Legendary North Beach comedy venue The Purple Onion closed last fall after 60 years in business, and in its place, this fall, will be a new restaurant on the main level (above the former club) called Doc Ricketts, and a bar in the club's basement called Doc's Lab. As Tablehopper reports, the guy behind it is Christopher Burnett, who opened little Darwin Cafe in SoMa, and he's just hired a chef, Justin Deering, best known for his work at Conduit and, most recently, 15 Romolo.
The Purple Onion was a landmark in the neighborhood dating back to the Beat era, and over the years featured big names like Woody Allen, Bob Newhart, Lenny Bruce, and Richard Pryor.
The restaurant space was formerly called Macaroni Sciuè Sciuè, but the entire space, upstairs and down, is being taken down to the studs and may reopen by October. The name, Doc Ricketts, comes from early conservationist and marine biologist Doc Ricketts, whom John Steinback modeled the character of Doc after in Cannery Row.
The bar will continue the Purple Onion's tradition of hosting events and readings with local artists, but will feature a fancy cocktail program with the requisite house-made bitters, barrel-aged cocktails, etc.
The project is yet another in the ongoing upscaling of North Beach, which has spent decades as a red light district and frat boy haven. Park Tavern, which opened in 2011, is a major player, but the neighborhood is also home to the very upscale Coi, bougie watering hole Comstock Saloon, and the revamped Tosca, set to open this fall as well.