Chef and restaurateur Charles Phan (Slanted Door, Hard Water) has been playing it pretty close to the vest with his revamp plans at Heaven's Dog (1148 Mission Street bet. 7th and 8th), which has been closed since late 2012, but now he reveals all and things sound decidedly similar to The Cavalier, which opened last year just two blocks away from the team behind Park Tavern.
The new concept is called The Coachman, due to open on Monday, March 3, and it's modeled loosely on a long-ago Union Square restaurant of the same name where Phan once worked as a busboy. It was an English-inspired "eating house," and much like the runaway-successful Cavalier down the street, the new Coachman will feature English-inspired, upscaled pub fare from chef Ross Wunderlich (who's worked at Bar Tartine, SPQR), with an British-y bar program from Phan's head bar guy Erik Adkins.
Phan says that the idea to do something English-inspired has "been in my head for a while," however, it's hard not to notice the similarities and proximity to The Cavalier, which won raves from Michael Bauer last year and continues to draw big crowds.
Heaven's Dog ostensibly closed due to a flood, much like the Westfield location of Out the Door, but as most foodinistas noted, the Chinese concept at Heaven's Dog was not an instant success, though competent dishes and above-average cocktails kept people coming back for a couple of years. This was also the case at the even shorter lived Wo Hing General Store, which opened in the original Valencia Street home of Slanted Door in 2011 only to close after less than two years in early 2013. Slanted Door remains, though, one of the biggest success stories in town, and his off-shoot Out the Door also does quite well in Pacific Heights.
Phan and his team have not done a full renovation at the space, and apparently the entry wall and some other elements remain from the Heaven's Dog days.
We'll reserve judgment until we've checked it out ourselves.
The Coachman, 1148 Mission Street between 7th and 8th, 415-831-1701