After just a year and a half, Tacolicious's dumpling-centric spinoff Chino is throwing in the towel. "As of today, we will be ceasing operations at Chino," Tacolicious founder Joe Hargrave tells SFist. The team will be retaining its lease on the prime corner location at 16th and Guerrero, however, where Chino opened in May 2014, with hints of something new on its way.
Chino closed briefly, as you may recall, to retool its menu in late July under new chef-partner Ron Pei, who took over the reigns from opening chef de cuisine Dale Arcalas.
"We have had a great time, not to mention, learned a hell of a lot about soup dumplings," continued Hargrave referring to some initially lackluster reviews for the restaurant's xiao long bao. While he was unspecific on reasons for the closure, it's fair to speculate that despite sizable crowds the restaurant's margins just weren't working out.
"We've also been lucky to work with a talented and passionate team," Hargrave said. "However, another opportunity has come our way for this great Mission District space and we're going to seize it. In the interim, we will be using the location for private events and pop-up's."
The Chronicle described the restaurant's feel in October 2014 as "authentically eager and manic in its appropriations," complimenting in particular the boozy handiwork of former Alembic barman Danny Louie. SFist shared the sentiment, placing Chino on our list of the 12 Best New Bars Of 2014.
It "revels so heartily in its bear-hugging of kitschy pan-Asian signifiers that you can feel like you’ve wandered into a socialite’s culturally tone-deaf 21st birthday party," the Chronicle further observed, "albeit one with a very well-stocked bar. If you’re up for that, Chino could be a lot of fun."
Chino was indeed a lot of fun. Whatever's next will arrive next year.
Update: Hargrave tells Eater that the new concept is likely to be Mexican.
Chino, 3198 16th Street at Guerrero