The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
May 27, 2015

You know the Negroni recipe, right? Photo courtesy of Campari America.


The Doughgroni at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. Photo: Wes Rowe.


Humphry Slocombe’s Negroni ice cream and Negroni pops. Photo: Wes Rowe.

Hey, whatcha doing next Thursday evening (June 4th)? Hopefully your calendar is wide open, because I’m hosting another tablehopper cocktail crawl in North Beach, and this time it’s in celebration of Negroni Week, which runs from June 1st-7th. I’ll be taking you to three North Beach establishments that have a deeper history than you may realize, and we’ll be drinking variations of the Negroni at each location (did you know the original cocktail dates back to 1919?).

First stop is the flagship ~GOORIN BROS. NORTH BEACH~ shop, where you’ll be served a Negroni Sbagliato (Campari, sweet vermouth, sparkling wine) crafted by Rye on the Road while you pick out a spiffy lid for 15 percent off (there will also be a donation to the SF-Marin Food Bank for each hat sold!). Bonus: did you know this Goorin shop is located above a former speakeasy? You’ll have a chance to check it out on this tour.

Second stop is ~THE SQUARE~, home of the former Washington Square Bar & Grill, famously the watering hole of Herb Caen and his writer cronies. We’ll raise our glasses of classic Negronis (Campari, gin, sweet vermouth), and it will also be time for some ballast, with family-style tater tots (hand-rolled!) and other bar snacks, plus your choice of a larger dish, like their cheeseburger, banh mi pork belly sliders, a flatbread, and more (all come with fries or salad).

The third and final stop is at 9pm at the new ~DEVIL’S ACRE~, which was once a pharmacy (and a hotel!), and will be doling out some special cocktail medicine for you: the Old Pal (Campari, rye, dry vermouth).

So, you ready for this? The entire night is only $25! Each stop includes one cocktail (additional cocktails are your responsibility) and the set menu at The Square is also covered (plus the tax and tip). Obviously these tickets are gonna fly, so hop to it! The first stop at Goorin Bros. North Beach (1612 Stockton St. at Union) is 6:30pm-7:30pm, and then we’ll be off to The Square, so don’t be too late. And please, don’t drive. See you!

There are many fantastic events and specials going on next week for Negroni Week—here are more things to look for, my fellow Negroni fans! The first thing to know is that every bar participating in Negroni Week (2,600 around the world and counting!) will each be making a donation to a charity of their choice (most places are donating $1 per Negroni sold, some more!). Campari has also committed to donating $10,000 to the charity chosen by the bar/restaurant that raises the most money during Negroni Week.

Can you believe the evil geniuses at ~MR. HOLMES BAKEHOUSE~ have created something in honor of the week? Oh yeah! Meet the DOUGHGRONI, a light brioche doughnut, dusted with sugar and filled with a dual core of Campari jelly alongside a Negroni and blood orange custard, and for a final flourish, it’s served with a pipette of Negroni syrup. A donation will be made to Raphael House.

More treats: the other evil geniuses, at ~HUMPHRY SLOCOMBE~, are hosting a Negroni Week Ice Cream Social on Thursday June 4th, from 1pm-3pm. You can come by for their new Negroni Ice Cream, and they’ll be bringing back their boozy summer popsicle treat, the Negroni Pop. Here’s the amazing part: from 1pm-3pm, they will be giving away both offerings, and for each Negroni Ice Cream cone and Negroni Pop handed out during the charitable celebration, they will be donating $4 to Project Open Hand. Wow. Go boys! Can’t make it to the social? Both treats will also be available at their Ferry Building location (for $4 each) throughout Negroni Week. 

While you’re at ~ABV~, not only can you enjoy a Negroni Rosa (Campari, Brooklyn Gin, Imbue Petal & Thorn Vermouth, Dolin Blanc Vermouth), benefitting the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, but there’s also Negroni pie, a mini custard pie made with Campari, Cinzano 1757, and a juniper syrup, and topped with sweet vermouth whipped cream and orange zest.

There are Negroni marshmallows at ~CRAFTSMAN AND WOLVES~, a fantastic White Negroni cocktail (Campari caviar, London dry gin, gentian aperitif, blanc vermouth, lemon bitters) at ~BENJAMIN COOPER~, and you know ~POGGIO~’s Tony Diiori (aka Tony Negroni!) will be serving his Tony Negroni (Campari, Bombay Sapphire gin, and Vya red vermouth), plus a Negrosky with vodka, the Dirty Negroni with dry vermouth, or the Negroni Sbagliato with sparkling wine ($1 from every Negroni sale will go to Willow Creek Academy).

As you can see, there are many, many options. Take a look at the list of participating bars here! Follow Negroni Week happenings on Imbibe’s Instagram and Twitter (@imbibe) feeds, and by following and using the #NegroniWeek hashtag!


The dining room and bar at Bel. Photo courtesy Bel.


The bar. Photo courtesy Bel.


Counter seating and artwork. Photo courtesy Bel.


The taps and beer display, and, yes, Manneken Pis. Photo courtesy Bel.

A report by associate editor Dana Eastland. A tipster wrote in to let us know that ~BEL~, the Belgian-inspired restaurant we reported on back in 2013, opened on Sunday May 24th. The project comes from partners Jen Garris and Richard Rosen from nearby Pi Bar. Rosen explains that the restaurant takes its inspiration from the sidewalk cafés in Brussels and Bruges.

There’s lots of Belgian beer, of course, and the food is all about modern, local takes on Belgian café staples. There are dishes like shrimp croquettes with leek and potato or foie gras terrine to start, along with heartier choices like a brisket braised in dark Flemish ale or salt cod gratin. And don’t worry, moules frites and steak frites are available. Check out the whole menu here.

As for beer, the list is extensive and focused on Belgian and Belgian-style beers. The menu is broken into several different categories, including fruit-based beers; double, strong, and quad styles; and sour beer. The team is knowledgeable about the different styles and happy to help diners pair their beer with the food. There is also a small wine list for those who prefer wine.

The space is rather quaint and heavily inspired by the European street cafés that inform the rest of the restaurant. One of the reasons for the long delay in Bel’s opening was a major overhaul of the space by the building’s landlord, including the addition of I-beams, many of which remain exposed. The ceiling is pressed tin, and old-world-style street lamps have been brought inside to serve as light fixtures and add the the feeling of dining outside. Paintings from Alexa Wayne of Paintings by Axella of various scenes from Belgian cities adorn the walls, and the warm wooden bar has a pressed-tin tap system behind it. Oh, and we’d be remiss if we failed to mention they’ve got their very own Manneken Pis statue. Hours are Mon-Thu 4pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 4pm-12am. 3215 Mission St. at Fair, 415-206-1000.


The dining room at All Season. Yelp photo by James F.

A tablehopper tipster alerted us to the news that the much-loved Harbor Village restaurant—the popular and well-appointed dim sum restaurant in Embarcadero Four that sadly closed 10 years ago (in 2005)—is rising from the deep freeze and reopening in the All Season Restaurant space in the Diamond Heights Shopping Center (previously Yet Wah).

We reached out to owner Lawrence Lui for confirmation, and in the meantime, a Chowhound mentions seeing a change of ownership sign, so this little rumor is looking good. We’ll let you know when we hear back. The All Season second story has a bit of a view, so it will be a nice continuation from the Harbor Village Embarcadero location, although actually, nothing can beat their original bay view. 5238 Diamond Heights Blvd. at Gold Mine.


Chef Emmanuel Eng. Photo: Christian Grau.

Some exciting news over at ~BIX~: Emmanuel Eng is the new chef de cuisine (he was previously at Bartlett Hall). Eng actually started at Bix midway through February and has reportedly won over the crew with his work ethic and skills. Executive chef-partner Bruce Hill adds that he “also brings a great ‘born and raised in SF’ vision to the kitchen and management team.”

Some new dishes you’ll find on the menu include a foie gras torchon with strawberry-rhubarb preserves and a spiced balsamic, a fun bar snack of General Tso’s chicken (admittedly one of Bruce Hill’s guilty pleasures, and I know he is not alone in this), and Alaskan halibut with a fava ravioli and artichokes barigoule. Further seasonal items on the horizon include a salad featuring the Rose Diamond nectarines from Tory Farms in a salad with burrata cheese, and Eng is turning some beautiful Yerena Farms blackberries into a sorbet, scented with chamomile tea.

Another thing to note: starting this Sunday May 31st, and every Sunday moving forward, Bix is going to reintroduce the Bix Fixe, a $35 three-course prix-fixe menu. It will feature a choice of sweet corn soup or Caesar salad, and for your second course, sand dabs with fregola or steak paillard, and for dessert, you can take your pick of any dessert on the dessert menu. Now that’s one heck of a Sunday supper.


Dottie’s back dining room. Photo courtesy Dottie’s.

We had heard rumors that ~DOTTIE’S TRUE BLUE CAFE~ might be for sale, and now Scoop has confirmed it. Owner Kurt Abney says that after 22 years in business, he is, quite simply, tired. According to the ad, the restaurant does approximately 350 covers a day, and Abney is the sole owner. The restaurant moved in 2012 to a new location on 6th Street, from a smaller space in the Tenderloin, and the lease is listed at $12,360 with 16 years left on it. Right now, the restaurant is listed as an asset sale, but Abney says he is open to selling the name and menu to an interested buyer for the right price. Once the sale goes through, Abney says he may reappear in a smaller capacity elsewhere, or perhaps he’ll enjoy some (well-deserved) time off. 28 6th St. at Stevenson, 415-885-2767.


Liang pi noodles at Xian Gourmet/San Dong Best. Yelp photo by Susy C.

There are changes afoot at EPIC Roasthouse—as of today, Wednesday May 27th, the restaurant will be known as ~EPIC STEAK~, and chef Parke Ulrich will create a new menu built around an open-fire grill. New dishes include a A5 Miyazaki Wagyu steak, or the “EPIC meal for two,” which is pretty much guaranteed to give you meat sweats: it includes a 32-ounce tomahawk rib steak and a two-pound lobster. In addition to the menu changes, sommelier Petra Polakovicova, who originally developed the restaurant’s wine list, has returned to create an all-new list to pair with the new menu. Later this summer, look for a new outdoor patio for enjoying bay views. 369 The Embarcadero at Folsom, 415-369-9955.

Local mini chain ~TOAST~ is now open in West Portal in the former Village Grill, according to Yelp reports. In addition to a dining room serving breakfast and lunch, there is also a coffee and pastry counter in front for a quick bite. 160 West Portal Ave. at Vicente, no phone yet.

A couple of weeks ago I swung by ~XIAN GOURMET~ on Geary for dinner, and there was a sign on the door that they were closed for a break. Wah wah. And now it’s revealed, thanks to to ever-observant Chowhounds, that it has a new name, ~SAN DONG BEST~. The shift appears to be a bit of a refocus or rebranding, since the spot was known as San Dong House before it became Xian Gourmet. Anyway, it appears they are still offering hand-pulled noodles, housemade dumplings, and there is no indication that ownership has changed. 3741 Geary Blvd. at Arguello, 415-668-5888.

Ruben Donze is opening a second location of his popular Dogpatch shop, ~LA FROMAGERIE~, in the Financial District, Hoodline reports. The new location will offer a tight selection of salads and cheesy sandwiches on Firebrand bread, including an aged Gruyère with ham and cornichons. Meats and cheeses will also be available for retail purchase, and a beer and wine license is in the works as well. The plan is to open in July. 101 Montgomery St. at Sutter.


Blue Bottle Market Square. Photo by Clay McLachlan.


Opening day at Blue Bottle Market Square! Photo by Clay McLachlan via Instagram.


Lines already at Blue Bottle Market Square. Photo by Clay McLachlan.


The interior seating area at Chai Bar. Photo courtesy Chai Bar.

The wave of coffee just will not quit in this town: a whole slew of new places to get a cup of brew are opening soon. So get ready for the jitters, friends!

According to a tweet, the new ~BLUE BOTTLE~ location in Market Square in the Twitter building is open today, Wednesday May 27th. The new kiosk will offer single origin coffee, pour-over, cold brew on tap, and plenty of espresso. In addition to their usual pastry offerings, there will also be seasonal fruit buckles, and some new savory options. Open daily 7am-7pm. 1355 Market St. at 10th St., 510-653-3394.

Speaking of Blue Bottle, the large new downtown location in the 115 Sansome building is getting ready to open on Wednesday June 17th. To recap, this location will offer some light food options in addition to coffee and pastries, like waffles, sandwiches, and oatmeal. We’ll keep you posted. 115 Sansome St. at Bush, 510-653-3394.

Nothing takes the edge off a long day of downtown shopping like coffee with a little kick, and now you can get it at ~IRON HORSE COFFEE BAR~, located inside Romper Room. Sprudge mentioned the Maiden Lane caffeination station back in March, noting that they are serving Ritual Coffee and offer some brightly colored outdoor seating. Now, according to UrbanDaddy, they are also serving spiked coffee, including choices like the Cowboy (bourbon plus coffee) and the Horseshoe (espresso, Baileys, half-and-half, whiskey). Giddy up. 25 Maiden Ln. at Kearny, 415-623-9629.

According to reports on Yelp, there’s a new coffee spot in the Sunset called ~BLANC CAFE~. It’s moved into the former Mellow Mellow space, and initial reports cite friendly service, updated decor, and an extensive tea selection in addition to coffee and espresso beverages. 549 Irving St. at 7th Ave., 415-592-8174.

David Rio, a chai company started in Bernal Heights back in 1996, has now opened a flagship retail store and café in Mid-Market, called ~CHAI BAR~. This is the first storefront for the company, which until now has only been available at local spots like The Grove or Delessio Market. The space is designed as a retail shop, where you can buy their chai blends to take home, and as a chai bar specializing in different chai lattes. Many blends will be available, including their signature Tiger Spice blend, as well as a Maple Moose blend sweetened with maple syrup and a less sweet, spicy version called Cub Chai. The animal names aren’t just about being cute: they make significant donations to animal protection groups both local and international.

There is also an espresso bar serving beans from Emeryville roaster McLaughlin Coffee, and of course lots of options to mix coffee and various chai blends. Fans of nut milks will be happy to hear that many different choices are available, including almond and hazelnut, alongside cow’s milk from Straus Family Creamery. Right now, they are still ramping up operations at the chai bar; look for a chai lab for testing and sampling new flavors in the coming months. They also plan to add boba chai, hot chocolate add-ons, and many other customizable options soon. Current hours are Mon-Fri 7am-8pm, with weekend hours coming by July. 1019 Market St. at 6th St., 415-865-0677.


The breakfast spread at Sequoia Diner. Photo from Facebook.


The iconic Oscar’s building. Yelp photo by Rick H.

Laurel District café ~SEQUOIA DINER~ hosted a soft opening this weekend and will be softly open again this Thursday and Friday; it officially opens for business on Saturday May 30th. The project, which we reported on in April, comes from partners Andrew Vennari and Sequoia Broderson, who have worked in East Bay restaurants like Duende and Camino. The café is darling, with cute vintage details and a clean, white, green, and gray palate. The café is open for breakfast and lunch Wednesday through Sunday, and most of the menu items are made in-house, including the breads, jams, sausages, and bacon. Follow along on their Facebook page for further updates. Hours are 8am-2pm Wed-Sun. 3719 MacArthur Blvd. at Loma Vista, Oakland, 510-482-3719.

~SALSIPUEDES~, the upcoming project from Jay Porter (of Oakland’s Half Orange), Luis Abundis (of Nieves Cinco de Mayo), and Bradford Taylor (of Ordinaire Wine Shop) that we mentioned a year ago, is getting ready to open in North Oakland in June. The team has announced their new executive chef, Marcus Krauss, who previously worked at the Restaurant at Meadowood. Salsipuedes will be serving “rustic California” food in the communal, festive environment of a dinner party or barbecue. Everything will be designed to be enjoyed family style, and the food will be inspired by the flavors of Baja California and Asia, as well as California’s own ingredients. The wine and beer list, from Porter, will consist entirely of West Coast producers. 4201 Market St. at 42nd St., Oakland.

We’ve been tracking this one for a while, and now an announcement on Facebook confirms that the Temescal location of ~ROSAMUNDE SAUSAGE GRILL~ is now open. The menu offers the same selection of beer and sausage as the previous locations, and they are celebrating the opening with a party on Thursday June 11th from 6pm to 10pm. They’ll be grilling sausages, offering beer specials, and generally having a grand old time. The restaurant’s hours are Sun-Tue 11am-10pm and Wed-Sat 11am-11pm. 4659 Telegraph Ave. at 47th St., 510-338-3536.

Washington D.C.-based chain ~SWEETGREEN~ is opening a location in Berkeley, according to Eater. They’ve already opened in Los Angeles, serving salads, healthy bowls, and more, using seasonal and local ingredients; here’s the LA menu. The Berkeley location will be housed in the iconic Oscar’s Burgers building, and they plan to preserve the architectural charm of the space, if not the style of food. Construction begins in the next month, and they are planning a fall opening. 1890 Shattuck Ave. at Hearst.

May 19, 2015

The coffee counter and seating at Vive La Tarte, with the bakery in the background. Photo courtesy Vive La Tarte.


One of their seasonal tarts. Photo: ©


Vive La Tarte’s incredibly delicious “California” cheesecake. Photo: ©


The bleacher-style seating to the left, and a low island counter to the right. Photo courtesy Vive La Tarte.


The snazzy 1971 Rancilio Z8 elematic lever espresso machine. Photo: ©

SF’s baked goods scene continues to rock. Opening tomorrow in SoMa is the brick-and-mortar location of ~VIVE LA TARTE~, a bakery and cafe from Belgian couple Arnaud Goethals and Julie Vandermeersch, who moved to SF in October 2011 and started baking here in early 2012. The space was originally a printing house in the 1920s, and the duo wanted to maintain the open-air look of the space (you’ll even see some old ink stains on the concrete floors); you can read the earlier announcement from Eater.

Their focus is on small-batch baked goods, which will come out fresh throughout the day. In the morning, you will find croissants, their twist on a cinnamon roll, and koek, the Flemish name for a rectangular pastry made with laminated dough and vanilla raisins (it’s similar to the couque suisse and is also known as “Belgian buns”). To round out their line of viennoiserie, you’ll also find Danishes made with seasonal fruit (expect rhubarb and nectarines right now). They are excited to show the Belgian side of baked goods, using Belgian technique, while giving their own California spin to some items, which you will note in their sweet tarts made with fresh fruits and more.

At their preview party last week, I got to try one of their Berliners, a lighter kind of filled doughnut, with fennel-caramel custard inside, and they also had slices of their bonkers good cheesecake, which had such a fluffy-creamy texture (with a hint of lemon), with a crisp ginger cinnamon crust made from speculoos, a spiced biscuit like the famous Biscoff or Dutch windmill cookies. Don’t miss this.

There will also be some savory items, like pizza al taglio (which is what you see in Roma—pizza cut and sold by weight). The crust is bready and soft, like focaccia, and made with whole wheat. It’s a bit Italian and a bit Californian, with toppings like braised kale, lemon, ricotta, and Grana Padano, and another with guanciale, burnt green garlic, and pecorino. There will also be a vegan option. One item that will be more on the classic side is their quiche, with flavors like spinach and chèvre, but of course they make it with their own modern method.

You don’t want to miss a look at their 1971 bright orange Rancilio Z8 elematic lever machine, designed by Marco Zanuso, which is where you can get shots of Sightglass espresso, and drip will be available too (Eater mentions “they’ll be the first to serve the roastery’s new espresso blend Crown Point”).

The space has a couple of seating areas, including a wood bleacher-like seating arrangement with multiple levels (for ringside seats) and an island with stools and a low counter. The catering side of their business will continue. Hours to start are Wed-Sun from 8am-4pm. 1164 Howard St. at 7th St., 415-891-9743.


The interior of Fish & Farm. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography courtesy Urban Daddy.

Back in March, we shared that ~FISH & FARM~ was moving from its location on Taylor Street into the former Elephant & Castle in the Financial District. The new location is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, and they will continue to source most of their fish, meat, and produce from within a 100-mile radius, with a focus on sustainable and organic ingredients. George Morrone is the chef, which is why you’ll see his trademark tuna tartare on the menu (here’s lunch and dinner). The New American menu includes a chilled Hass avocado soup, BLT skewer, albacore sandwich, and half-pound burger for lunch, while dinner includes salt-baked Mt. Lassen trout and stuffed prawns.

The two-level space has tufted booths, a masculine look, and a full bar, sure to be popular with the FiDi crowd (plus happy hour and live entertainment). 424 Clay St. at Battery, 415-474-3474.

About a month ago, we mentioned the upcoming opening of ~ACQUOLINA~ in the former Café Divine space in North Beach, right on Washington Square. According to some fresh shill posts on Yelp (I always love the “I just joined Yelp to review this restaurant because my experience here was so good!” comments), it’s now open. To recap: a trio of Italians are making Roman-style pizzas, pastas, and meaty dishes for dinner, like peposo al chianti (beef stew) and rack of lamb. Open for lunch and dinner daily, with breakfast also in the works. 1600 Stockton St. at Union, 415-781-0331.


The famed Chubby Noodle fried chicken. Photo: ©

Earlier this year, we shared the news that Pete Mrabe (of Don Pisto’s, Chubby Noodle, and more) was going to be moving the ~CHUBBY NOODLE NORTH BEACH~ pop-up out of Amante and into the former Pisto’s Tacos space (at 1310 Grant). That project is moving along, and Bon Vivants Design+Build is currently updating the space (they also designed Chubby Noodle Marina). Timing is currently set for an opening in mid-June.

Mrabe has brought on Alex Ong as a consultant for the project (they used to work together at Betelnut) to help develop the menu and hire the team; Ong will move on to other consulting projects in a few months once the project is steady. The menu will continue to feature some Chubby Noodle favorites—like the fried chicken, ramen, spicy garlic noodles, and Korean pork tacos—but will be taking more of an izakaya approach to the menu. Ong says it’s a style of food that’s missing in the neighborhood and something they crave—so they’ll basically be making the kind of food they like to eat. Don’t expect traditional Japanese izakaya dishes, however—the menu will be more playful and creative, with an emphasis on skewers from the grill (ranging from seafood to meats), plus some raw bar selections, salads, and noodles.

We’ll keep you posted on the opening next month. As for Amante, it’s going to have a limited menu for now and Mrabe is going to be launching a new food concept in the space, stand by for more on that. 1310 Grant Ave. at Vallejo.


The hip grandma pie from Tony’s Slice House. Photo: ©


The Japanese breakfast plate from ICHI Sushi. Photo from ICHI.

The new location of ~TONY’S SLICE HOUSE~ that opened last month is now serving bottomless weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 2pm. The spread is a little out of control, with three different breakfast pizza selections, plus dishes like soft scrambled eggs, housemade Italian sausage, blueberry coffee cake, housemade biscuits and gravy, spaghetti, salads, and much, much more.

The whole thing is $20 per person, and you can add bottomless mimosas for $10 or sangria for $9. Check out the whole menu here, and come hungry. Note that hours are subject to change on Giants game days. 680 2nd St. at Townsend, 415-872-9680.

~ICHI SUSHI~ is now open for brunch on Sundays from 10am to 3pm, with Japanese-style dishes that will change seasonally. The current menu includes ramen, the Japanese breakfast (grilled mackerel, poached egg, rice, pickles, and miso soup), and tamago French toast with miso strawberries. They are also mixing up some brunch cocktails like the Dashi Bloody Mary with shochu, and a strawberry mimosa—plus of course there is coffee. And you know the beats will be on lock.


Bluefin tuna at Jiro SF. Photo: ©

After a wonderful experience at Jiro SF, the temporary guest chef/collaboration between chef Jiro Lin and Joshua Skenes at ~SAISON~’s chef counter, it’s great to hear that the pair’s collaboration has been extended. Initially, the plan was that the sushi experience would end May 30th, but now Lin and Skenes have decided to keep their partnership going.

Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, the pair will be serving together at the eight-seat chef’s counter, with each chef contributing various courses (for example, Skenes could include Saison reserve caviar and grilled seaweed bread, while Jiro would serve nigiri like golden eye snapper and live spot prawns).

The omakase-style tasting menu is rather free-form: it starts at $225 per person, and diners are welcome to eat as much, or as little, as they like. Wine pairings from Mark Bright are available starting at $100 per person. Reservations can be made by calling 415-716-6008.


The exterior of Manresa (the restaurant awaits a very special guest chef on July 9th). Photo by Nick Vasilopoulos.

On Thursday July 9th, 37 of the world’s most famous chefs will be participating in The Grand Gelinaz! Shuffle. What is that, you ask? Well, it’s a global dinner party taking place at restaurants throughout the world. Each of the 37 participating chefs will be assigned a secret location and will prepare dinner at another chef’s restaurant, but no one will know until the night of the dinner who is where. In fact, the mystery will be slowly revealed, as the eight-course dinner unfolds.

Local participating restaurants are ~COI~, ~ATELIER CRENN~, and ~MANRESA~. Daniel Patterson, Dominique Crenn, and David Kinch will be somewhere else, and one of the other chefs will take over their restaurants for the evening. So who might end up locally? Well, participating chefs include Sean Brock, René Redzepi, Massimo Bottura, and Inaki Aizpitarte, so it’s a pretty safe gamble that you’ll have an amazing meal. Tickets are selling fast, but there are still a few available. Prices vary (and are listed in euros), but range from approximately $278 to $317.


Merigan is one of the new food vendors who will be at Outside Lands this year (with their eggplant Parm!). Photo by Dana Eastland. ©


Stevie Wonder onstage at last year’s Outside Lands. Photo: ©

Outside Lands has released the list of beer, wine, and food vendors for the festival from August 7th through 9th, and once again the list is as exciting (if not more so) than the musical lineup. (Oh, San Francisco. Never change.) Then again, Sir Elton John, Tame Impala, and Odesza will all be great, along with Caribou, The Black Keys, Hot Chip, Classixx, and almost everyone is gonna be fired up for D’Angelo. The festival itself is sold out (but keep your eyes on the night shows around town), and if you are going, you’ll want to plan your gastronomic experience ahead of time.

First, the food lineup is insane. Festival newcomers Merigan Sub Shop and Delfina join restaurant favorites like 4505 Meats, Azalina’s, Rich Table (gotta get those dried porcini doughnuts!), Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers, and AQ (serving Sweet, Spicy and Shroomy Waffles—we promise, they won’t make things trippy), plus trucks like Del Popolo and Bacon Bacon. Sightglass will be on hand with coffee to keep you going all weekend long, and there are plenty of sweets in the Choco Lands area, where you’ll find cookies, cupcakes, and all sorts of confections for legal sugar highs.

There are more than 30 breweries participating in Beer Lands this year, including the likes of Local Brewing Co., Half Moon Bay Brewing Co., and Magnolia. Check out all the options here. There is also plenty of wine, of course, with more than 35 wineries pouring in the Wine Lands tent. Look for pours from Idlewild/Ryme/Jolie-Laide, Tin Barn, Turley, Wind Gap, Jamieson Ranch Winery, Robert Sinskey, and Hobo Wine Co. Oh, and of course be sure to check out Cheese Lands, where you’ll fine cheese and charcuterie from Long Meadow Ranch in Napa. Have fun out there!


Breakfast sandwiches at Super Duper. Photo by Aubrie Pick via Super Duper.

Burger mini-empire ~SUPER DUPER BURGERS~ is opening a new location in the Financial District on Wednesday May 27th, offering their usual (and tasty) burgers, sandwiches, fries, and milk shakes, plus breakfast. They’ll be serving a breakfast sandwich ($4) with scrambled eggs, cheddar, and a choice of sausage or bacon, as well as housemade doughnuts (one for $0.75, three for $2, a dozen for $8). The mini breakfast combo ($5) includes a sandwich, one mini doughnut, and a small Four Barrel coffee, while the super combo ($7) is three doughnuts and a large coffee. Hours are Mon-Fri 6am-10pm, Sat 11am-8pm. Breakfast is served Mon-Fri 6am-10:30am. 346 Kearny St. at Pine, 415-974-1200.


The sign at Annabelle’s. Yelp photo by Kevin Y.

A superstar tablehopper reader sent in a tip that ~ANNABELLE’S~ is closing, and a post on Facebook confirms that the restaurant and bar closed on Saturday May 16th after 30 years in SoMa. Unfortunately, we were unable to get any solid news on what is happening there moving forward, but a note from assistant general manager Guia Nocon says that they are “planning on a July reopen with a totally new design and concept.” 68 4th St. at Mission.

The newly opened ~AL’S PLACE~ is taking some days off for some quick upgrades in the coming weeks (so book your reservation now if you have been wanting to come by). From May 29th through June 7th, they’ll be working on seismic upgrades, some plumbing and electrical work that didn’t happen before they opened, and turning their basement space into a prep kitchen. They’ll be open again as usual on June 10th. 1499 Valencia St. at 25th St., 415-416-6136.


Selections from the new E&Go lunch menu. Photo: Lib Curlee, for E&O Kitchen and Bar.

There are two wonderful words people love to hear in succession: free food. (Ditto “tax return” and “open bar.”) In honor of ~E&O KITCHEN AND BAR~’s new to-go lunches (called E&Go), they’re giving away 100 chicken banh mi (for free!) this Wednesday, starting at 11:30am. And here’s the bonus round: if you tag your pic #EandGo, one lucky person is going to win a free E&Go lunch every week for the rest of the year. Sweet!

As for the new to-go program, chef Sharon Nahm’s menu includes five different mains, all $12, like the aforementioned chicken banh mi, as well as yam noodles with grilled market vegetables, and Chinese chicken salad. You can add prawns for $6, or their amazing deviled eggs or two cookies for $3. Available Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm. Food is ready within five minutes, because we know you’re so busy. 314 Sutter St. at Grant, 415-693-0303.


Dishes and drinks from 2014’s Eat (RED). Photo courtesy RED.

Local drag queen Juanita More! is famous not only for her fabulous parties and performances, but also for her cooking skills (and philanthropy!). On Thursday May 28th, she’s hosting a dinner to launch Pride Month with Kitchit to raise money for YES, the Youth Empowerment Summit, an annual conference for LGBTQ and ally youth activists who are dedicated to racial, economic, and educational justice for trans and queer youth. The four-course dinner runs from 7pm to 10pm and includes slow-roasted pork with salsa verde and ricotta toast, as well as a cream of squash blossom soup. Juanita promises lots of surprises and “wild wining” too, so don’t miss a chance to attend. Tickets are $100 per person. And psssst, use code juanitamore for a whopping $45 off your ticket! 3359 Cesar Chavez St. at Mission.

From June 1st through 30th, dine out to raise money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS with Eat (RED) Drink (RED). Many local restaurants will be participating by creating special dishes, cocktails, and even tasting menus to raise money for the (RED) cause. The program is nationwide, so if you have any travel planned be sure to check it out. Locally, participants include Pabu and Ramen Bar, RN74, and Clock Bar, as well as Lucy Restaurant & Bar in Yountville. See the full list of participants here, and follow along on Instagram and Twitter.


The spice pot on the vegetarian menu at Campton Place’s Nepal dinner. Photo courtesy Campton Place.

After the horrific earthquake that hit Nepal last month, there are many ways you can still help. ~CAMPTON PLACE RESTAURANT~ is hosting a benefit dinner on Monday May 25th and will be donating at least 70 percent of the evening’s proceeds to The Seva Foundation and their Nepal relief fund. Chef Srijith Gopinathan has planned a special “spice route” four-course menu. Seatings for the dinner begin at 6pm, and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant. The dinner costs $75 per person, and additional donations can be made here if you can’t make it to the dinner. Every dollar helps!

On Saturday June 6th, the Spring India Fest from WomenNow TV will take over Union Square from 11am until 7pm. There will be a ceremonial drummer, henna artists, Bollywood dancing, and fashion, in addition to lots of food. New Delhi is among the food vendors, with dishes like samosas, kebabs, and chaat street food. The event is free to attend, not including food or drink.

The event is a fundraiser for Compassionate Chefs Cafe, which helps children in San Francisco’s Tenderloin and the town of Ahmedabad, India. They are also helping raise money for the ongoing relief efforts in Nepal, via this GoFundMe page, and anything you can give helps. Union Square, Geary at Powell.


Who doesn’t love a good film on food, especially when it’s thought-provoking and part of a festival screening? Here are some great opportunities to catch some good films locally this month.

From May 28th through June 3rd, catch films on the environment and food at the San Francisco Green Film Festival. Films include Good Things Await, about the Danish biodynamic farm that supplies Noma, and That Sugar Film, about sugar in our diets. The full lineup of films is here, with locations and times.

The San Francisco Documentary Festival, or Doc Fest, is happening June 4th through June 18th and is screening For Grace. The film is about Chicago chef Curtis Duffy and the process of opening his restaurant, Grace, as well as his difficult background. There are multiple screenings in multiple locations; check them out here.

May 12, 2015

The dining room. Photo by Aubrie Pick, courtesy Belga.


The bar. Photo by Aubrie Pick, courtesy Belga.


Mussels and beer. Photo by Aubrie Pick, courtesy Belga.


Beverages. Photo by Aubrie Pick, courtesy Belga.

Open tonight (May 12th) is ~BELGA~, the Cow Hollow Belgian-inspired brasserie from restaurateur Adriano Paganini (Lolinda, Beretta, Starbelly, Delarosa, Super Duper Burgers, Uno Dos Tacos). The space was previously Cafe des Amis, and while its gorgeous bone structure remains, the space got refreshed with the purpose of making it feel more casual and lively.

But first, let’s go over the new (and lengthy) Belgian brasserie-inspired menu. You’ll find some classic Belgian dishes, with French and German influences, and of course a California sensibility (chef Freedom Rains’s background includes Flour + Water, Boulevard, RN74, and Incanto). Dishes include oysters, snacks, housemade charcuterie (like liverwurst and country pâté), and starters like a salade Lyonnaise (instead of lardons, Rains is using ham hock) and genever-cured arctic char with fennel, radish, crème fraîche, and seeded levain. You’ll also find three variations of mussels (naturally), prepared with Allagash White; take a look at the dry-roasted style for something different.

There’s a wood-fired grill, which will be firing up housemade sausages, like currywurst, boudin blanc, and boudin noir. There are also a few steaks (the 7-oz. bar steak is a play on au poivre) and a grilled pork chop too. Some classics include a carbonnade (a Flemish beer stew, which Rains is making with boneless short rib and braising with bacon lardons and an abbey dark ale) and roasted half-chicken with preserved lemon, young artichoke, and dandelion. The side dishes are also really appealing—but check your cholesterol before taking on the endive and ham gratin. Rains did a lot of research on dishes (shout-out to Omnivore Books) and is excited about bringing some classics back, with his own updates. Most of the dishes are designed to be easy to share.

Since it’s a brasserie, beer is a big part of the menu. Not only is there an extensive (and nicely organized) list, but many dishes are made with beer and meant to be enjoyed with beer. There are 10 taps and 50 bottles available, with both Belgian beers and many Belgian-style craft beers made in the U.S., and ciders too. Look for some reserve bottles to be poured.

There’s a full bar; look for a particular focus on genever and gin, brandies from France, and even some beer-based cocktails by Nora Furst. The bar will have a craft focus—even the tonic is made in-house. There is also a list of four Kopstoot pairings (which means “head butt,” and is a beer and a shot). The wine list features lighter-bodied varieties from France, Germany, and the United States, and a large selection of sparkling (led by bar manager Ryan Murphy, a certified cicerone, previously at Pi Bar, Abbot’s Cellar and Monk’s Kettle, and the Boxing Room).

As for the design (by Hannah Collins of Hannah Collins Designs), you’ll notice the dining room feels a bit airier (they lowered some of the seat dividers), and the side of the room facing Buchanan Street has more light. (The kitchen was also opened up a little, to bring some of the noises of the kitchen into the room.)

The bar has a different look, with blue terra-cotta tiles behind the bottles and green penny tiles by the raw bar and coffee station. The bar stools were custom designed, with riveting around the soft gray leather (meanwhile, the leather banquettes in the dining room are a punchy cherry red). Local artist Melissa Wagner created some custom collage artwork to add some playfulness. The outdoor seating will continue to be popular as ever, and the private dining room also remains.

The restaurant will be open for dinner Sun-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm, with lunch and brunch coming soon. The bar is open nightly 5pm-12am. Reservations available. 2000 Union St. at Buchanan, 415-872-7350.


Telmo Faria at the Ferry Plaza with a taco. Photo from Facebook.


Donnie Masterson. Photo courtesy Tacolicious.

There are some changes to report from the ~TACOLICIOUS~ crew: after working with the team as executive chef/operations since 2009 (just one month after founder Joe Hargrave started the Tacolicious stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market), chef Telmo Faria is going to be diminishing his role with the company so he can start to focus more on launching his Portuguese project (he was born in the Azores, and this is a project he has been thinking about and planning for a long time).

You may have noticed the pop-up Faria has been hosting at Merigan Sub Shop, Uma Casa. His event on May 24th is sold out, but he’ll be hosting more on June 7th and 21st. We’ll keep you posted in the coming months as his concept takes shape. And to be clear, Faria will still be involved with Tacolicious and appearing at special events, but is working in a different capacity now.

A lot has happened for Tacolicious since those market days: there are now four locations, plus a line of Williams-Sonoma products and a cookbook. And now there is going to be a new project in San Miguel de Allende opening in late 2015 called the Tacolicious Taco Lab. Hargrave and Sara Deseran are going to partner with chef Donnie Masterson, who worked with Hargrave for four years when they were at Rose Pistola, LuLu, Zibibbo, and Azie. Masterson, who is half Mexican, lives in San Miguel and has a restaurant there called The Restaurant and his own farm. His extensive culinary background includes working for chef David Bouley and Patrick Clark, as well as the executive chef for Joachim Splichal’s Patina Group. He will now also be the executive chef of the Taco Lab and will function as the company’s overall culinary consultant.

Hargrave and Masterson plan to “tinker with new dishes” at the lab every quarter, and then have Masterson come up to SF to integrate the dishes at the Tacolicious locations. (Tacolicious team members will also have the opportunity to travel to San Miguel de Allende to work.) At the moment, they’re working on a new ceviche program, plus gorditas and panuchos.

If you happen to be in San Miguel de Allende for the Sabores San Miguel food festival in June (which is largely put on by Masterson), you’ll see Hargrave and Deseran there, along with Neal Fraser (Redbird and Vibiana, both in LA), and Carlo Mirarchi (Roberta’s, NYC) and about 15,000 attendees.


Elan and Brett Emerson. Photo from Facebook.


Contigo’s famed sardine and avocado toast. Photo: ©

Just in case you’re driving by ~CONTIGO~ and notice a “for sale” sign and have a moment of panic, don’t freak out just yet. I spoke with partner Brett Emerson, who confirmed the building is in fact for sale (he and his wife Elan live upstairs). The restaurant is not closing—the Emersons will just have a new landlord once the building sells.

Earlier this year, it was revealed in Edible Monterey Bay that the Emersons were planning to open a second tapas and Catalan-influenced restaurant in Santa Cruz, in the former home of Benten Japanese Restaurant (just across from Verve Coffee Roasters) at 1541 Pacific.

Here’s an update on the project: it will be called ~BARCELONETA~, an homage to the seaside beach in Barcelona where locals go for paella and hanging out. Brett says they will continue to serve their seasonally influenced tapas at this new location and will be adding paella, served daily (at Contigo, it’s only served on Tuesdays). They want the vibe to be fun and approachable—and to help in that feeling, they’ll have a full bar as well. Lunch and dinner will be served daily.

Barceloneta is currently in the design phase, and they hope to open at the end of 2015 or early 2016. In order to free up some resources for the project (they’re doing a significant upgrade to the Santa Cruz space), they decided to sell their SF building. The couple will be spending time in both SF and Santa Cruz, and have promoted their sous chef and a manager to take more of the reins of the SF location during the transition. As for the listing, it goes live tomorrow if you want to be a future Noe Valley landlord.


A teriyaki plate from Glaze. Yelp photo by Sam F.

The San Francisco location of ~THE BARREL ROOM~ has taken over the former Georges space in the Financial District, which we reported in February. The full-service restaurant is now open, and soon there will be lots of expanded offerings, including a wine bar and tasting room, a retail shop, and a subterranean speakeasy-style full bar. The wine bar and retail shop will be opening in June.

The concept is an ambitious one: every three months, the restaurant menu, bar menu, and wine list will change completely. Each new menu will draw inspiration from a wine region of the world, including places like Germany, France, Austria, and Italy. The opening focus is on Latin America, with dishes like fish tacos with jicama and pineapple salsa, and rib eye with bone marrow-ancho chile salsa. As for the wine list, there are more than 200 bottle selections and more than 50 options available by the glass. Educational and regional flights will be offered, as well. Restaurant hours are lunch Mon-Fri 11am-2:30pm, dinner Mon-Sat 5pm-10:30pm. 415 Sansome St. at Commercial, 415-956-6900.

As Eater initially reported last month, Beverly Hills candy store ~SUGARFINA~ has opened a location in downtown San Francisco. The new shop, which is sort of a high-end candy salon for sweet-toothed adults, carries unusual and unique candies in appealing, design-forward packaging. They’ve got a line of boozy candy, too, including Champagne gummy bears, absinthe chocolates, and maple bourbon caramels. It’s all rather perfect for gift giving, and they even have sassy cards available too. Hours are Sun-Thu 10am-9pm, Fri-Sat 10am-10pm. There is a second location coming to Cow Hollow on May 15th, as well. 271 Sutter St. at Grant, 855-784-2734.

The former All Star Donuts space on Chestnut Street, which closed in September 2014, is becoming the second San Francisco location of ~GLAZE TERIYAKI~. The new teriyaki outpost is opening on Wednesday May 13th, hours are daily 11am-10pm. And yes, the brilliant All Star sign remains. 2095 Chestnut St. at Steiner, 415-590-3193.


The interior of Cafe Gibraltar. Photo from Facebook.

In November 2013, we were very excited to report that New York chef and author Suvir Saran planned to open a Mid-Market restaurant in the NEMA building. However, the project, which was called American Masala, has hit a wall, and Saran has decided not to move forward. Scoop reports that continuing delays and complications are the culprit. This is disappointing, to be sure, but Saran apparently is still hoping to open a restaurant elsewhere in San Francisco.

Beloved Peninsula restaurant ~CAFE GIBRALTAR~ has closed, according to Scoop. The restaurant, which made its home in Montara and then later El Granada, opened 17 years ago. The owners, Jose Luis Ugalde and Liam Durkee, say they want to spend more time with their family and take some well-deserved time off. They also report that the owners of Clay Oven Indian restaurants will be taking over the space. 425 Ave. Alhambra at Palma, Half Moon Bay.


The amazing côte de bœuf bone-in rib eye (and sides) at 398 Brasserie. Photo: ©

There are a few changes to Union Square’s ~398 RESTAURANT AND BAR~, starting with the fact it’s now ~398 BRASSERIE~, a name that definitely fits chef Sam Fechheimer’s style better. 398 is now offering breakfast (7am-11am) and lunch (11am-4pm) Mon-Fri, plus weekend brunch (7am-4pm), while next door, Klyde is now Klyde Wine Bar, opening at 4pm (you can order some dinner and dessert items). I enjoyed my dinner at 398, so I look forward to checking out the lunch service, which would be perfect for a downtown meeting. And don’t forget, Klyde has happy hour daily 4pm-7pm, with $5 glasses of wines. And then there’s the fabulous cocktails and oysters at Benjamin Cooper upstairs… 398 Geary St. at Mason, 415-654-5061. (Klyde Wine Bar is at 386 Geary St.)


The interior of Artís Coffee. Yelp photo by Alex L.

~ARTÍS COFFEE~ has opened in Hayes Valley, Hoodline reports. The new coffee shop, which we mentioned in October, already has a location in Berkeley and offers more than just a spot to get a cup. They roast all their own beans on-site and have an extensive retail operation that includes roasting beans by the pound to your specifications and preferences. You can select from a variety of beans (at least four different ones that will change seasonally), and then they put them in the roaster while you wait. There is also espresso, pour-over coffee, and pastries. 537 Octavia St. at Ivy, 415-655-3576.

Here’s a new spot for coffee meetings and laptop afternoons: ~FORA THINK SPACE~, now open on Broadway. They are offering coffee and espresso from Roast Co., as well as pastries, sandwiches, salads, and a space for meetings and events. They even offer a conference room with AV services for rent. Initial Yelp reviews report good cold-brew coffee, lots of power outlets, and friendly service. 150 Broadway St. at Front, 415-685-4754.


Housemade pasta at Flour + Water. Photo from Facebook.


The Deli Board cheesesteak. Photo by Rena B. Meyer.

From now until Sunday May 17th, ~FLOUR + WATER~ is celebrating six years in business with a special six-course pasta menu every evening. For $70, you’ll get to try six of chef Thomas McNaughton’s favorite pastas from the restaurant. Wine pairings are also available for an additional $50, and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant.

Any Philly transplants missing a good steak should know that Adam Mesnick is hosting a pop-up cheesesteak night at his ~DELI BOARD~. Not only can you get a rib-eye cheesesteak with white American cheese, cherry peppers, and his hous Board sauce on Amoroso rolls flown in from Philly ($11), but there are also stuffed Board egg rolls (filled with things like pepperoni, house marinara, and a cheese blend; an artichoke-spinach dip; and then there’s the cheeseburger version, whoa), plus Rocky Jr. buffalo wings (eight wings for $10). It’s also BYOB. 7pm-10pm. Upcoming dates are all on Thursdays: May 14th, May 21st, and May 28th. 1058 Folsom St. at Russ, 415-552-SOUP (7687).


Kids exploring in the kitchen at Bay Leaf cooking camp. Photo courtesy Bay Leaf.

~BAY LEAF KITCHEN~, a wonderful program that teaches kids how to cook, has two upcoming fundraisers that will make it easy for you to support their cooking camps and other great programming. The first is an aperitivo hour on Tuesday May 19th from 5pm to 8pm. Dario Barbone (Baia Pasta) will be preparing a variety of aperitivo-appropriate bites, including charcuterie, frittata, and tartines, along with pouring Almanac beer and Parducci wines. The party is happening at Feastly headquarters in the Mission, and tickets are $24 per person.

Then, on Monday May 25th, there will be a special donation day at ~4505 BURGERS & BBQ~. Five percent of all the restaurant’s proceeds that day will go directly to help support Bay Leaf and its scholarship programs. 705 Divisadero St. at Grove, 415-231-6993.


The bar at Mad Oak, before opening. Photo courtesy Mad Oak.


The patio, which is in progress. Photo courtesy Mad Oak.


Huevos con chorizo from Casa Latina. Yelp photo by Manny H.

Last summer, East Bay Express mentioned that Old Major’s was coming to the former Oasis in downtown Oakland. Some things have changed since then and now, so here’s an update on ~MAD OAK BAR & YARD~ (the project’s new name), opening to the public on Saturday May 16th. The partners behind the new space are brothers Daniel and Benjamin Cukierman, who were formerly behind Shattuck Down Low and also own Room 389.

While the Oasis space was formerly known for plenty of late-night boogie sessions, this new incarnation is definitely a bar, with some food on offer as well. The space is a hefty one, including a bar in the main room, a 2,000-square-foot outdoor patio with picnic tables, and a 2,000-square-foot roof deck upstairs—perfect for your next party. (They completely gutted the space and even added a new structure—you can check out some pics of the demo and construction by Black Creek Builders here.) You’ll see plenty of reclaimed wood, natural light, and some dartboards too.

There will be 40 beers on tap, from local selections and West Coast picks to Belgians, plus a full bar (stocked with fresh ingredients). The plan is to have different food businesses in the kitchen every six months. The first is Javi’s Cooking, serving Argentine food, like empanadas, plus a limited menu of sandwiches and some other bites. There will also be food trucks on the patio. Come check out your new summer hangout. Hours will be Mon-Fri 3pm-2am and Sat-Sun 12pm-2am. 135 12th St. at Madison, Oakland.

~CASA LATINA~ in Berkeley is now offering breakfast all day, in addition to their pastries and savory items. Chowhounds caught the news and report “excellent” chilaquiles and a potato and egg empanada. The space underwent a remodel last year, too, so there’s even more room. 1805 San Pablo Ave. at Delaware, 510-558-7177.

May 5, 2015

The dining room at Trestle. Photo courtesy Trestle.


Little Gem salad with bacon, egg, and Dijon vinaigrette. Photo: ©


Garganelli. Photo courtesy Trestle.


Strawberry and rhubarb pavlova. Photo: ©

As we keep hearing about luxury tasting menu-only restaurants pushing our credit card limits, it’s refreshing to be able to write about a restaurant featuring a prix-fixe tasting menu that is just $35, for three courses. Yes. You can pay $10 for an additional pasta course, and guess what, you’re gonna be stuffed.

The Hi Neighbor restaurant group (Stones Throw, Fat Angel) have just opened ~TRESTLE~ in Jackson Square in the former Great Hunan—you won’t even recognize the space (it’s right where Chinatown, North Beach, and the Financial District converge). The 1911 building had some beautiful bones, with dark brick walls, and Apparatus Architecture did a stellar job opening the space up. There are touches of rusticity, like the wide-plank oak floors and ash tabletops, and modernity, too, in the artwork and the sinuous shape of the chairs. The wood beams create an eye-catching element. The music is upbeat. The pace of the meal is brisk, so you can get on with your night and go grab a cocktail nearby.

Like Stones Throw, the team is comprised of executive chef Jason Halverson, Ryan Cole, and Tai Ricci (all Michael Mina alums), plus partners Jason Kirmse and Cyrick Hia. Halverson’s dishes will rotate often and have roots in comfort dishes, but they are elevated with some modern techniques, lightened up with fresh Cali produce, and beautifully plated. You’ll have a choice of a couple of dishes in each section, and partner Cole wants people to be excited to make dessert a part of their meal again. The place hits that SF tone we like so much: casual but quality, with good service, wines, and design details.

On the opening menu, my guest and I started with a Little Gem salad with meaty pieces of bacon lardons and a sunny-side up egg, and marinated calamari and roasted fingerling potatoes and Calabrian chile aioli; we had to supplement our meal with the hearty garganelli Bolognese, with a spoonful of burrata on top; and the main event was a short rib “pot roast” with potato gratin, and pan-roasted salmon with farro and an orange-sherry vinaigrette. You can also request bread, and you’ll get some Firebrand bread with burrata (I KNOW).

For dessert, a strawberry and rhubarb pavlova, and a warm chocolate brownie sundae, with some amazing elderflower ice cream that Humphry Slocombe made. Our meal would have been $45, and overdelivered in quality, portion, and taste. They’re on to something here.

Value is also a big part of Jason Kirmse’s wine list. You’ll find a list of bottles for less than $50 (like a 2013 Château Thivin “Côte de Brouilly” gamay from Beaujolais for $42), and some quality picks by the glass ($9-$15), but the real big-name bargain hunters will want to check out the bottles for $100 and more, which will only have a markup of $40 per bottle (instead of the industry standard of 200-300 percent). Yeah, there’s some Krug for $201. And a Moreau “Les Clos Grand Cru” from Chablis for $119. So if you want to still blow some cash, you’ll be handsomely rewarded. And of course the beer list totally rocks (you know, that Fat Angel connection), with over 25 bottled selections from around the world.

Dinner nightly. 531 Jackson St. at Columbus, 415-772-0922.


A KronnerBurger with a side of marrow. Photo: ©


Fries with cheese curds and beef cheek gravy. Photo: ©


The earth burger. Photo: ©


Definitely save room for dessert: the orange creamsicle sundae. Photo: ©


The dining room at KronnerBurger at a test lunch. Photo: ©


The exterior of KronnerBurger. Photo: ©

Has there ever been such a burger that was so hotly anticipated to return to our culinary scene? Well, I know I am not alone in my happiness that ~KRONNERBURGER~ is finally opening this Wednesday May 6th for lunch in Oakland’s Piedmont district. Chef Chris Kronner has been known for his burger—a rare, salty, aged beef master concoction—for quite a while. I remember that bad boy five years ago when he was cooking at Bar Tartine, with its cheddar mayo and optional add-on of bone marrow. Fortunately those building blocks of his burger construction have remained in place as he has fine-tuned it over the years at his many pop-ups.

His brick-and-mortar location is right on Piedmont Avenue, in a quirky and charming flatiron-style building that used to house J’s Mexican-American restaurant (did you know it was once a trolley depot?). Kronner worked with architect Wylie Price on the 40-seat space, one that is quite airy and very stylish. When was the last time you went into a burger joint with a Deco-esque rose quartz counter? Exactly. The room is full of artisan craftsmanship, from the communal stand-up tabletop made in cottonwood (sourced via Evan Shively) by Kelly Best (he also did the wood pieces at The Progress). You’ll notice some chic Asian/Deco metalwork by Luigi Oldani, most of the woodwork and metal work by Andrew Poyner, custom ceramic pendant lights from Peter St. Lawrence, and even the ceramic plates were made by partner and GM Ashley Hildreth with Jessica Niello, and another batch by Travis McFlynn. The overall light tones of the room are counterpointed with punches of navy-cobalt blue.

The test opening menu included a wedge salad, a creative chopped salad (with savoy cabbage, broccoli di cicco, pickled chile, and smoked coconut), and one of the tastiest asparagus dishes I’ve had in some time, with fondue, rye bread crumbs, and nepitella. A couple more items you’ll find in the “Apps Bro” (LOL) section include chicken wings that come anointed with a funky fermented chile you will want to put on everything, and expertly fried fries with curds and beef cheek gravy. Oh hi, onion rings.

As for the main event, there’s the famed Kronnerburger, which now comes on a housemade bun by Betty Frank (previous Box & Bells), who will be doing all the baking for the restaurant (just wait until you taste her biscuit at brunch, I’m warning you). Wood-fired grill, check. Right now, the patty is made from a combination of beef sourced from Mindful Meats and Marin Sun Farms. Kronner is actually going to be getting whole sides of beef from Stemple Creek Ranch in Marin, which will clock in at 600 to 700 pounds; he expects to go through two a month. The burgers are going to feature quite the combination of cuts, and the dining room will also benefit with very affordable steaks. It’s quite an undertaking, ending up in zero waste.

A new entry on the menu is the Mangalitsa pig burger, made from whole pigs from Winkler Farms, which Kronner says is some of the best pork he has ever tasted. It comes with smoked and pickled onion, pickled rinds, and white barbecue sauce.

I’m just gonna tell you: the patty melt is going to rock your world. Our table went loopy over this magical combination of onion confit (it made me think of the best French onion soup), hot mustard, and mixed milk cheese (sheep and cow cheddar). Get it.

Vegetarians, you will be well taken care of with the earth burger, a savory and vegan patty (mostly mushrooms, tofu, sweet potato, and cabbage) topped with yuba “bacon,” red onion, and lettuce (you’ll be able to get it in a gluten-free bun).

Brunch and dinner service will feature some additional dishes, which we’ll highlight and talk about in next week’s tablehopper! Assisting Kronner in the kitchen is Bill Niles (previously St. Vincent, Bar Tartine) and Christa Chase (Duende, Pizzaiolo). Save room for some of Betty Frank’s desserts, like an orange creamsicle soft-serve sundae with date caramel and pecans.

Did you know there’s going to be full liquor here? Yeah, and the talented Alex Phillips (Locanda, Al’s Place) will be overseeing the menu full of drinks like a fantastic margarita. More on this soon. We’ll also be sharing the wine list by Bradford Taylor of Ordinaire, which will feature many old-world selections. Sayre Piotrkowski (Hog’s Apothecary) is behind the beer list, so you know it will rock. There’s a patio in the back, with room for 20, perfect for our impending warmer weather.

Lunch begins Wednesday May 6th, open 11am-3pm, and then brunch begins this weekend, running Sat and Sun 10am-3pm. On Thursday May 14th, dinner service will kick in, with hours moving to Sun and Wed-Thu 11am-10:30pm, Fri 11am-12am, Sat 10am-12am, and Sun 10am-10:30pm. Closed Mondays. 4063 Piedmont Ave. at 41st, Oakland.


The Twitter building at 1355 Market Street. Photo courtesy San Francisco Business Times.

As reported more than two years ago, Matt Semmelhack and Mark Liberman of Mercer Restaurant Group (AQ, TBD) are opening an ambitious new restaurant in Market Square. This new project is called ~BON MARCHÉ~ and is a large one, clocking in at 7,500 square feet. The idea is for the space to feel open and “bustling” all day long, with inspiration from Paris and, specifically, the Marais neighborhood.

The large space allows for several different experiences, including a bar that serves oysters and drinks, a lounge area, a coffee shop, a flower shop, a full-service restaurant dining room, a private dining room, and a brewery. The restaurant’s executive chef is Matthew Sieger, whose menu is focused on French classics, including salade Lyonnaise, côte de boeuf, and moules frites. At lunch, look for tartines and other lighter options; you can also enjoy oysters and shellfish from the raw bar. There will be a selection of housemade charcuterie like roulades, terrines, and pâtés, as well. On the sweet side, pastry chef Rikki Garcia will be sticking to the classics, with a chocolate soufflé, housemade ice cream, and fruit tarts.

There are several components to the beverage program, and they pulled together quite a team to make it all happen. Rich Higgins is developing the beer side of things, including on-site brewing and guest taps. Allegra Angelo is running the wine show, with close to 100 different options to choose from, all of them intended to be approachable and food-friendly. As for cocktails, Eric Quilty is creating a list of drinks inspired by the seasons and designed to pair well with the food.

As for the design, they’ve looked the Art Deco era for inspiration, and added warm, hospitable touches that encourage people to sit and linger. Think leather banquettes, brass fixtures, and penny tile. The floor-to-ceiling windows take advantage of the space’s soaring height, offering lots of natural light. The current plan is to open the doors in June. 1355 Market St., Suite 120 at 10th St., 415-802-1700.


Kouign amann at b. Patisserie. Photo: ©

The somewhat cursed space on the northeastern corner of Divisadero and California has a new taker, and it’s a good one: none other than Belinda Leong of neighboring ~B. PATISSERIE~. Hoodline reports that the new project is called ~B. ON THE GO~. Leong and Michel Suas, who is her business partner and baker, plan to open the new location on June 1st.

They’ve run out of room at b. Patisserie, and having additional kitchen space will free up the original location. In fact, b. Patisserie has been so busy and crowded that Leong hasn’t had the opportunity to start serving wine, despite the fact that she’s had a beer and wine license for almost two years. The new space will change all that. They will be baking in the satellite kitchen, in addition to preparing new items like sandwiches and snacks to go. The plan is to open on June 1st. 2794 California St. at Divisadero.


The future home of Orson’s Belly. Photo courtesy Cem Salur.

A quiet stretch in the Outer Richmond is going to have a café and neighborhood hangout come this summer called ~ORSON’S BELLY~. Owner Cem Salur has a background that includes hospitality, food, and film, so he said it’s really no wonder he came up with this concept for a café with a cinematic theme. He calls the Richmond his home and thought Balboa could really use a nice spot to hang out.

The 50-seat café will open in the morning at 7am for pastries and coffee service from De La Paz, and then lunchtime will bring open-faced sandwiches (he mentions they will be California style, like crème fraîche with figs and honey) served on housemade bread (loaves will also be for sale), housemade quiche, and more. Look for locally sourced ingredients and an affordable price point. In the evening, some cheese plates and bar bites will be served to go with the beers and wines, which will be all local (Salur loves Northern California wines), plus some ciders too.

The location was a dive bar (Homers) that closed something like 10 years ago, and the space has been vacant since. Cem is going through building permits and applying for a beer and wine license, and really hopes to be open in time for Outside Lands. He hopes to have a parklet too.

As for the cinematic theme, you’ll see lots of original film posters (also for sale!) and will be curating old 16mm silent films to play as well. He also mentioned wanting to screen kids’ movies while the parents enjoy an adult beverage. We’ll keep you posted on this café’s premiere. In the meantime, you can follow along on Twitter (and get some fun film tips too). 1737 Balboa St. at 19th Ave.


The spring rolls from Native Juice Co. Yelp photo by JazzMarie C.

We reported in late March on the new location of ~NATIVE JUICE CO.~ in the Financial District, and according to Yelp it is now open. To recap, the juicery closed their location at 250 Montgomery earlier this year and have now opened shop at 168 Sutter Street. There are juices, smoothies, and food items on the menu, including a kale salad, spring rolls, and vegetarian quinoa sushi rolls. Hours are Mon-Thu 7:30am-5pm, Fri 7:30am-4:30pm. 168 Sutter St. at Kearny.

There is now a place to satisfy your Filipino food cravings in SoMa, called ~PAMPALASA~. Owner Jennifer Villamin says it also has the distinction of being one of the first “kamayan-optional” restaurants in San Francisco, meaning eating with your hands is encouraged. They’ve even installed a sink in the dining room to wash up before and after meals. The menu is still being finalized, but they will offer rustic Filipino cuisine for lunch Monday through Friday, brunch on weekends, and are pouring Ritual coffee.

The grand opening is Tuesday May 19th, but they are throwing a special soft opening Saturday and Sunday May 16th and 17th from 10am to 3pm with 15 percent off while they work out their recipes; RSVP here. 1261 Folsom St. at 9th St., no phone yet.

We are always on the lookout for delicious barbecue, so when a chef friend mentioned this new pop-up, well, it’s now officially on the radar! Native Sons BBQ will be popping up at Triple Voodoo Brewery on Friday May 8th, from 5:30pm until they sell out. On the menu is brisket, pork ribs, and sides. 2245 3rd St. at 19th St.

On Wednesday April 29th, there was a fire at ~LIVERPOOL LIL’S~ around 7:30am, SFist reports. The restaurant suffered some smoke and water damage, but luckily, according to a post on their Facebook page, no one was hurt and the damage to the restaurant was not serious. They are currently closed, but only for a short while. Our thoughts go out to everyone at Lil’s, and we’re wishing you best of luck getting back up and running! 2942 Lyon St. at Lombard.


An affogato from Sightglass’ brand new Affogato Bar. Photo from Instagram.

There are few things in the world as perfect as the affogato, and now you can get an especially artisanal one at ~SIGHTGLASS~ in SoMa.They’ve partnered with Portland’s own Salt & Straw ice cream for the new Affogato Bar, where you’ll have a choice of three ice cream flavors and three different single-origin espresso shots. Currently, the ice cream flavors are Dick Taylor single-origin chocolate, blood orange olive oil, and sea salt with caramel ribbons, and different options will rotate in as well. 270 7th St. at Folsom, 415-861-1313.

There is now a ~PHILZ COFFEE~ in Dogpatch. The new location is actually in their office headquarters, and includes a training bar for new staff (a sign behind the bar proclaims it “Philz University”). Hours are daily 6am-6pm. 1259 Minnesota St. at 24th St., 415-423-1474.

After 11 years at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays, ~BLUE BOTTLE~ will be pulling espresso from their kiosk for the last time on Saturday May 30th, according to a tweet. Of course, you’ll still be able to get your morning market caffeine fix at their indoor Ferry Building location, but this still the end of an era for the company. In a lovely letter on the Blue Bottle blog, founder James Freeman cites the company’s growth as the reason, mentioning that the spirit of the market is as an incubator for new producers, and Blue Bottle no longer really fits in that mold. In that same spirit, they will be donating their proceeds from the last day to charity. Ferry Building Plaza at Embarcadero.


Stuffed and fried squash blossoms at Seven Hills. Photo: ©


The upstairs dining room at Gaspar. Photo by R. Brad Knipstein Photography.

For their latest dinner with Marin Roots Farm, ~SEVEN HILLS~ has a special five-course dinner chock-full of springtime dishes. Think halibut crudo with radish top pesto, mustard greens, and lemon, or a standing rib roast with Tokyo turnips and greens. Check out the menu here and remember that the dinner includes a CSA box of produce from Marin Roots. The dinner is happening Tuesday May 12th, with reservations available from 5:30pm-9:30pm. Be sure to make your reservation through Reserve and use code “MARINROOTS20” when booking, for $20 off. With the discount, the dinner is $75 per person, not including tax, tip, or beverages. 1550 Hyde St. at Pacific, 415-775-1550.

~GASPAR BRASSERIE~ is celebrating their one-year anniversary on Saturday May 9th with a big dinner party. The six-course Parisian feast commences at 6:30pm with passed Champagne and appetizers, followed by a seven-course menu that includes truffled custard eggs, leg of lamb, and foie gras sausage. If you can’t make the dinner on Saturday, they’ll be serving the anniversary special all week, from May 12th through the 17th, including the consommé de homard ($14), with spring vegetables; and Bombe Ceylan with griottines, a dessert of frozen chocolate with coffee, rum, and brandied cherries ($10). There will also be a special French 75 made with Cognac at the bar.

Tickets to the dinner are $95 per person, with wine pairings available for an additional $55. tablehopper readers can get 15 percent off their ticket using code “tablehopper” at checkout. There are 20 discounted tickets available; get yours now!


Tacos from León, the new project from Jose Ramos and Elizabeth Tinajero. Photo from Indiegogo.

Husband-and-wife duo Jose Ramos and Elizabeth Tinajero are getting ready to open a farmers’ market stand based in the East Bay, and they need your help. The stand will be called ~LEÓN~ after the major city in Ramos’s home state of Guanajuato. Ramos was the opening chef at Nopalito, and then served as executive chef at Sabrosa, before working at Nido. Tinajero attended the Culinary Institute of America and grew up cooking regional recipes with her mother. The pair plans to use heirloom and local ingredients in all their cooking, and will make all of their menu items from scratch, including grinding their own corn for tamales.

They’ve launched an Indiegogo campaign to help them raise money for a taco cart, griddle, and fryer, and other necessary equipment to start their business. They only need to raise a modest $9,000 to meet their goal, and a mere $20 donation gets you a trio of tacos once they are up and running!

An ever-intrepid Chowhound caught the liquor license application for another location of ~PHO AO SEN~ (careful: that link is going to make some noise). The East Oakland pho favorite is opening a third location in Albany, in a former Sizzler. 665 San Pablo Ave. at Portland.

April 28, 2015

The future home of Petit Crenn. Photo: ©


Dominique preparing a dish at her Pardon My French lunch (with Daniel Boulud) at Pebble Beach Food & Wine. Photo: ©

While a large part of Hayes Valley residents (and beyond) yelled out a collective “nooooooooo!” over the closure of ~BAR JULES~, now it’s time for a collective sigh over whose hands that special space is landing in: Dominique Crenn of two-Michelin-starred ~ATELIER CRENN~. (Shout-out to Hoodline for noticing the liquor license activity first.)

The new project will be called ~PETIT CRENN~, and Crenn, who lived across the street for three years, would dine at Bar Jules frequently, which is why chef-owner Jessica Boncutter decided to pass the torch to Crenn. She knows the neighborhood well and is so excited to “continue the legacy Jessica started.”

But high-end tasting menus will not be the story here. Instead, Crenn is going to be offering a casual and homey experience, focused on the cuisine of her homeland of Brittany. It will be an homage to the dishes her mother and grandmother used to make on their farm. For Crenn, the food will be about nostalgia and creating a home away from home. Brittany is known for having some of the best vegetables in all of France, along with excellent seafood, pork, and lamb, which will all be well represented on the menu (there’s a live-fire grill in the kitchen they will keep and be cooking on). She will be offering food that is very fresh and clean and doing some sourcing from small-scale and lesser-known local farmers and producers. Rusticity will also come through with the bread service: they will be baking the famous 4- to 5-pound loaves of bread (“le pain des amis”/bread of friends) that you break apart.

Petit Crenn will be open all day, starting with a French breakfast (think a platter with housemade bread and jam, pastries, croissant, simple eggs) plus fresh juice and coffee, along with her mother’s wonderful cocoa; homemade cereal will also be available. Lunch service will include sandwiches, tartines, crêpes, and salads—Crenn loves tomatoes, so expect a lot of them when they come into season.

Dinnertime will feature an all-inclusive five-course dinner for $72, served family style. So no tipping, but if you want some cider or vin rouge, that will be up to you. The cooks will serve you directly and will be dressed in the classic striped Breton shirt. The room will also have a maritime feel, with lots of white and nautical accents. Crenn’s friends will be collaborating on the design and art for the space.

This project is part of a new business entity she has created, with different investors and separate from Atelier Crenn. But her partner and pastry chef/chef pâtissier, Juan Contreras, will be working with her to create some classic Breton desserts, a different tone from the innovative style he is known for. Stand by for more news of other hires for the project soon.

In the evening there will be reservations for the tables, and the bar will be open for walk-ins (for à la carte, oysters, and a glass of wine). Look for a July opening. 609 Hayes St. at Laguna.


A nectarine almond dessert at Lord Stanley. Photo by Mike Norquist courtesy Lord Stanley.


A shellfish dish at Lord Stanley. Photo by Mike Norquist courtesy Lord Stanley.


A rendering of Lord Stanley. Rendering by Boor Bridges Architecture, courtesy Lord Stanley.

Carrie and Rupert Blease, co-chefs and a married couple, are opening a new restaurant in the former T2J Thai space on Polk Street, ~LORD STANLEY~. We have been trying to get details on this project for a couple months, and their PR folks have finally released the hounds. The duo, who met in England at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, have since worked at New York’s Per Se and Blue Hill and Central Kitchen and Commonwealth here in San Francisco. A British and European sensibility will influence the food, with a California emphasis on excellent, seasonal ingredients. They’ll be making nearly everything in-house, including the butter and bread, and will keep the menu small and not overly complicated.

The space seats 40, and Boor Bridges Architecture is behind the design. They’ve opened it up, with an upstairs loft that houses a communal table, along with floor-to-ceiling windows and clean lines. Warm wooden tables balance the touches of concrete, steel, and neon, while custom dishes from Melissa Rice, canvas bread bags, and textiles soften the hard, clean lines of the space.

The restaurant also features a bar, where wine director Louisa Smith will pour wines from small producers both local and international, with a focus on organic, biodynamic, and unique offerings. There will also be a regularly changing selection of beers on tap, including many international choices. You’ll also find sake, low-proof cocktails, and nonalcoholic selections, including many with juices made in-house.

Lord Stanley is set to open in early June, and hours will be Sun, Tue-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm, closed Mon. 2065 Polk St. at Broadway.


The exterior of 18 Virginia Ave., future home of Aktun Comida Yucateca. Image from Google Streetview.

A tipster sent us the news that there is a new taker for the former Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack space in Bernal. It’s called ~AKTUN COMIDA YUCATECA~ and will be serving local, organic food, again according to our tipster. Sadly, we weren’t able to get any information on who is running the new project. Emmy’s said they have no involvement in the space at all, and calls to adjacent bar El Amigo (which our tipster seemed to think was involved) were a dead end since their line is disconnected.

However, we were able to nab a picture of the menu in the window, which looks promising. Dishes include a 4505 hot dog with habanero crema, grilled onions, jalapeño, sweet peppers, and cilantro; ceviche made with local petrale sole, peppers, onions, lime, and corn chips; and fried plantains with butter and cinnamon. We’re still working on getting details, so file this one under “developing.” 18 Virginia St. at Mission. Update: we got word from Joe Kaplan, the owner of El Amigo, after our deadline. He is indeed opening Aktun in the former Emmy’s space, and will be focusing on tequila and mezcal in the bar. Aktun is having an opening party this Friday May 1st from 7pm-11pm, with cocktails and small plates.


The bright and cheerful interior at Tacorgasmico. Photo from Facebook.


A lunch plate from Huli Huli. Photo from Facebook.

By Dana Eastland. As previously reported on tablehopper, taco restaurant ~TACORGASMICO~ is, um, coming soon to the Castro. It’s opening in the former Blue Restaurant space on Market Street, and they are serving “simple Mexican pleasures” like tacos, tlayudas, and sopes, along with micheladas and sangria. And maybe happy endings, we suppose? There’s no exact word on an opening date at the moment, but we’ve heard rumors of a “soft opening” (LOL) this past weekend and their Facebook page currently invites you to “come hit the spot,” though no one is answering the phone quite yet. The tablehopper’s position on ‘gasmic food names was made pretty clear in The Bore all the way back in 2012, and this is no exception. But we can’t help but laugh—and hope the food is good. Yes, that good. 2337 Market St. at Noe, 415-565-0655.

There’s really no way to segue to this next story without thinking dirty creamy thoughts, but let’s all give it a try, shall we? The Castro is getting another new spot, this time for folks with a sweet tooth. Cole Valley’s ~THE ICE CREAM BAR~ will be opening a second location in the neighborhood this fall, according to Eater. Owner Juliet Pries reports that she’ll be opening in the former L’Occitane space, with the same style of ice cream choices, including scoops, milk shakes, and other soda fountain beverages. Pastry chef Lori Rich will be making baked goods for both locations, as well, though a menu is still forthcoming. It’s also worth noting that the name may change. 554 Castro St. at 19th St.

~HULI HULI HAWAIIAN GRILL~ from Project Bayview is now open on Third Street, according to Facebook and Chowhounds. We mentioned the new spot back in December, which is offering affordable Hawaiian-inspired dishes while also providing a space for community building. At lunch, look for dishes like barbecue chicken, short ribs, a combo platter, loco moco, and more. They’ve also got daily specials, as well as some breakfast options. In addition, an outdoor garden provides seating and some of the restaurant’s produce. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-3:30pm. 4100 3rd St. at Hudson, 415-970-1990.

There is also a new Hawaiian spot in Excelsior, called ~ALOHA BBQ~. Yelpers caught the opening and even grabbed a photo of the menu. There are combination plates, seafood, loco moco, saimin noodles, and more. Hours are daily 9:30am-10pm. 4935 Mission St. at France, 415-333-3619.

It looks like Vietnamese mini-chain ~PERILLA~ is opening a third location in the Lower Haight. Hoodline reports that they are taking the space formerly (and rather briefly) occupied by Ming Yao H Chinese. A call to the chain’s SoMa location reveals that they will be open for lunch and dinner daily, and plan to open in early June. 525 Haight St. at Fillmore.


Sam Wo’s rice noodle stuffed with char siu pork. Yelp photo by Connor F.

Just a little update for you since our last report on ~SAM WO RESTAURANT~, which we mentioned is moving into the Anna Bakery space in Chinatown. Since they will continue to offer some baked goods and will be keeping the Anna Bakery baker, the new name will be ~SAM WO RESTAURANT AND BAKERY~.

Construction should be under way in a week or so, and they are targeting July for the reopening. The kitchen is already there, but they are doing a fair amount of renovations: there will be a mezzanine for groups, and upstairs they are installing an all-new soup kitchen, where they will prepare jook and wonton soup. And like the previous location, there will be a dumbwaiter—although this will be a modern one bringing food up from the basement. The restaurant will have the same amount of seats and will offer some express takeout. Hours are looking like they’ll be 7am-3pm, with more hours in the afternoon for tea and a partial menu. (Anna Bakery used to be a hangout for the elderly in the afternoon for tea, and they want to preserve that tradition.) The plan is to then open again at 9pm, serving until 4am like they used to. Time will tell; we’ll keep you posted. 715 Clay St. at Kearny.

Some more details have emerged about chef Gabriela Cámara’s plans for her Hayes Valley opening. The Mexico City chef, known for the beloved restaurants Contramar and MeroToro, is calling her SF (and U.S.) debut ~CALA~ (a fitting name since it means “cove”). Scoop shares that the 85-ish seat space will be focused on local and sustainable seafood, but Cámara has reportedly been encountering some issues with sourcing. Housemade tortillas will be en la casa, and like Nopalito, they will nixtamalize their corn. The full bar will have plenty of tequila and mezcal, and then there’s the taco stand they’ll be opening in the back alley (Hickory Street) during the week for lunch, offering tacos de guisado (stewed meats) for takeout. Oh yeah. Look for a July opening, we plan to have more updates in coming months. 149 Fell St. at Franklin.


The new Counter Culture Coffee center in Emeryville. Photo: © Christy Baugh courtesy Counter Culture Coffee.

Sightglass just keeps on growing: in spring of 2016, they will be opening a new coffee bar on the SFMOMA’s third floor, just next to the John and Lisa Pritzker Center for Photography. (Blue Bottle was the previous SFMOMA partner.)

Across the Bay in Emeryville, Counter Culture Coffee has opened their first roastery outside of their North Carolina HQ, which means the West Coast is going to be getting some extremely fresh and more eco-friendly locally roasted coffee (you can find their coffee at Coffee Cultures, Stanza, and Modern Coffee). While there isn’t a coffee bar where you can hang out, there are a couple of ways you can check out the facility. There are free tastings every Friday morning called Tastings@Ten that are open to the public (followed by a tour), plus coffee education classes and hands-on training (like “Milk Mechanics”) for both pros and coffee home fanatics through their Counter Intelligence program. 1329 64th Street, Emeryville.


Bluestem dining room; photo by Angie Silvy.

After the closure of Baker & Banker last year, chef Jeff Banker has reemerged as executive chef at ~BLUESTEM BRASSERIE~. He’ll be starting at the restaurant in late May and will launch his first new menu in August. The focus of the menu will remain on American brasserie classics, but with Banker’s own point of view and experience. He plans to work with the existing kitchen staff, with the possible addition of a chef de cuisine in the coming months.


The Fog City burger and fries, now $9 after 9pm. Photo courtesy of Fog City.

You a fan of the ~FOG CITY~ burger? You know the one: a classic burger with a well-proportioned patty, topped with housemade American cheese, smoked tomato aioli, tomato, onion, and dill pickles, all sandwiched into a King’s Hawaiian sweet bun. Well, it normally runs $17.50 (and comes with fries), but you can come in after 9pm any night and sit at the bar and get it for just $9. And the fries are still included. Just make sure you’re sitting at the bar.

Newcomer ~ICHI KAKIYA~ has started a happy hour, with $1 oysters Mon-Fri 5:30pm-7pm, sweet. And don’t forget ~ICHI SUSHI~ has a regular rotation of $3 skewers (like pork shoulder with rendered pork miso paste) and $6 share plates (Mon-Sat 5:30pm-7pm). Ichi Kakiya, 3369 Mission St. at Godeus. Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar
, 3282 Mission St. at 29th St.

Looking for a new spot for date night? ~THE ELITE CAFE~ is offering a three-course date night dinner every Thursday evening for $39 per person (tax and tip are extra). You’ll get to choose from three options for appetizer, entrée, and dessert, which chef James London will rotate often, and the price also includes a carafe of wine, white or red. Pretty cool, right? 2049 Fillmore St. at California, 415-673-5483.


Cooking with Rosetta. Photo: ©

~SPRUCE~ chef John Madriaga is teaching a Fruits de Mer cooking class on Saturday May 9th from 11:30am to 2:30pm (this would make an awesome early Mother’s Day gift or experience). The class will cover selecting and caring for seafood, along with preparation techniques. At the end of the class, you’ll sit down to a multicourse lunch with wine pairings, including dishes like abalone à la meunière and whole fried snapper. Tickets are $200 per person and include the class, lunch, wine pairings, and recipes to take home.

There are still more Italian cooking tricks to learn from Rosetta Costantino, and fortunately she’s got a whole slew of classes coming up. On Friday May 15th, check out Taste of Sicily at 6:30pm, or a Taste of Calabria on Saturday July 11th. Most of the classes are happening at Paulding and Company Kitchen in Emeryville, but check her website for individual class information and tickets.

Want Rosetta’s cooking but maybe want someone else to just cook it for you? You’re not lazy, you’re just relaxing. Fortunately, there’s a special dinner at ~VIA UNO~ in Half Moon Bay on Wednesday May 20th. Chef Giuseppe Sarubbi will be preparing dishes from Rosetta’s books, and she’ll be there, talking about the dishes and signing copies of the books. You can check out the menu here. The evening will begin at 6:30pm with cocktails, followed by the dinner, which costs $80 per person or $110 with wine pairings. Save your spot by calling the restaurant. 2810 Highway 1 North at Roosevelt, Half Moon Bay, 650-560-8858.


Cecilia Chiang in “Soul of a Banquet.” Photo via Facebook.

The Center for Asian American Media has released some new food-focused offerings for the month of May as part of its yearly celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. First, check out the documentary Soul of a Banquet, about local culinary hero Cecilia Chiang. Director Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club) has included interviews with Chiang herself, Ruth Reichl, and Alice Waters, and tells the story of Chiang’s life and culinary influence. You can also download it here.

There are also three documentaries that are part of “Filipino American Lives,” and Lucky Chow is a television series produced by CAAM. Each of the six episodes is an hour long, and follows Lucky Rice culinary festival founder Danielle Chang as she travels across the United States exploring Asian food and the people who cook it. Episodes include one about Northern Thai food, another on Koreatown in both Los Angeles and New York, and one entire episode devoted to the ramen craze. Check your local PBS listings for airtimes.


The bar at Starline Social Club. Photo from Facebook.


A plate from A Taste of Africa. Photo by Tasin Sabir via A Taste of Africa website.

By Dana Eastland. Oakland’s classic hall, ~THE STARLINE SOCIAL CLUB~, is reopening tomorrow, April 29th. The space, which is more than 100 years old, comes from a partnership of Sam White (one of the owners of Ramen Shop) and local artists Adam Hatch, Drew Bennet, and Eric Siemens. The space has an upstairs and a downstairs component, and each will serve a slightly different purpose. First, downstairs, there will be a bar and dining room serving dinner Wednesday through Sunday. Upstairs, you’ll find a music and events venue with an eclectic series of happenings, including live music, roller skating parties, and performance art projects. They’ve also installed a Meyer sound system to help meet all the different needs of the space. The bar is helmed by bar manager Crystal Wilson, who has previously worked at Duende and other East Bay watering holes. The cocktails will be a balance, White says, of really creative and interesting drinks (he mentioned one concoction with a salted rim and crème de banane) and well-executed classics like Manhattans. There will also be a tight selection of local wine and beer, which will likely change regularly.

As for food, chef Austin Holey is running the kitchen. He’s a Berkeley native and has also worked at Bones in Paris under James Henry. There will be a bar menu of approachable items that are always available, with items like shu mai-style dumplings, onion rings, and sandwiches, and then a heartier dinner menu. The dinner menu will change regularly and will give the kitchen the opportunity to highlight ingredients they’re especially excited about. White cites a Chez Panisse-style approach to their ingredient sourcing, with a focus on quality over quantity. For example, they may prepare a large cut of meat one evening, but once it’s gone, it’s gone until the next time they can get it. Downstairs hours are Wed-Sun 6pm-2am, and the kitchen will be open until 12am. Upstairs will open whenever an event is planned. 2236 Martin Luther King Jr. Way at West Grand, Oakland, 510-593-2109.

Back in November, we reported on ~OK FALLS~, the new project in Oakland from restaurateur Doug Washington. Well, word comes from Scoop that he has decided not to pursue OK Falls after all, citing his other projects in the works, including ongoing construction at Grand Fare. The OK Falls space is back on the market, so we’ll see what ends up there. 1544 Broadway at 17th St., Oakland.

East Bay Express reports that Cameroonian restaurant ~A TASTE OF AFRICA~ has reopened in East Oakland. Owner Malong Pendar originally had a restaurant in Berkeley, but it closed in 2010. Since then, he’s been popping up at bars and events, and this brick-and-mortar location is making his many fans quite happy. The menu offers combinations plates for vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters alike, including fish dishes, lamb stew, and stewed black-eyed peas with spinach and yams.

The new space has a small seating area for 20, but a large kitchen, which will allow Pendar to offer daily specials, and possible catering. Not only does his food look amazing, but there’s a pretty sweet story to his opening: last summer, he nearly closed down entirely due to financial concerns, but friends put together a crowdfunding campaign and he raised nearly $5,000 in three days. As Pendar says, “The community is like my heartbeat.” Let’s support him and get that heart rate up. The restaurant is currently softly open and only serving dinner, but weekend and lunch hours should be coming soon. Current hours are Tue-Fri 3pm-8:30pm. 6638 Bancroft Ave. at Havenscourt, Oakland, 510-938-2000.

April 21, 2015

And so it begins… Photo: taken by our charming server!


A view of the dining room facing the kitchen. Photo: Wes Rowe.


The “deviled egg.” Photo: ©


Chilled squid ink noodles. Photo: ©


Toast with warm ricotta. Photo: ©


Paccheri with clams. Photo: ©


Looking toward the front of Octavia. Photo: Wes Rowe.

San Francisco is already so fortunate to have the talented Melissa Perello and her restaurant Frances in our collection of culinary crown jewels, and now there is another ruby to add: ~OCTAVIA~. The corner location dates back to the 19th century, and was home to the Meetinghouse, the first Quince, and later Baker & Banker. Now, with the awnings taken down and the heavy carpeting and dark woods removed, it’s an airy and light-filled space. The dining room is larger than Frances and has a variety of seating options, from the more intimate tables in the corners to tables with a view of the open kitchen in the back. There are tall industrial black shelves used as partial dividers, reminding me a bit of a feature I love at Alta. The flower arrangements and display on the wall (from The Petaler) add to the natural attractiveness of the room.

The feeling is immediately comfortable and welcoming, with beautifully patterned wood tables (the wood was reclaimed from attorney Melvin Belli’s home, I hear), nubby cotton pillows on the banquettes, perfect warm lighting emitting from the droplights…the room hits the right notes of American design: a bit Shaker, rustic-chic, and farmhouse residential. Kudos to Michael Baushke of Apparatus Architecture on this transformation. Oh, and private dining will return to the downstairs soon.

Perello is having fun with this menu, and while it’s still rooted in her own breed of Cali cuisine, she is expanding the flavor profiles and presentation to a style that feels very au courant here. You will find an array of small plates, like chilled squid ink noodles ($6) covered with a flurry of Cortez bottarga. And it wouldn’t be an SF menu without some toast ($5): hers is so pretty, the buttery and golden Josey Baker levain spread with charred spring onion purée and warm housemade ricotta, with sprigs of cress on top.

Egg lovers will gravitate toward the spicy “deviled egg” ($4), the creamy yolk runs into a bed of Fresno chile relish and is covered in a blend of chiles and sesame—it reminded me of Istanbul with its notes of Marash and cumin. Grilled beef tongue ($8) in a bone marrow broth, just yes. You should just cover your table with a bunch of these plates, order one of beverage director Paul Einbund’s vermouth cocktails, and call it a party. Your eyes will be enchanted, your palate abundantly compensated.

True appetizer-sized plates include a vibrant green garlic fumet ($9) made with halibut, and Melissa’s salads are always on point, like one with Bloomsdale spinach ($11), toasted walnut vinaigrette, and Piave Vecchio. Her pasta dish is currently paccheri ($13) loaded with plump clams, shaved garlic, and fennel pollen pangrattato (you want to get this, trust). Larger plates run from stuffed quail to perfectly cooked spring lamb to halibut ($24-$28) and a dry-aged rib-eye (AQ).

Desserts from pastry chef Sarah Bonar are abundant and include a playful creamsicle float with housemade Meiwa kumquat soda ($8) and a toasted fennel pollen genoise ($8) with Albion strawberries and Meyer lemon sherbet, plus three more that will give you pause. Don’t forget the list of Madeiras, either.

We only came in on night three, and were so impressed with the depth of flavors, the balance, and dialed seasoning we found in our feast. Dishes are refined but approachable and rooted—it’s like the elevated home cooking of your dreams, kind of how you’d imagine a French-trained chef would cook at their California cabin on a weekend off. How can something be casual and soigné at the same time? Perello hits it.

Everything is served on gorgeous pottery by Sarah Kersten, who custom made the pieces for the restaurant, joined by well-selected mismatched silver. Service is warm and attentive—regulars will recognize some Frances servers on the floor. The wine list is definitely larger, with plenty of inspired selections for you in all budgets (if you want to go deep and rare, you can here), and is primarily a love letter from Europe. It’s everything you want in a neighborhood restaurant. The experience is so soulful, and leaves you so very content and feeling quite lucky to live in San Francisco. Because we are.

Reservations are recommended, and there will also be seats reserved for walk-ins. Dinner nightly 5pm-10:30pm.


The dining room. Photo: Charlie Villyard.


Pinxtos flight. Photo: Charlie Villyard.


Patatas bravas. You really should order these. Photo: ©


Your new late-night dish: Spanish fried rice. Photo: ©

On Friday April 17th, ~AATXE~ (say “aah-CHAY”) opened on the ground floor of the Swedish American Hall and Cafe du Nord, a project in conjunction with the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group and the Bon Vivants. This Spanish- and Basque-inspired restaurant has chef Ryan Pollnow at the helm (he was previously the chef de cuisine at Central Kitchen), and you can expect some Cali flair and ingredients to be integrated in the dishes. Pollnow has traveled and cooked in the Basque Country and is inspired to re-create the region’s convivial feeling around food.

The space is designed to be communal and energetic and is divided into two areas. First there’s the bar, with a marble top and comfortable stools in cordovan with bent cane backs, where you will find some of the Bon Vivants magic, sporting a selection of aperitivos ($10) and cocktails ($12, or $43 in a carafe for your party of four). The Rooster’s Song (Lustau gran reserva brandy, Cappelletti, Byrrh, and tomato tincture) was a deep vermilion, and about as spiritous as a Negroni—a beautiful start. There’s a Big gin and tonic on tap, and wait until you see the back of the menu with the color wheel of gins available. Drink up and make Nick and Nora proud.

There’s a communal table in the back, with tile on the walls that give it the old-world vibe of some of the cool spaces I saw in Lisbon. The second room is where you’ll see the open kitchen, surrounded with eight stools, and then there’s a 50-seat dining room with its classic and handsome look (a white oak herringbone-patterned floor, banquettes, classic bistro chairs, copper-topped tables, and chic trapezoidal light fixtures). Throughout the space you’ll find some ledges where you can stand (and wait). The design is by Claro Design/Stellah De Ville. It took me a little bit to figure out where all this ground-floor space came from: it was formerly the café, and the bar area was where some offices were. Hopefully this helps you feeling less puzzled than I was when you first walk in.

Pollnow’s menu starts with an array of pintxos like borage leaf croquettes and a classic gilda (a spear of anchovy, olive, and a green bean in this case)—you can get all four for $11. (I’d love it if the kitchen sent out platters of them to the bar area for spontaneous snacking.) I’d recommend a sherry for these dishes, and there are also some conservas (mussels escabeche, etc.) that would also play nicely with the aperitivos. There’s housemade charcuterie, like the spicy lomo and a chorizo dark with guajillo chile, and a few Spanish cheeses.

Tapas-sized plates include tender gambas (shrimp) in garlicky oil ($13) and double-fried patatas bravas ($8.50), which turned me around on a dish I have long ago stopped ordering. Pollnow’s version completely rocks. And the Spanish fried rice ($14) shows the kitchen’s playfulness in a dish that is going to become my new late-night craving: diced chorizo, rapini, and salt cod tortilla are mixed into this rice, and it had great texture, almost like a paella’s socarrat. There are some larger cazuelas (lamb albondigas and pork cheek with morcilla chickpeas), $22-$24. There will also be a dessert each night (we had a very pretty crema Catalana) or you can go for their Spanish coffee with rum and cream.

The varied wine selections include a number of smaller Spanish producers, with lots of whites, and range from the delicate to the bold. You’ll be in good hands for pairings.

Dinner Sun-Thu 5:30pm-11pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-12am. Reservations and walk-ins welcome. 2170 Market St. at Sanchez, 415-471-2977.

Just a quick note: I hear the downstairs Cafe du Nord space is coming along, and they hope to open the bar in a month or so. There will be a different menu than Aatxe, more American in style—we’ll have details on it all soon.


The new home of Marlowe Burger. Photo by Patricia Chang.


The Marlowe burger, with fries of course. Photo by Eric Wolfinger.

A report by Dana Eastland. ~MARLOWE BURGER~ from the Marlowe team is now open, in the original Marlowe space—just look for the spray-painted “burger” on the sign. As previously reported, Jennifer Puccio, James Nicholas, and Anna Weinberg moved Marlowe from Townsend to the former Coco 500 space, and originally had plans to open a burger window at the new location, serving burgers and fries to go. However, construction on 4th Street has been so intense and demand has been so high that they decided to open Marlowe Burger instead.

It’s styled like a fast-food restaurant, with lots of steel, bright pops of red, and burgers served in fun foil bags with graphic check boxes indicating the contents. They even have chicken nuggets ($10) with the same slightly fluffy textured meat of the Happy Meal childhood fave. You order at the counter and can get your goods to go or dine on a stool at one of the counters or the communal table.

The menu is tightly edited, with their classic burger ($10.50), a kid’s version ($8), a fried chicken sandwich ($10.50), and some non-sandwich items including fries ($4) and deviled eggs ($2 each). The beer and wine license is in full force, with wines available by the glass (one white, one red, one rosé, all $8 a glass) and beers in cans (prices range from $5 to $7), including selections from 21st Amendment and Anchor.

The doors officially opened on Monday April 20th, and hours are Mon 11am-3pm, Tue-Fri 11am-9pm, Sat 5pm-10pm, closed Sun. 330 Townsend St. at 4th St., 415-974-5599.


Upstairs seating at Tony’s Slice House. Photo courtesy of Slice House.


A classic slice from Tony’s Slice House. Photo courtesy of Slice House.


The Del Popolo truck. Photo: ©

We reported that Tony Gemignani was opening a ~SLICE HOUSE~ on 2nd Street, in the former Ironside, and look at that, it’s now open!

The 49-seat, bi-level loft location really didn’t change much, but the menu is definitely all new. You can come by for slices (New York, Sicilian, and grandma-style), and there is also a whole section of the menu dedicated to artisan ancient-grain pizzas (a blend of Tony’s 00 flour, spelt, semolina, sprouted grain, and whole wheat)—available in a 13-inch size—and there’s an ancient-grain pasta salad, too, made with Khorasan wheat. There are a couple of housemade pasta options (bucatini, gemelli), salads, and some apps like chicken wings and coccoli (fried dough balls with salumi and burrata, oh yeah).

It’s worth noting that during baseball games, Slice House will offer a limited menu of slices and sandwiches, all ready for takeout, returning to a full menu post-game. The restaurant will also stay open late after evening games to accommodate fans. Open for breakfast (with a stuffed breakfast sandwich on the menu, with eggs, cheddar, and mozzarella with choice of prosciutto, bacon, or sausage—or onion and sautéed mushroom), lunch, and dinner 8am-10pm daily; brunch service will begin in early May. Beer and wine are also available, plus you can order delivery through Caviar (that link will hook up first-time users with $15 off your order, FYI!). 680 2nd St. at Townsend, 415-872-9680.

An ABC permit filing hit the wires for ~DEL POPOLO~, and sure enough, Jon Darsky is going to be opening a brick-and-mortar companion to his shipping container pizzeria on wheels. Inside Scoop confirms Darsky plans to open the location later this year, and he’ll be adding some other dishes like antipasti and salads too. With Stookey’s Club Moderne conveniently a half block away, this will be the perfect one-two night! 855 Bush St. at Taylor.


Jars of housemade preserves line the walls at Buttermilk Southern Kitchen. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


Taps and the bar menu at Buttermilk. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

A report from Dana Eastland. As we noted in September, the corner of 23rd Street and Bryant is about to get a new spot: ~BUTTERMILK SOUTHERN KITCHEN~. It comes from partners Miguel de Ocampo and Jaime Chavez, who met in culinary school. I had a chance to chat with de Ocampo this week and got some updates on their plans.

The space, a former laundromat, will be softly opening today, Tuesday April 21st. De Ocampo is quick to point out that not only is he a San Francisco native, but they also want the restaurant to fit well within the neighborhood. Almost all dishes are less than $18, and many are less than $10, and they’ve made an effort to hire from within the neighborhood, including a former employee of the laundromat. This is understandable, since they’ve already been tagged with anti-gentrification graffiti and want to avoid some of the drama that befell nearby Local’s Corner.

As the name suggests, Buttermilk is all about Southern food, with starters like a chicken liver pâté served with housemade pickles and marmalade ($8); barbecued prawns with seasonal succotash ($10); and potato chips with pimento cheese dip ($6). For entrées, look for an oxtail hash ($15); chicken and waffles ($14); and a smoked and smothered pork chop ($21). They also have a selection of sides, including mac and cheese ($6); biscuits ($5); and whipped sweet potatoes with goat cheese ($5). As for brunch, some of the same dishes make an appearance, along with a breakfast sandwich ($8); several Benedict varieties ($13-$17); and shrimp and grits ($16). Most items are made in-house, including house-cured bacon and the housemade pickles and preserves that line the walls.

They’ll be open for lunch and dinner during the week, and weekend brunch is in the works. There’s ample outdoor seating, as well as a comfortable bar with eight beers on tap (including selections from Abita, Coronado, and North Coast), wine, and sweet tea. For now, hours are Mon-Fri lunch 10am-5pm, dinner 5pm-10pm, Sat-Sun brunch 9am-3pm and dinner 5pm-10pm. They’re currently softly open, though, so those hours may change according to demand. It’s advised to give a call before heading over. The grand opening should come in a few weeks. 2848 23rd St. at Bryant, 415-341-1031.


The sign at Spice Jar. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

It looks like there is a taker for the former Local’s Corner space, which closed late last year. It’s called ~THE SPICE JAR~ according to a note in the window of the restaurant, and comes from owner Ryuichi Hamada.

They’ll be serving pan-Asian comfort food, with an emphasis on local ingredients. Think noodles, rice, and spices like garlic, ginger, and chiles, but locally sourced. Details are a bit limited at the moment, but we hear they are planning to open at the end of May. The space is currently papered over, but it sounds like a quick turnaround. They do, however, plan to add a hood to the kitchen so they can have access to a stove, which will be new for the space. We’ll keep you updated. 2500 Bryant St. at 23rd St., 415-829-3668.


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

A report by Dana Eastland. The big news this week is a major merger of two of San Francisco’s biggest players in artisanal products: Blue Bottle and Tartine Bakery. The two businesses both trace their roots to 2002, when Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt opened Tartine and James Freeman started selling his coffee beans. Now, Tartine will become part of Blue Bottle, but will maintain its identity as an independent entity, with Robertson as CEO. Prueitt will remain executive pastry chef. In addition to the upcoming project in the Heath building in the Mission and the new partnership between the two brands in Tokyo, they will also be expanding to Los Angeles and New York (did you just hear the cheers nationwide?). In the coming months, Tartine will begin serving Blue Bottle coffee exclusively, and Blue Bottle will incorporate Tartine breads and pastry into their menus.

As for what this all means, obviously some are already concerned with what this kind of growth can mean for a place as artisanal as Tartine. But it’s also exciting to think about how two such quintessentially Bay Area companies can help each other grow and take our local values global. This also has the potential to be huge for Tartine employees, who will now have different opportunities to grow with the company that wouldn’t have been available before.

The other piece of exciting news here is that ~BAR TARTINE~ is being sold to head chefs Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns. Rather than try to keep the restaurant within the larger company, Robertson and Prueitt decided to sell to the pair, according to The New York Times. Congratulations to everyone involved, and we look forward to seeing how these businesses grow.

This being San Francisco, there is plenty more news in coffee land too. Hoodline reports that ~REPOSE COFFEE~ has opened on Divisadero. This is the second location for the café, which has another location in Sebastopol. They are serving Ritual coffee and a small food menu of salads, panini, and gluten-free quesadillas, with pastries coming soon. They also have beer and wine. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-4pm, Sat 8am-6pm, Sun 9am-4pm. 262 Divisadero St. at Haight, 415-874-9110.

It looks like the ~PHILZ~ empire is growing, with a location in 5 Embarcadero Center. Hoodline reports that permits for construction have been filed for a space in the building, though no one at Philz is talking about the exact location or their plans, so we’ll just have to keep an eye on this one. 5 Embarcadero Center at Market.

Did you know that local chef Dennis Leary started roasting his own coffee beans? He did! His microroasting operation is called Aleph Coffee, and Sprudge has a fun interview with him on learning to roast; he even hints at a possible café someday.


The exterior of the former Dell’Uva. Yelp photo by Jk.

Teague Kernan of Tupelo has a new project in North Beach, called ~BELLE CORA~, opening in the former Dell’Uva space. The name refers to the novel by Phillip Margulies about a notorious madam from the 19th century, and Kernan says the restaurant “will be a comfortable, inviting place to come share drinks and food.” Chef John Kenner’s menu will focus on lighter dishes, with an emphasis on vegetable-driven preparations (he’s vegan). Don’t worry, though, they’ll play nice with meatier items, too, and everything will be designed for sharing. The wine list features about 25 bottles from consultant Paulina Krol, and it’s intended to be approachable and affordable. Craft beers will also figure prominently.

The space has been designed with assistance from Julie Brown of Re:Design and will be warm and inviting, with some nods to the neighborhood’s history and old-world ambience. They will be taking full advantage of the restaurant’s great outdoor seating, too—sidewalk tables will definitely be available. The plan is to open in early June, but they are realistic about how long construction and permits may take. 565 Green St. at Columbus.

Hoodline caught the details on ~ACQUOLINA~, the new project moving into the former Café Divine space. It comes from a trio of Italians from Livorno—Rutilio Duràn (who you may recognize from C’era Una Volta Ristorante Italiano in Alameda), Marco Marianelli, and Dario Nicotra—and will be serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. They’ll have eggs and a breakfast pizza in the mornings, with pizza and pasta at lunch. At dinner, you’ll also find meat and seafood plates. The wine list is mostly Italian, with selections priced for everyday consumption as well as special occasion choices. They’ve got a special stone-lined oven for pizza and an imported Stylema machine for espresso. They want to appeal to a broad range of diners, including families with kids and those looking for a date night. The bar is having some adjustments made to it so it will be easier to dine at. They’re currently planning to open the first week of May. 1600 Stockton St. at Union.


Pupusas from Los Panchos. Yelp photo by Jose U.


The retro fabulous counter at Orphan Andy’s. Photo: ©


Just try saying no to this pork chop at Vietnam Restaurant after a night on the town. Yelp photo by Debbie L.

Last week, one of my posts for Refinery 29 (The Best Late-Night Spots—Courtesy of Bay Area Night Owls) went live, but unfortunately the editors had to cut some content from my original piece. I am including the people and pieces that got cut here, because there were too many great contributors and fab ideas for late-night eats for me to let them stay on the cutting room floor!

As you (hopefully) know, I have a late-night dining app, with 95 places open past 11pm in SF! While I am trying to get a new app developer so I can update it with all the very latest and greatest spots, there are still a bunch of classic and tasty places on there, so check it out!

Thanks to everyone who took the time to share your favorite spots with me! Thanks for doing your part to support our late-night dining scene. See you on the town!

Name: Sonya Molodetskaya
Profession: Fashion advocate, writer for Haute Living magazine, eats out every night
Late-Night Spot: Gem in the Financial District—Louie’s Bar (55 Stevenson St. at 1st St.)
3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
Hidden in the alley, which makes this place intimate, especially in a late hour. Open till 2am and food is served till 1am. Brick interior with great photographs on the walls make this place charming with a twist. Classic bar food, famous for potato skins, fries, and burgers. Great choice of beers. Superchill bartenders and friendly crowd. Did I mention it’s next door to where I live?!

Name: Jeffrey Paradise
Profession: Record Player, half of daytime disco group Poolside
Late-Night Spot: Los Panchos (3206 Mission St. at Fair)
3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
For me, this is hands down my favorite late-night food spot; as far as I can tell there isn’t any competition (though I wish there was). I order two cheese pupusas with rice and beans. The pupusas are good, the curtido is great, the superspicy watery salsa is somehow perfect when you’re drunk, the ladies who work there are awesome and don’t give a fuck about you unless you speak a little Spanish, the music is typically blasting, the decor is very festive, etc. It seems like a lot of service industry people who work at Latin bars and clubs and mariachi guys come here after work. I’ve been there when the whole restaurant erupts in song to the banda-type music blasting.

Name: Dottie Lux
Profession: Burlesque performer and producer
Late-Night Spot: King of Thai Noodle (multiple locations)
3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
After a night of telling dirty jokes and watching tassels swing I work up quite a hunger. Red Hots Burlesque has four shows a week all over SF and we are always near enough to a King of Thai Noodle. I love that the food here is always fresh and delicious—the hardest part is deciding what to order. I’m a Pisces, so decisions are hard in general, luckily this SF restaurant chain accommodates my ever-changing moods. Noodle, rice, beef, vegetarian; they’ve got it all. The portions are large and sharing dishes is easy. Large and easy; yep, this is the place for me.

Name: Melissa Perfit
Profession: Executive Chef, Bar Crudo
Late-Night Spot: Vietnam Restaurant (620 Broadway at Grant)
3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
I love this spot because it stays open till 3am and serves solid Vietnamese food to ease a drunken hungry stomach. A big bowl of pho and some spring rolls are my favorites. You might have to wait 30 minutes for your food, but there’s no shortage of drunken characters to keep you entertained while you wait. The owners of this hole in the wall take no shit while they dish out food into the wee hours.

Name: Mika Takeuchi
Profession: Creator of Food Fashionista + Digital Media Marketing Consultant
Late-Night Spot: Nopa (560 Divisadero at Hayes) 3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
Nopa is an obvious late-night choice because it’s consistent, solid, and always satisfies. In the wee hours when your dining choices usually consist of greasy mystery meals, I like that Nopa offers high-quality local ingredients and a variety of meat and vegetable dishes. The wood-baked giant white beans dish is a favorite, along with the smoked trout and grass-fed cheeseburger. And I’m guilty of never leaving without ordering a dessert…or two. The chocolate pot de crème with a touch of sea salt and olive oil is always a sweet way to end the evening.

Name: Marke Bieschke Profession: Publisher,
Late-Night Spot: Orphan Andy’s (3991 17th St. at Castro)
3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
Despite an insane party schedule, I hardly ever go out in the Castro. But the cheap diner is a dying breed in SF. And a 24-hour one, staffed by men in kilts, frying up a juicy double cheeseburger with a fried egg on top, served by itself on a little plate? Pretty much extinct. So I’ll make the trek. (Sometimes I even wake up in the middle of the night and go.)

Name: Donovan Unks (or The Dapper Diner)
Profession: Cancer Research or Semi-Professional Eater and Professional Liver Abuser
Late-Night Spot: Vietnam Restaurant (620 Broadway at Grant)
3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
I like drinking in North Beach, and late night usually means 2:30am, so lucky for me, Vietnam is open until 3am. While most people go for a burger at the packed Sam’s next door, I duck into Vietnam to watch the old grandma cooking on the grill, because she has to know what she’s doing, right? It doesn’t matter, because I’m too drunk to care. I’ll go with the grilled pork over rice (com thit nuong), crispy imperial rolls (cha gio), barbecued pork banh mi, or beef ball pho, and pray I have money since it’s cash only.


Tea leaf salad from Rangoon Ruby. Yelp photo by Andrew W.

As we reported back in February, local mini-chain ~RANGOON RUBY~ took over the former Sushi Rock space on Polk Street. According to Chowhounds, the space is now open, serving Burmese staples like tea leaf salad, noodles, and stews. You can peruse the menu right here. 1608 Polk St. at Sacramento, 415-610-4333.

Hayes Valley’s ~OTORO SUSHI~ (noisy link warning) is moving to larger digs, according to Hoodline. It turns out that owner Jimmy Shen has been looking for a larger space for a while now, and when neighbors Bai Thong Thai decided it was time to retire, he nabbed the space on Gough. Sushi chef Fukuji Sugai will stay onboard through the move as well. No word yet on an exact timeline or who might be moving into the original Otoro space. 205 Oak St. at Gough, 415-553-3986.

In February, we reported on the opening of ~TAVARES~ in the Mason space in Potrero. Now, Eater has additional details of the colorful restaurant, including fun photos. This is the San Francisco outpost of the café, which also has a location in São Paolo. 300 De Haro St. at 16th St., 415-558-9461.


Jersey, looking toward the front of the restaurant. ©

~LOCAL MISSION EATERY~ has made some changes to their menu’s format, Eater reports. Sister bakery Knead Patisserie, which is located in the back of the restaurant, is now running the show during weekday lunch. You’ll find hand pies, savory pastries, salads, and sandwiches at lunch. In the evenings, Local Mission has a newly revamped menu with a new focus on small dishes and snacking, with many items less than $10. They’re also now offering a tasting menu for $58 per person. It starts with a selection of snacks, followed by six courses. A vegetarian option is also available.

According to an announcement on Instagram, pizza shop ~JERSEY~ is now offering breakfast. Monday through Friday from 7am to 10am you can try their breakfast items, including a pizza with eggs and a choice of smoked salmon or prosciutto, a breakfast sandwich, and yogurt with seasonal fruit and granola. 145 2nd St. at Minna, 415-912-1502.


A report by Dana Eastland: Do you like a good road trip? What about one that involves delicious food stops along the way? Yep, me too! Don’t miss Brigit Binns’s latest book, Sunset Eating Up the West Coast. It’s all about great routes to take for those who like to eat while they travel, and includes fun pictures, hot tips, and fun photos of Ms. Binns and her darling pooch, Stella, on their travels.

I actually had a chance to check it out during a recent road trip to Portland (accompanied by my own black and white pup, no less), and it’s a handy, handsome guide. We ended up having an excellent seafood feast based on the book’s recommendations—but more on that later. The book will be released on Tuesday April 28th. Then, on Saturday May 2nd, Ms. Binns and Stella will be at Book Passage in the Ferry Building from 12:30pm to 1:30pm to celebrate California Bookstore Day. Ferry Building Plaza at Embarcadero, 415-835-1020.


The Koja combo from Koja Kitchen. Yelp photo by Keerati C.

Changes are afoot at ~PUBLIC MARKET EMERYVILLE~, which is currently undergoing major renovation. Two new food tenants have signed onto the space’s newly revamped food hall, ~KOJA KITCHEN~ and ~SHIBA RAMEN~. (For more information on Shiba, check out this great article from East Bay Express on the owners.) The food hall’s renovation includes new design elements like reclaimed wood, tile, rolled steel panels, and a living wall, in addition to a new children’s play area. The renovations should be completed in late summer. 5959 Shellmound St. at 59th St., Emeryville, 510-652-9300.

Berkeleyside Nosh reports that a new diner is opening in Oakland’s Laurel District, called ~SEQUOIA DINER~. It’s opening in the former Full House Café space and is from partners Andrew Vennari and Sequoia Broderson, who both have restaurant experience at places like Camino and Duende. The restaurant will highlight housemade items, like sausage, bacon, bread, pastries, and jam, and local products will be featured. They’ll be open daily for breakfast and lunch, from 8am to 2pm, and plan to open this spring. 3719 MacArthur Blvd. at Loma Vista, Oakland, 510-482-3719.