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Open/Shut Report

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

In a Personal Note, Thomas McNaughton Will Close Central Kitchen July 9, and Reopen 12 Days Later

Posted By on Wed, Jul 6, 2016 at 4:18 PM

Central Kitchen - THE DAPPER DINER
  • The Dapper Diner
  • Central Kitchen

"The crazy momentum of a busy restaurant, open every day, makes it hard to implement changes, let alone the major overhaul we have been thinking about for some time now," says Thomas McNaughton.

Forgoing a typical press release in favor of a personal letter to friends (as he put it), McNaughton announced that Central Kitchen (3000 20th St.) will close on July 9. The stated goal of being an "accessible neighborhood restaurant" never really came to pass, as — to McNaughton's evident frustration — Central Kitchen has always been "perceived as a higher-end restaurant, and that has never felt right to me."

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cassava re-opens with updated kitchen and swanky new items

Posted By on Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 8:00 AM

  • Courtesy of Cassava

After closing for kitchen renovations early this year, Cassava has re-opened their doors to the Outer Richmond and to foodies everywhere. The restaurant's biggest changes—a new electric hood, induction burners, and a tabletop fryer — may go unnoticed by the average diner, but the revamped dishes that come from the kitchen of executive chef and co-owner Kris Toliao will not.

Stewed lamb cheeks with slow roasted cauliflower, fried chick peas, and scallion oil is one of several noteworthy new items on the menu, which remains much the same as before, with a half a dozen starters ranging from house-stuffed chorizo to a Chioggia beet salad, a modest selection of entrees, and a four-course prix fixe option for $42. Not to be missed is the signature house-smoked trout, served with whipped crème fraiche, harissa, arugula, and toast. As opposed to smoked salmon, which is full of healthier omega-3 fats, trout contains omega-6, I learned from co-owner and hostess extraordinaire Yuka Ioroi.

"It's the same as bacon" she said with a wink. It's also remarkably addictive.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Open & Shut Report December 2011: New Starts and Year-End Goodbyes

Posted By on Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 4:00 PM

The close of 2011 marks the end Citizen Cake and others.
  • The close of 2011 marks the end Citizen Cake and others.

Some restaurants took the ushering in of a new year as the time to bow out of the city's restaurant scene. Elizabeth Falkner is officially out after closing Citizen Cake on the heels of Orson's shutter. No longer will you venture out to the Richmond District to eat Dennis Lee's ramyeon at Namu, as the team focuses on their pending Mission restaurant, Namu Gaji. And farewell, dear Hooters.

Other restaurateurs (State Bird Provisions, Hong Kong Lounge II, Quick Fix) saw December as the time to ready for the beginning of 2012. So, alas, happy new year's eating! Here are new places to check out as 2012 grows older.


• The Ritz-Carlton renamed its restaurant Parallel 37 (600 Stockton at Pine), updating its menu and expanding its bar program.

• With their State Bird Provisions (1529 Fillmore at Geary) former Rubicon chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski are serving small plates, dim sum style.

• The pairing-focused Maven (598 Haight at Steiner) opened with small plates and accompanying drinks.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Open & Shut Report November 2011: A Crowded Month of Openers

Posted By on Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Tacolicious II is one of the many November openings. - ED ANDERSON
  • Ed Anderson
  • Tacolicious II is one of the many November openings.
November has always been a month centered around eating (and thanks), and this year it left the City busting at the seams -- and with a wealth of new restaurants are now lining S.F. streets. There's four new places to find Thai, and new spots to nosh on French, Turkish, Indonesian cuisines, and BBQ, burgers, grilled cheeses, and tacos too.

• Good news for those who love Thai food: After Osha (432 Sutter at Stockton), Amphawa Thai Noodle House (5020 Geary at 14th Ave.), House 530 (530 Valencia at 16th St.), Lers Ros (307 Hayes at Franklin).

Tacolicious II and the adjacent tequila bar Mosto opened (741 Valencia at 19th St.).

• Traditional French fare is now at Bistro Unique (1849 Union at Octavia).

• Catering to the Financial District lunch rush, Ottoman (584 Washington at Columbus) is serving Turkish dishes, while Indo-Bali Cooking Street (343 Kearny at Pine) covers Indonesian cuisine.

• Southern barbeque finds a spot in the Mission at Southpaw BBQ (2170 Mission at 17th St.).

• Seasonally inspired dishes and decor are "fall"-ing in to place at AQ Restaurant & Bar (1085 Mission at Seventh St.).

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Open & Shut Report October 2011 - The Month of Burgers

Posted By on Tue, Nov 1, 2011 at 4:00 PM

October was one for the burger lovers. Umami Burger expanded with its first outpost north of the I-405, and brought with it a new S.F.-specific menu addition: the bacon-wrapped scallop burger. A few blocks away, Super Duper opened it's latest outpost on Chestnut after few false starts, and Pearl's Deluxe Burgers began flipping patties on mid-Market just before the end of the month.


Umami Burger arrived in Northern California, and lucky for us it's in the City (2184 Union at Fillmore).

• Just in time for S.F.'s true Summer, the taps started flowing at the outdoor Biergarten (424 Octavia at Fell).

• A Chinese street-food inspired menu in a sleek setting: Wo Hing General Store (584 Valencia at 17th St.).

Pearl's Deluxe Burgers (1001 Market at Sixth St.) opened its second City location across the street from sausage restaurant Show Dogs.

• A book club with drinks? Yes, please: Two Sisters Bar & Books (579 Hayes at Laguna).

• The third Super Duper opened in the Marina, with the classic burgers, fries, and shakes (2201 Chestnut at Pierce).

Additional openings and closures after the jump.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Closing of Wicked Grounds Has Left a Gap in the Kink Community

Posted By on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 2:00 PM


It wasn't like its fragility was any secret: Wicked Grounds, the SoMa cafe by and for the BDSM community, has been struggling financially since its opening two years ago. In April, owners Rose White and Ryan Galiotto held a fundraiser that brought in $50,000, but that wasn't enough to save the cafe, which closed in early October.

The existence of a kink cafe may have sparked titters in some circles, but over on Exhibitionist, SFoodie's sister arts blog, Chris Hall has written a heartfelt eulogy to the closed cafe that's well worth reading. He explains that it's a huge loss for the kink community, coming on the heels of the closures of places like Stormy Leather and the Eagle.

With each closing, it feels like San Francisco is becoming less and less of a place to be queer or kinky, unless you want to keep it in your apartment. Wicked Grounds was unusual in that it was primarily a social space where everyone just happened to be kinky. People came in as a normal part of their everyday lives, not to get laid or to buy stuff for a special night out. On any given afternoon or evening, you might see Scrabble at one table and bondage at the next. The casual nature of the space broke down the careful segregation between "normal" life and sex.

It's a reminder, in the era of single-estate Rwandan siphon-dripped coffees, that cafes have long played other important roles in the community, whether fomenting revolution or simply providing safe spaces for people of the same stripe to gather.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.
Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

September 2011 Openings & Closures: Hotel Restaurants Change with the Times

Posted By on Mon, Oct 3, 2011 at 8:00 AM

The end of an era at the Ritz Carlton - RON STARR
  • Ron Starr
  • The end of an era at the Ritz Carlton
With the closure of the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton after 20 years and the W Hotel opening Trace, the City's restaurant scene saw the loss of a traditional, white-tablecloth dinner, and the ascendance of sustainable fare in a modern, sleek setting. Neither hotel stopped there. The W Hotel squeezed in the month's end reopening of its library bar and lobby bar, and the Ritz Carlton is planning to unveil a new restaurant, by the Dining Room's chef Ron Siegel, before the holidays. OpeningsTrace opened with a nod to Scandinavian design (181 Third St. at Howard). • Blue Bottle Coffee Trailer found a spot outside of the nixed Dolores Park venue (Division at Brannan). • La Boulange opened a streamlined, modern Union Square outpost, no traditional French country colors found here (222 Sutter at Kearny). • Winemakers' Speakeasy opened as a pop-up hosting, wine tasting venue (1152 Valencia at 22nd St.). Additional Openings • Rock Candy Snack Shop (521 Cortland at Andover) • The Pastry Cupboard (1596 Market at Franklin) • Fluffy Snow (1314 Noriega at 20th Ave.) • Canela (2272 Market at Sanchez) • Grill House Mediterranean (533 Jones at Geary) • Campus (a new bar on 2241 Chestnut at Pierce) • Prime Dip (518 Larkin at Turk) • Steins (731 Clement, at Eighth Ave.) ClosuresThe Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton closed after 20 years on Sept. 15. • El Tonayense left its Mission location due to the end of the lease, the Potrero Hill location remains open. • Y Ben House Restaurant, the popular dim sum restaurant in Chinatown, closed with the owners' retirement. • SJ Crawfish: Our own Jonathan Kauffman reported the Sunset Vietnamese-Cajun restaurant closure, and the space's transformation into a mooncake pop-up. Additional Closures • B3 • Burma Tea Leaf • Delaney's • What's Up Dog? (Tenderloin location) • Beautifull! (Irving location) • Asuka Ramen Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

August 2011 Openings & Closures: Old is New Again

Posted By on Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Jay Esopenko brings modern gourmet provisions to North Beach at Little Vine - W. BLAKE GRAY
  • W. Blake Gray
  • Jay Esopenko brings modern gourmet provisions to North Beach at Little Vine

August saw the return of some San Francisco old timers. Sitting above Sutro Baths, Louis' Restaurant returned after a long renovation on Aug. 3, and Palace Steak House, which had been shuttered since 2009, returned later in the month. In between, August was filled with new places to buy grilled cheese, chile pies, and wine by the glass.

Summer is a cold season in the city, with the chill felt even more so in the foggy reaches of the Richmond District, which saw the August closures of LOL Cafe and Sweet Days Cafe. Hopefully fall brings warmer weather and new eateries to this neighborhood.


• The flip-camera creator, Jonathan Kaplan, started flipping grilled-cheese sandwiches at the first of his projected 500 restaurants called The Melt (115 New Montgomery at Minna).

• After a few false starts, May Lee's Dumpling and Buns is up and running (2411 California at Fillmore).

• The second Pittsburgh-sandwich making Giordano Bros. (3108 16th St. at Valencia), opened in the Mission.

• The second Chile Pies (and Ice Cream), Chile Pies Sweet & Savory opened in the Castro, and yes, they're serving pie milkshakes (314 Church at 15th St.).

• After a sustainable-themed overhaul of the restaurant interior and it menu, Lands End saw the return of 78-year-old Louis' Restaurant.

• With its own theme song, Palace Steak House came out of a two-year retirement to start serving old favorites (3047 Mission at Capp).

• After a closure and move, Five Star Truffle reopens to fulfill chocolate needs in the Castro (4251-A 18th St. at Diamond).

• The fastest beer taps this side of the Bay Bridge are at the Marina's Reed and Greenough 3251 Scott (at Chestnut). It's open and serving rounds. Fast!

• Outer Sunset saw the arrival of a new place to get coffee and lunch, at the aptly named Beachside (4300 Judah at 48th Ave.).

• North Beach sees the arrival of super cute, super-specialty food store Little Vine (1541 Grant at Filbert).

• Finally! A place to buy diamonds and wine by the glass: Rose Cut Wine Bar (2323 Market at Noe).

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Friday, August 26, 2011

No More Rebels Within: Tell Tale Preserve Company Closes

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 1:26 PM

  • Tell Tale Preserve Co.

Say goodbye to the Rebel Within. Tell Tale Preserve Company is closing, adding to the ranks of restaurants that have been whipped by the failing Whisk Group restaurant investors.

Tell Tale's owner, William Werner, emailed to say, "Over the past year my team and I have tried to come to terms with our partner/investor Whisk Group in our search and execution of a storefront. The partnership has proved quite challenging, and despite making every effort possible to keep the business alive, we found our growth stunted. Our fair offer to buy Whisk out with new investors was ultimately declined, and we have been left with no choice but to end our engagement. "

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where in the World is Whisk Group? The Next Big Thing that Never Materialized.

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Mark Weiss, CEO of Whisk Group - EATER SF
  • Eater SF
  • Mark Weiss, CEO of Whisk Group

Mark Weiss, CEO of Whisk Group, has dazzled the media for the past two years. "His restaurants are acclaimed for their innovation and excellence," says writer Michall Jeffers on Woman Around Town. "Prosperous restaurant owner wannabes, study the career of this man. This is how it's done."

But over the past year, Whisk Group has suddenly disappeared from the restaurant scene, slipping out of the media's eye as one project after another has lost momentum. Out of the nine projects listed on its website, only one actually exists. What happened? Where has the "budding mega-restaurateur" gone?

In June last year, the Chronicle's Inside Scoop was buzzing for days about Weiss' purchase of 101 California's coveted 7600-square foot restaurant place and his plans for a Parisian-style French bistro, Brasserie Lille, which was supposed to open this spring. Media outlets gossiped about Atlanta architects The Johnson Studio's designs for an open-air courtyard and a fancy Parisian-made bar top. Weiss was reported to be traveling in France, purchasing cabinetry, furnishings, and lighting.

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