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News for Restaurants in San Francisco
September 2015 Archive

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Want to know who's doing what in your city? Gayot has the restaurant news you want to read on openings, closings, special events, and more. Learn everything you need to know about the restaurants in San Francisco here.



NINEBARK is a new Napa restaurant and rooftop bar and lounge NINEBARK is a new Napa restaurant and rooftop bar and lounge in the Thomas & Fagiani's space on Main Street. The restaurant features three floors of "airy, garden-driven design," and includes an open kitchen, chef's table, rooftop garden and casually elegant bar, lounge and dining areas. The chef is Matthew Lightner (Atera, Mugaritz, Castagna), who has formed a partnership with the AvroKO design group, owners of PUBLIC, The Daily, Saxon + Parole, Madam Geneva and GENUINE Roadside. NINEBARK is their first collaboration together, with more on the way. NINEBARK, 813 Main St., Napa, CA 94559, 707-226-7821.
Sessions at the Presidio is a new 3,500-square-foot craft brewpub and dining room inside the Letterman Digital Arts Center --- Lucasfilm's San Francisco campus --- just inside the Presidio's Chestnut Street gate. Heading the team are executive chef Michael Bilger and GM Evin Gelleri, whose shared love of "session" ales --- flavorful, yet low in alcohol --- led to the concept. Brews include some small-batch beers crafted on-site, guest homebrews and upwards of 100 domestic and international craft beers. Cuisine is robust, seasonal and shareable, and includes many ingredients from organic Skywalker Ranch in Marin County. Skywalker Ranch wines are also on a short wine list (that includes 10 choices on tap); craft cocktails under the direction of Peter Ziegler round out the beverage program. Also, notably, Sessions employs the tip-free service model, applying an automatic 20 percent charge to each tab. Lunch Mon.-Fri., Dinner nightly, Brunch Sat.-Sun. Sessions at the Presidio, 1 Letterman Dr., San Francisco, CA 94129, 415-655-9413.
Sam's Grill has a classy new outdoor bar and lounge on Belden Alley. Called Sam's Seafood Alley, the concept is a modern, al fresco addition to the San Francisco restaurant with its private wooden booths and white tablecloths (and history dating back to 1867). A wood burl bar provides a centerpoint under the outdoor lounge's protective awning, and the space features hardwood flooring and lounge and table seating for about 40 (first come, first served). Cocktails, craft beers, chowder, crab rolls and raw bar offerings make for an appealing after-work menu. Sam's Seafood Alley also has a happy hour that runs every weekday from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Call Sam's Grill for more detail. Lunch & Dinner Mon.-Fri. Sam's Seafood Alley, 374 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94104, 415-421-0594.
A casual Italian restaurant is nearing completion in the Outer Richmond. Called Fiorella and headed up by owner Boris Nemchenok (Uva Enoteca, and New York's Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria), who grew up in that neighborhood, and chef-partner Brandon Gillis (Brooklyn's Franny's), the 40-seat restaurant will offer fresh pastas, pizza, crostini and antipasti, as well as Italian wine varietals from boutique Italian and domestic producers. Look for a January 2016 opening. Fiorella, 2339 Clement St., San Francisco, CA 94121, no phone.
The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, has an opulent new wine tasting lounge from winemaker Jean-Charles Boisset. The JCB Tasting Lounge is a small, sumptuous enclave off the hotel's lobby, featuring an interior and accessories designed by Boisset himself. Flights of limited, boutique wines, light, luxury bites from Parallel 37's chef de cuisine Michael Rotondo and options of cheeses, caviar and more are provided. The lounge also has a retail space with merchandise from Baccarat, Christofle, Goyard and others, and concierge services for wine lovers that reach into San Francisco, wine country and beyond. Open daily. The JCB Tasting Lounge, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, 600 Stockton St., San Francisco, CA 94108, 415-296-7465.
Casual Cal-Med restaurant Oro at 8 Mint Plaza has opened. The project from Jason Fox, executive chef and owner of Commonwealth, together with Timothy Felkner, owner of consultancy firm Vigilante Hospitality, features individual and shareable plates from chef de cuisine Travis Day (Central Kitchen, Yoshi's). Specialties include whole animal butchery, charcuterie (coppa de testa, salami cotto, rabbit rillettes) and a "blind" chef's tasting experience of off-menu items, served family-style. The beverage program is headed up by some big names, including wine director Kelly Evans, most recently of Saison. Oro, 8 Mint Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94103, 415-974-1212.

News Bytes

Café de la Presse Closed Temporarily
Laurent Manrique's Café de la Presse is temporarily closed for renovations and has scheduled a late October reopening. Those looking for an authentic French fix in the meantime might consider a visit to Manrique's nearby property, Aquitaine. Café de la Presse, 352 Grant Ave., San Francisco, CA 94108, 415-398-2680.
Terrapin Crossroads serves a prix-fixe family dinner every Monday night Monday Family Dinners at Terrapin Crossroads
Terrapin Crossroads serves a prix-fixe family dinner every Monday night from 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., featuring varying specials such as fish ‘n’ chips, taco, pasta or pizza dinners meant to be shared. Prices differ for adults and children, and there are à la carte draft beer or house wine options for an additional $5. The casual Marin County restaurant and live music venue is owned by Grateful Dead member Phil Lesh, and known for crowd-pleasing seasonal cuisine. Terrapin Crossroads, 100 Yacht Club Dr., San Rafael, CA 94901, 415-524-2773.
Win a Coastal Bistro in Northern California
Mendo Bistro in Fort Bragg, California, in Mendocino County, is looking for a new owner and holding a contest to see who might have what it takes. The restaurant, owned and operated by chef Nicholas Petti, has 88 seats, coastal views and a reputation as a local and visitor's favorite. Petti, who is moving into a career as a college professor, would like to give a prospective owner without much capital the same opportunity he was given when he opened the bistro in 1999. Entrants must submit a 250-word essay (and $100 entry fee) by December 18, 2015, limited to 7,500 entrants. Visit for details.

Chef Shuffle

Jeff Banker is now executive chef of Bluestem Brasserie. Banker, a California native, is well known locally for his now-closed restaurant Baker & Banker --- a collaboration with his wife, pastry chef Lori Baker --- and was also executive chef of former restaurant Home for three years. His modern-brasserie menus at Bluestem maintain the restaurant's focus on seasonal, local ingredients and whole animal butchery, including house-made charcuterie and salumi, in small, large and share plates. Vegetables and fish also receive Banker's full attention in dishes such as pan-seared McFarland trout with succotash, marinated calamari and black garlic rouille, and seasonal vegetable maccheroni with slow-roasted San Marzano tomato sauce, eggplant purée, goat cheese and Calabrian chili bread crumbs. Bluestem Brasserie, One Yerba Buena Ln., San Francisco, CA 94103, 415-547-1111.


Three years after purchasing Pascal Rigo's La Boulange Bakery brand for $100 million, Starbucks has shuttered the La Boulange cafés located around the Bay Area. The cornflower blue awnings and signage of La Boulange bakery-cafés graced most of San Francisco's tonier neighborhoods, and the chain's quality baked goods had fed café-goers and provided picnics for locals since French-born Rigo founded the first La Boulange on Pine Street in 1996. Now, La Boulange baked goods fill the shelves of Starbucks, but Rigo has left Starbucks and his cafés are no longer a part of Bay Area culture. We look forward to seeing what will come next for him in either the baking or restaurant realm.
Nojo in Hayes Valley has closed. Chef-owner Greg Dunmore has sold the restaurant to a Japanese conglomerate and will stay on as consulting chef when the new incarnation opens October 1, 2015. Stay tuned for more details.
Oakland's Bay Wolf closed in August. Newly-retired owners Michael Wild and Michael Phelps, both 75, wished their longtime East Bay community "abundant joy" in a heartfelt Facebook farewell. The restaurant was a leading destination for seasonal California bistro cuisine since its inception in 1975.

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