There were two pesky issues in the Castro this week: Quickly following Mandu shutting down for health issues (and reopening as Janchi, their second rebranding in three months) we had news that Posh Bagel was suffering from a severe vermin/insect problem. Another bit of bad news: We learned that beloved diner Lucky Penny could be the site of a new mixed-use development, ending its long run. A bright spot is that Super Duper is opening its ninth location, this one at Kearny and Pine next week, complete with breakfast.
The big news this week was that Jessica Largey is taking her talent (and shiny new James Beard award for Rising Star Chef) and leaving her post as Manresa's chef de cuisine. Inside Scoop reports that she'd been there six years and that chef-owner David Kinch gave his blessing, adding that she is "one of the most talented natural cooks I have ever encountered."
Chai Bar by David Rio has opened on Market Street, as the Scoop tells us. Though the chai company, based here, has sold its spiced teas since 1996, this is their first retail operation, and they'll have chai lattes and other drinks. They're also planning to use the space for research with a designated "chai lab." Hoodline has more photos, too.
Cat Town Cafe in Oakland is expanding its space to better accommodate orphan kitties, giving us many feels. So far, Eater reports they've found homes for 184 felines with their hybrid cafe/adoption center model.
Meanwhile Tablehopper reports that Vive la Tarte, a bakery with Belgian inspiration is open in SoMa. In addition to berliners and tarts you'll find cheesecake and pizzas in their relatively spare space, a former printing house.
Word of an opening in the Lower Haight comes from Hoodline. A Korean fusion spot called Stone Bowl is ready for your business and serving dishes like bibimbap and kimchi fried rice.
Kitchen Story's chef-owner Kasem "Pop" Saengsawang will be serving Thai food influenced by his Bangkok upbringing at fothcoming Farmhouse Kitchen Thai Cuisine, reports Eater. His wife, Ling Chatterjee, who will run the restaurant with her husband, says "We want to bring bold flavor and non-pretentious food to San Francisco."
Like your waistline when you go there, CREAM, the fresh ice cream and cookie sandwich spot, is expanding once more. The Business Times reports that a Rockridge spot is up next, to be followed by several others.
And as the Business Times also reports in another bit of chain news, a Dallas-based company called Which Wich plans to bring its "Superior Sandwiches" to 27 Bay Area locations, up from their previous estimate. They've already got 400 outposts, and they're going to focus their energies here now, they say.
Though details are fuzzy, Hoodline has it that a Japanese spot is headed to the corner of Haight and Divis (in what used to be KK Cafe) to be called Ijji
Keeping it in the family, Peter Mrabe is putting a Chubby Noodle into the Grant and Vallejo space where Pisto's Tacos had been. Hoodline, who took note, also mentions a bunch of other changes in the Mrabe mini empire, so have a look if you're hunting for those tacos.
People’s Cafe on Haight Street is closed “for renovations”, Hoodline reports, with the business changing hands and getting a bit of an overhaul.
For just a week, the first one in June, AL’s Place will close for kitchen renovations. Inside Scoop had word on the hiatus.
This Week In Reviews
Speaking of Mr. Bauer, his mid-week review was of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. Bauer recalls of pizza titan Tony Gemignani, "When he opened Tony’s, it was clear he was still trying to work things out, and not all the styles were fully realized." But now, even with expansions "spreading him as thin as the crust of his St. Louis pizza" he's pretty sold. Admitting he's avoided the lines at the restaurant for years, Bauer says he's sorry he has, and he loved the waitstaff. Two-and-a-half stars.
And for his Sunday review, Bauer takes on Valette in Healdsburg, the solo venture of former Dry Creek Kitchen chef de cuisine Dustin Valette. Bauer is charmed by the dining room (the former Zin) and by Valette's "unbridled enthusiasm," however he notes that a number of dishes could have used more restraint. He loves the American Kobe New York steak with foie gras and pink peppercorn butter as well as a carrot soup and the charcuterie plate, but he finds there were about three ideas too many in a barbecued lamb bacon dish, and a sea bass dish needed some editing as well. All told: two-and-a- half stars.
Meanwhile, the Weekly's Pete Kane took off for vacation in Mexico City and ate his way through the town. Sounds like fun, but not 100 percent useful to an SF audience.