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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Details about Radio Africa & Kitchen's Full-Time Bayview Eatery

Posted By on Tue, Jun 8, 2010 at 12:27 PM

click to enlarge Radio Africa's Eskender Aseged hopes to open in September. - LINDSAY
  • Lindsay
  • Radio Africa's Eskender Aseged hopes to open in September.
When Eskender Aseged began offering dinners under the name Radio Africa & Kitchen six years ago, he taught a lot of San Franciscans what a pop-up was. Now, as Aseged readies his first brick-and-mortar restaurant, in Bayview, he hopes to redefine the notion of a community-rooted business.

Last month, Grub Street reported a tip that Radio Africa had scored space at 4800 Third St. (at Oakdale), after Yats bowed out. Today, Aseged told us he hopes that when Radio Africa & Kitchen opens in September (barring delays), it'll feel like the opposite of gentrification. The site is newly constructed, part of the developing Bayview Town Center development. But Aseged, who's spent three years doing pop-up dinners in the Mission at Coffee Bar, is sensitive about being tagged an outsider.

"I don't want to be labeled," Aseged says. "I really want to get everyone in the community out here involved." To that end, he's been making a point to meet everyone he can find in Bayview for the past few weeks, homeless and homeowners alike, trying to establish his presence in the largely African American neighborhood.

Eskender Aseged. - RADIO AFRICA & KITCHEN
  • Radio Africa & Kitchen
  • Eskender Aseged.
To that end, Aseged is partnering with the city to develop an empty lot across the street into a community garden he hopes will eventually be able to sell greens and other produce to Radio Africa & Kitchen. Aseged calls it an "edible park."

The menu will explore cuisines of the African diaspora, without being strictly theme-y. Coffee and pastries in the morning, followed by lunches offering salads and sandwiches filled with roast turkey, grilled flank steak. "We don't want to be too different," Aseged says. During the week, dinner will offer oxtails with polenta, roasted chicken with roasted vegetables (he hopes to keep dinner entrees under $14). Eventually, he'll introduce his signature Cal-Cuisine versions of Moroccan, Egyptian, and Ethiopoan dishes Aseged is best known for. Thursday through Saturday, Aseged plans to offer the fixed-price dinners he's best known for ― the kind of dinners Aseged will continue, for now, Friday nights at Coffee Bar.

Follow us on Twitter: @SFoodie. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

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