Two pro-kitchen newbies are taking over food service at the Mission's proto-Irish bar Clooney's, dubbing themselves The Galley. Business partners Justin Navarro and Kevin Morin took over the Clooney's kitchen at the beginning of January, and have been doing construction in the space. "We've been taking down shelves, reorganizing things, and doing cleaning," Navarro tells SFoodie. "Lots and lots of cleaning."
Taking over the kitchen? Like SFoodie, you may have been clueless that Clooney's even had one. "Calling it 'underused' is an understatement," Navarro tells SFoodie. Clooney's owner Dan Lyons told Navarro and Morin they could do pretty much whatever they wanted in the kitchen. They've tried to make it as functional as a ship's galley, which, of course, inspired the name.
Navarro and Morin held a sort of friends and family roll-out a couple of Fridays ago. This weekend is their soft launch, with lunch and dinner continuously from 11 a.m. till 10 p.m., or whenever the orders dry up. "If people want food, we'll stay open," Navarro says. A grand opening is on the calendar for Feb. 19.
Morin, who tends bar two nights a week at Grumpy's, is primarily the business guy. It's Navarro ― a coffee shop manager and dedicated home cook ― who came up with the menu. So far, that includes beef tongue and mushrooms on house-made flat bread, a French onion sandwich (onions cooked with beef broth, with roast beef and provolone), a grilled PBJ with jam Navarro makes himself, and baby-back ribs. Navarro calls it "alternative pub food." The menu will be the same at lunch and dinner, plus a daily special.
"The only thing we don't do is the fryer," Navarro says. "I'm really against frying food, unless it's done well." Then again, he says, "anything tastes good thrown in the deep fryer."
The Galley at Clooney's: 1401 Valencia (at 25th St.). Soft launch Fri.-Sat., Feb. 11-12, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.