Horner's Corner launched this month, and at first glance is a spiffed up improvement over the Noe's Bar & Basso's restaurant that was there. According to the restaurant's blog, there was an opening chef in place who has since parted ways with the owners. The bar half at Horner's Corner may be a draw for drinks and sports watching via TV, but food-wise the British pub-style options sound good if a tad spendy given the casual digs: melty beef short ribs, pizza, brick chicken, salads, burgers and local cod & chips with a bottle of vinegar on every table to insure authenticity. On a recent weeknight, I ordered the fish and chips because the fries were of the usually desirable Kennebec variety and the overall dish proved to be good and huge.
There were culinary flourishes with local and organic ingredients: halved and fried lemons with the fish & chips (never seen that one before but it works and the lemons stayed juicy) and finely chopped parsley on the plate rims that does add visual appeal even if it's a bit retro.
Budget eats for kids have my interest because there aren't many places where $5 nabs a hearty entrée, juice, and ice cream with optional chocolate sauce -- a bargain considering most cups of ice cream locally weigh in at $2 or more and you'll definitely pay extra for sauce. The pepperoni pizza turned out to be pleasing and big enough to share on a kids' order although the crust had a little too much droop. There are also regular pizzas in two sizes for adults, and the server told me the Southern Italian, with mozzarella, tomato, spicy Salamino Calabrese sausage, Gaeta olives and marinated mushrooms is already popular.
The new owners are Ivor Bradley (Iron Cactus) and Dave O'Donnell (The Creamery) and they've created a space that has clean blue walls and a medley of pleasant old timey signage from Palmer's, and Herb's Fine Foods, which was one of my favorite Noe Valley greasy spoons before it shuttered in 2007 and gave way to a widely popular outpost of Toast, a comfort food eatery. Bradley and O'Donnell named the spot after John Meirs Horner, known as the man who invented Noe Valley: in 1852, he bought & developed José Noe's Rancho San Miguel. Horner laid out the present street grid and named the streets in what was then known as "Horner's Addition." Elizabeth Street, which is around the um, corner, was named for his wife. He named nearby John Street for himself, but the City later renamed it as 22nd Street. Horner's Corner is directly off a busy drop off for the J-Church line, which may lure customers in.
Peeking in at the bar side of Horner's Corner, there are more blue walls and the feel is a grown up neighborhood bar with a chill vibe -- the ages ranged from mid-twenties to middling grays, and the music ranged from James Brown to '70s rock during my visit. Staff is friendly and busy and I love how clean the bathrooms are -- something that was often lacking in the spot housed here before. For now, dinner service starts at 5 p.m. Weekend brunch is also a go and may be a saner spot minus the frantic lines of other nearby spots (looking at you, Toast, Griddle Fresh, and Savor).
Horner's Corner, 1199 Church St., 282-4887