Nearly three years ago, the Red Vic Movie House closed its doors, and the city has been anxiously waiting to see what's next for the historic Haight Street space. Last week, two of the original founders, Jack and Betsey Rix, debuted their new concept to the public.
Second Act Marketplace and Events is breathing life back into the Red Vic by celebrating the relationship with the community for which the independent movie house was so strongly known. An event space will host poetry and book readings, film screenings, live music, and comedy shows, but the front of the building is what's drawing the public's eye. Like 331 Cortland in Bernal Heights, it's an amalgam of five culinary vendors offering locally produced food.
Each vendor has its own booth for customers to purchase lunch, coffee, or light groceries. At High Cotton Kitchen, set up in one of the large front windows, owners Terrell Brunet, a Louisiana-born former Culinary Institute of America instructor, and Cailen Sutherland, a New Mexico-born cook (formerly of Seven Hills), are slinging American food. Think cochon de lait po' boys, red beans and rice, gumbo, and braised pork with green chiles ($8-$14). High Cotton's also the first business to open, at 7 a.m., ready to provide caffeinated Sightglass beverages alongside Beauty's Bagels and Meetinghouse biscuits.
Across the entryway in the other picture window is Elyse Thogerson, a former mixologist who runs RAW, a juice bar. The décor at the stall is baskets of apples, beets, and carrots piled high, ready for juicing. Thogerson has also become known for her almond milk, as well as a varying selection of juices like the non-alcoholic Gin & Juice — kale, ginger, bell pepper, and apple — or the Minty Pine — pineapple, mint, and green apple ($6-$9).
Community Craft is run by Brunet of High Cotton Kitchen and his partner Neely Thomas, formerly at Bar Tartine. This co-op-style bakery features a rotating cast of bakers that specialize in just about everything. Gluten-free bread from Bread SRSLY and challah or rye from Wise Sons will be available most days, along with sliced or whole pies from Butter Water Salt Flour, cakes and pudding from Ebb's Bakery, and vegan baked goods from Sweets Simply.
For the other two vendors, Second Act marks the expansion into, well, a second act for its companies. Anda Piroshki and Spice Hound have both made a home at 331 Cortland. Now customers have a spot on this side of town to get piroshki and borscht ($3-$5) from Anna Tvelova and bulk spices, spice blends, masala chai, and soda drinks made with seasonally inspired syrups from Tammy Tan.
We're excited to see what Second Act brings to the Upper Haight, a neighborhood so jammed with tourists that it can be hard for locals to find a sense of community. It seems like the Red Vic has made a perfect transition into exactly what the neighborhood needed — and provided more good food options on Haight to boot. While the landmark movie house may have closed, its spirit lives on.