturing tourists—Covucci really wants Il Casaro to appeal to locals. You can look at the opening menu here.

A highlight on the menu are the cheeses available (casaro means “cheesemaker”), which ranges from housemade fior di latte mozzarella to burrata to the rarely seen raspa dura, a cow’s milk cheese (young Lodigiano) that is shaved off the wheel and then served in a cone. Nope, no one is doing that in the city. There will also be some salumi plates too.

The space has a combination of regular tables and high-tops in the back, plus there’s a long L-shaped counter around the pizza oven. It has a simple and casual look, with lots of wood, and one fun flourish is on the wall, where Covucci had an artist paint some Italian sayings.

The wine list features all Italian wines (Campania is well represented, with falanghina, Fiano di Avellino, and Taurasi on the list, and of course I’m happy to see the Calabrese gaglioppo from Statti on there), and naturally there’s some Peroni on tap. Hours are Sun-Thu 12pm-11pm and Fri-Sat 12pm-12am. 348 Columbus Ave. at Grant, 415-677-9455.


Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

A report by Dana Eastland. As we covered last July in tablehopper, NoPa is getting a brewery and restaurant. It’s called ~BARRELHEAD BREWHOUSE~, and it comes from owner-brewer Ivan Hopkinson, who previously was the assistant brewmaster at Park Chalet. The new spot is currently softly open.

The huge space at 1745 Fulton is the former home of Fulton Street Bar (which has been vacant for soooo long), and they’ve spent months working on it. Hopkinson and his team of builders, including Kieran O’Donoghue and Gerard Murphy, have made some majors changes to the space. They took out most of a loft that created a second floor, and now have a mezzanine that looks down into a main dining room with high ceilings and brewing equipment on display.

The mezzanine will be available to rent out for large groups, and there are two communal tables, one upstairs and one down. The space has some nice, personal touches, including a woodstove in the dining room and personal trinkets embedded into the lacquer on the reclaimed wood slabs.

The bar is under the mezzanine, and there are 43 beers on tap. The taps are fitted into a big, honking torpedo for a little rocket man charm. While we’re talking about beer, Hopkinson is still getting his own brewing operation up and running. Eventually, he’ll be able to offer his own brews along with some guest handles. For now, though, they’re all guests. Look out for options from breweries like Ballast Point, Ninkasi, and Goose Island. Once Hopkinson has his own beers going, he wants to offer a broad range of selections. There will be traditional, popular styles, as well as more adventurous ones.

The food menu comes from chef Tim Tattan, who previously worked as the sous chef at Monk’s Kettle. He’s already got a signature dish, the mini Cristo (that’s a deep-fried, miniature Monte Cristo), and his menu offers lots of pub-friendly food, like fish and chips, a burger, and smoked meats. Right now, they’re just serving snacks and dinner, but look out for brunch in the future. Hours are Mon-Fri 11am-2am, Sat-Sun 10am-2am, kitchen open until 1:30am (but they’re still working all that out—might be a good idea to call ahead and make sure they’re open before heading over). 1785 Fulton St. at Masonic, 415-416-6994.


Chef Melissa Perfit. Photo by Molly DeCoudreaux.

Funny how things can sometimes go full circle. Talented chef Melissa Perfit, who has most recently been running the show at ~HARD WATER~, is now back at ~BAR CRUDO~—she was back in the Crudo kitchen as of last Tuesday. I spoke with partner Tim Selvera, who said that since his brother-partner-chef Mike is busy getting their Guerneville project—Seaside Metal—ready to open, they wanted to have a qualified chef to lead at Bar Crudo. Perfit will be overhauling the menu, although classics like the chowder and lobster salad will remain. Will be nice to see you back in the neighborhood, Melissa!

Last week I checked in with partner Lana Porcello of ~OUTERLANDS~ to see how their expansion into the space next door was coming along (they’re about a month out), and she had some much larger news to share: “I also wanted to let you know of a significant change in the restaurant: after a difficult decision-making process, we have decided to part ways with chef Brett [Cooper]. As you can imagine, this was a tough choice, but one that we feel will be the best for both the restaurant and to support the growth of his career moving forward. We are currently restructuring aspects of our service and look forward to sharing our vision for the next phase of the restaurant’s direction and growth.”

Wow, I don’t think I’m the only one who didn’t see that one coming. Stand by for news on who snaps up the talented Cooper—I’ve been a fan since I met him when he was cooking for Stuart Brioza at Rubicon (he has also worked at Coi and Saison). As for Outerlands, I’ll keep you posted as the reopening nears.


View of Wo Hing from the mezzanine. Photo: ©

I heard some rumors that Lissa Doumani and Hiro Sone (Ame, Terra, Bar Terra) were taking over Charles Phan’s closed ~WO HING GENERAL STORE~ space on Valencia, but when I got in touch with Doumani for confirmation, all I got was “Can’t talk swamped by tax work. Rumors are generally rumors or outdated.”

Not that outdated, actually, and I guess someone got her taxes done since the Scoop ran the news that they are in fact taking it over just four days after I got in touch. Phan will still own the building, but Doumani and Sone have bought the liquor license. Look for an opening in July or August; details about the concept and design are slim for now.


Sammy’s ahi tuna poke bowl (with an egg!). Photo courtesy of Sammy’s Aloha.

The to-go window at ~BUTTERFLY~ has morphed from Pan Grill (we previously mentioned it here) into Sammy’s Aloha, under the watchful eye of Sammy Kong Kee, a two-time ahi poke recipe contest winner both here and in Hawaii. The kitchen is still stuffing the same awesome housemade milk buns, but now the menu is doing more of a farm-to-table Hawaiian vibe, with the Porky Boy ($8, kalua-style pork, hoisin barbecue sauce, and kimchi), Ono BBQ Chicken Sandwich ($8, Kewpie mayo, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, fried onions), and a burger ($8, teriyaki glaze, sriracha rémoulade, and caramelized onion jam)—all the meat and poultry is natural. Well, except if you see some Spam on the menu, and you know it’s from Hormel.

There are also some rice bowls (ahi poke and loco moco, oh, you know it), noodle bowls, salads, bao, and more: check out the menu here. Check out the Spammy Fries ($5), with fried sushi rice and salmon roe. Fun fact: the rice is from the famous Ikeda’s market up in Auburn (both Yumegokochi white rice and black Thai sticky rice). Swing by the takeout window on the south side of the restaurant from Tue-Sun (11am-3pm). Pier 33, The Embarcadero at Bay, 415-864-8999.


The Snoop Dogg from Brass Knuckle. Yelp photo by Earl G.

A Twitter tip from Cafe Flore tipped us off to some changes at recently opened ~BRASS KNUCKLE~, and a call to the restaurant revealed some details. It turns out that Brass Knuckle has been bought by Tina Zamacona, and original owner Shellie Kitchen is no longer there (though she does still own a small percentage of the business). Zamacona has made some tweaks to the recipes, brought on a new chef, and added some decorative changes to the space, including a mural on the wall. 749 Larkin St. at O’Farrell, 415-567-2233.

It looks like Shellie Kitchen is the new chef at ~CAFE FLORE~, according to their Facebook page. She also seems to have a new pop-up called Shot Gun that may or may not be popping up at Cafe Flore; unfortunately we weren’t able to get any information from either party, but we’ll let you know when we hear anything! 2298 Market St. at Noe, 415-621-8579.

~THE CORNER STORE~ is now serving brunch six days a week, Tue-Sun (they’re closed Mondays). The new menu includes items from their weekend brunch menu, as well as some of their lunchtime favorites. The biscuit stack, chicken and grits, and burger are just a few of the items to keep your lipid levels elevated. 10am-3pm Tue-Sun.

As previously reported on tablehopper, there have been some changes at the Outer Richmond’s former Fredy’s Ocean Beach Deli. Owner Fredy sold the business to longtime employee David Nottage last year, and Nottage and his wife Joanne have reopened it as ~KAWIKA’S OCEAN BEACH DELI~. The Nottages have kept many of the hallmarks of the deli intact: they’re still making their own sourdough bread, roasting turkey and beef in-house, and many of the beloved daily specials remain. They’ve added a few Greek items to the menu, and you’ll also find beer and wine available for dine-in or takeout. Hours are currently Mon-Fri 8am-5pm, Sat-Sun 8am-5:30pm, though they’ll stay open until 7:30pm in the future. 734 La Playa St. at Cabrillo, 415-221-2031.

Chowhound has news that there is a new Xi’an-style restaurant in the Outer Sunset, called ~TERRA COTTA WARRIOR~. The restaurant specializes in the food of Shaanxi province, with hand-pulled noodles, a variety of cold dishes, and lamb roujiamo (kind of like an awesome burger). For an in-depth look, check out Gary Soup’s review at Full Noodle Frontity, and check his Flickr page for menus. 2555 Judah St. at 31st Ave., 415-681-3288.

Driving around in SoMa, I noticed a huge banner announcing the arrival of ~CHANTAL GUILLON~ at 1309 Howard St. This popular maker of macarons is moving their kitchen in SoMa to this bigger location—seems there has been a high demand at their Hayes Street and Palo Alto stores. Guillon is still in the process of deciding if she will have a storefront at this location as well, in addition to the new kitchen, so stand by for an update from us if that’s going to happen. 1309 Howard St. at 9th St.

There’s a new pie to check out at Tony Gemignani’s restaurants, including ~CAPO’S~, ~TONY’S PIZZA NAPOLETANA~, and ~TONY’S OF NORTH BEACH~. They’ve been working on it for six months, it’s called the sausage and stout pizza, and the dough is made with Guinness (who we are currently loving for dropping their sponsorship of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade because of the parade’s rule barring LGBTQ groups from participating). Anyway, the pizza also has housemade sausage, caramelized onions, fontina, green onion, and a Guinness reduction. Yep, that’s a pie to hork. There are only 23 made each day, so claim yours early.


The counter at Andytown. Photo courtesy Andytown.

As previously reported in tablehopper, husband-and-wife team Michael McCrory and Lauren Crabbe are bringing ~ANDYTOWN~, a new coffee roaster and café, to the Outer Sunset. We’ve been tracking them for some time, and the pair are getting ready for their grand opening this Saturday March 22nd (hurrah!), after some pretty major construction delays. McCrory is roasting their coffee on a small roaster, including an espresso blend named after the neighborhood in Belfast his father is from.

On the food side of things, many of McCrory’s family recipes will be used to make pastries and bread in-house. There’s soda bread cooked in cast iron, served with preserves, as well as bread and cookies. Hours are Tue-Thu 7am-12pm, Fri 7am-3pm, Sat 8am-3pm, Sun 8am-12pm. Eventually, they plan to open daily 7am-7pm. 3655 Lawton St. at 43rd Ave., 415-753-9775.


The Tavern at Lark Creek. Photo from Facebook.

Eater reports (via Bernalwood) that ~903 CORTLAND~ by Matsumi Takhara (of Sandbox Bakery) has closed in order to focus more on the catering side of the business. It sounds like the evening pop-ups (Kinfolk, Nute’s Noodle Night) will continue for now, and 903’s sandwiches and more will be on the to-go menu at Sandbox Bakery. 903 Cortland Ave. at Gates.

This one’s a bummer. According to a post on their Facebook page, the ~HAPA SF~ truck has closed up shop. Chef-owner William Pilz says he has started working at The Moss Room at the Academy of Sciences and is serving Hapa’s dishes on Thursday nights. He is hoping that more Filipino cuisine will make an appearance on the menu there moving forward too. Best of luck, William, and we can’t wait to keep eating your food wherever you go!

~THE TAVERN AT LARK CREEK~ suffered a fire in the kitchen on Saturday morning. No one was hurt, thank goodness, though the restaurant will be closed for an unspecified amount of time while repairs are made. Hopefully they’ll be back up and running soon! 234 Magnolia Ave at William, Larkspur. 415-924-7766.


Photo medley from a previous Bay Cuisine & Cocktails pop-up (via Facebook).

Chef Jonnatan Leiva, who is back from his five-year tour of cooking in New York and gearing up to open ~BAY CUISINE & COCKTAILS~ here in SF (it’s going to be in SoMa), is hosting a second pop-up on Monday March 24th at ~THE CORNER STORE~. Leiva has most recently been cooking at Penrose in Oakland, and has left the kitchen there to focus on his own project (he is partnering with Khalid Lahlou and Chris Wright on Bay). Bay just launched their Kickstarter campaign; check it out and you can learn more about the restaurant concept.

So, the pop-up. Guests will be seated simultaneously, either at 6pm or 8:30pm. You can read the four-course menu here, hearalding the coming of spring. Each of the four courses will be paired with a handcrafted cocktail (created by Chris Wright and Tomofei Osipenko) or a glass of wine. $75, all inclusive. Get your tickets here.

It looks like Michael Black, of the recently shuttered Sebo, is going to be popping up at ~LOCAL’S CORNER~ on Sunday nights for a while. He’ll be preparing super-fresh, super-local plates, not unlike his chirazushi lunch plates currently available at Local Mission Market. The rice, fish, vinegar, and miso are all from California. He’ll also include some of Sebo’s non-fish specialties on the menu, like pork leg with kimchi. Look for salads with Japanese produce from Mariquita Farm too. Reservations can be made here. (H/t Scoop).


The end of an era: the Tasting Tent at SF Chefs, now Eat Drink SF. Photo © Gamma Nine Photography.

San Francisco’s celebration of all things comestible, SF Chefs, has changed its name to Eat Drink SF, and moved from its Union Square location to Fort Mason. The move comes about because the festival has become so well attended that it had simply outgrown the smaller Union Square location. Look out for more chefs participating, as well as more culinary tours and dinners happening all around the city.

The festival will continue to be focused around the tasting tent, though now it will be called the Tasting Pavilion. You’ll still find chefs serving bites, and great wines and spirits on offer, and of course lots of special dinners and demonstrations. Tickets to the event, which is happening this year from July 27th-August 3rd, will go on sale May 15th. Don’t miss out! Fort Mason Center, 2 Marina Blvd. at Laguna.


The stylish interior of Molina. Photo: Gamma Nine Photography.

There’s a stylish new spot in downtown Mill Valley ~MOLINA~ from chef-owner Todd Shoberg, who has worked in kitchens for the past 20 years at places like Town Hall Restaurant and Liberty Café (alongside Julia McClasky); he also helped Ed Carew open the Cottage Eatery. Most recently he was the executive chef at Piatti Mill Valley and culinary director for the Moana Restaurant Group.

This project is an intimate one, and very chef-driven: the space was originally a house and is centered around a historic Alan Scott) oven (the name, Molina, is a reference to someone who manages a mill). The menu very much reflects our local aesthetic: casual, farm-driven, wood-fired, and California coastal. The daily menu will highlight what’s freshest; take a look here.

The wine list was assembled by Jason Ruppert (sommelier and estate educator for Littorai Wines), highlighting local, small-production, and family-owned wineries.

The 55-seat space was designed by Claro, and it’s meant to have a welcoming, homey feel—there are some Nordic design elements (Shoberg is Norwegian and Finnish) mixing with a Northern California vibe. Open nightly for dinner 5pm-10pm. 17 Madrona St., Mill Valley, 415-383-4200.


A pizza fresh from the new oven at Cugini Manzone. Photo from Facebook.

We first mentioned this project back in November, and now it’s open, according to Diablo Dish. ~CUGINI MANZONE~ is from owner Giuseppe Manzone, with his brother Michele and sister-in-law Leslie. They’ve installed a wood-burning oven from Italy, and will be using it to prepare wood-fired pizzas. The menu also offers salads, antipasti, and larger entrée dishes, as well. They are open for lunch, dinner, and in between for spuntino, when smaller snacks will be available. Hours will be Mon-Sat 11am-10pm and Sun 11am-9pm; right now, they’re opening at 5pm Mon-Sat and 4pm Sun. 2930 College Ave. at Russell, Berkeley. 510-649-8600.