It's the end of the year, and, as to be expected, we learned this week of multiple announced restaurant closures or pending sales. Notably, Range is closing, Pauline's Pizza is for sale, Kuleto's is closing, and Cafe Rouge is calling it quits. In other news, we looked at the best steakhouses San Francisco has to offer, and told you about some $1 scoops at Salt & Straw. Here's what else went down.
Peet's Coffee & Tea is getting ready for a massive expansion, with plans to build a giant roastery in Virginia. The Chronicle tells us that the 175,000 square-foot plant will be larger than the current Alameda one, and that Peet's executives hope it will allow the company to compete along the East Coast and in New York City specifically.
In opening news, Inside Scoop reports that Tony Gemignani’s Slice House is getting ready to debut this weekend in the Upper Haight, near the intersection of Haight and Ashbury and it may even be softly open tonight. The 25-seat pizza shop is one of many pizza-serving establishments from Gemignani, and will have a 1960s and 1970s theme.
The residents of Palo Alto are about to get a new hamburger spot co-owned by Mark Wahlberg, with Eater informing us that Wahlburgers, as it is called, should be open by spring. It is one of 30 locations that the brothers Wahlberg intend to have up and running in the Golden State by the end of 2017.
The Marina's Rooster and Rice, meanwhile, just expanded with a second location opened in SoMa. The Thai-style chicken and rice joint, Hoodline reports, serves both the dish in its classic form as well as a vegetarian one. The new location has room for around 18 diners.
The Market is about to get an injection of new life with the addition of three new food stalls. Hoodline tells us that Organic Coup is opening this week, Manila Bowl will open New Year's Eve, and Doughnut Dolly is coming soon.
The residents of Noe Valley are also about to have a little more flavor in their life, as Hoodline informs us that Uma Casa should open within a few weeks. The Portuguese-inspired restaurant was preceded by pop-ups run by chef-owner Telmo Faria, who spent his childhood in Portugal.
An omakase restaurant is coming to the Tenderloin, with Eater reporting that Hinata will offer up its meals on the cheaper side (well, cheaper for omakase, that is). Dinner will start at $78, but you can also sit at tables and just order a la carte for a less expensive experience.
Boudin Bakery closed its Market Street location earlier this week, and the store's staff will be shuffled to other locations. Inside Scoop reports that, according to company officials, it “was not feasible to retrofit this historic building.”
The Dog Patch's beloved Serpentine is getting a new chef, with Tommy Halvorsen taking over. According to Eater, he used to work at Chez Panisse, Bix, and Gary Danko, and doesn't plan on many menu changes — but look for some Cajun flavors to show up.
Also in the world of Cajun flavors, the Mission will soon be home to Alba Ray's. Tablehopper reports that the Cajun spot helmed by chef-partner Adam Rosenblum will open in January in what used to be Hapa Ramen.
A new bar is opening tomorrow in the Hotel Des Arts, with Tablehopper informing us that Bar Flaxus has a 176 person capacity. What's more, partners Mike Spike Krouse, Ludo Racinet, and Jean Michel Fabregon plan for live entertainment every night. Expect fancy cocktails and a nice wine list.
After less than a year of being open, the Mission's late-night friendly Starboard will close. According to Tablehopper, owners of the spot — Daniel Hyatt, Patty West, and Suzanne Ray — just couldn't make it work.
In happier news, the Outer Sunset is getting a brew pub. Eater reports that Outbound is the latest from the team behind Woods Beer Co., and will open in January serving beer and empanadas. "I want my 60 year old uncle to be able to come in and feel like he's home," Jim Woods explained to Eater, "and I want families to be able to bring their kid in on a Saturday during the day.”
Rockridge is getting a new addition to its scene in the form of Duchess. Opening this weekend, Eater reports that it will have a respectable wine list and serve “California-inspired pub fare.” Caroline Conner, who previously was a pastry chef at Nopa, will be in charge of the dessert menu.
This Week In Reviews
For his mid-week checkup, the Chronicle's Michael Bauer ambled on back to Maven. While he gave the spot three stars on his first review, things apparently didn't go so smoothly this time around — a fact the critic makes clear when he pointedly notes that he removed the restaurant from this year's Top 100 list. While he praises the fun vibe that owner Jay Bordeleau delivers (along with creative cocktail pairings), and compliments the work of Chef Isaac Miller, Bauer is disappointed by the service — saying that his waiter had "a slight surly edge" and was misinformed about the contents of the dessert menu. Also, he found the portioning to be "curious." Bauer gives it two and a half stars.
For his Sunday review, Bauer sunk his teeth into the offerings of The Morris. Unlike with Maven, he found the service here to be impeccable — mentioning that owner Paul Einbund is a "consummate front-of-house person." Taking over the location of the now-closed Slow Club comes with some expectations, but Einbund does his own thing. Gavin Schmidt is running the kitchen, and his main course of smoked duck caught Bauer's attention, as it did for Pete Kane the other week, and SFist. The flavors cooked up by Schmidt are "bold to the point of excess," but that doesn't come across as a bad thing. The Morris may not be a place for everyone, Bauer suggests, but it will do the critic just fine. He gives it two and a half stars.
The Weekly's Peter Lawrence Kane, meanwhile, spends some time in Rambler. The restaurant is inside of Union Square’s Hotel Zeppelin, and Kane finds that it bucks the hotel restaurant trend of being, well, stuffy and overpriced. In fact, he says quite the opposite — noting that the restaurant "doesn’t play it safe." The duck and rabbit rillettes are the way to start things off, Kane tells us, and the "cassoulet of garlic sausage, duck confit, and white beans, with bread crumbs" is definitely a comfort food for the ages. And hey, the brunch and lunch menus are pretty good, too. There's a relatively small cocktail list — one that the critic "burned through" with the exception of a $25.00 gin martini. Kane finds the Rambler to be a great date spot — not lamely casual but still lighthearted and fun. We image he may even take a date there on his own dime one day.
Kane also visited SAJJ Mediterranean, a chain that began as a food cart and now has four fast-casual spots around the Bay Area. While there are many options on the menu, Kane makes it clear that the “shawafel” — part shawarma, part falafel — is the thing to order. "It’s beautiful when you don’t say no to any anything," he observes about the dish. The location, on Second Street in South Beach, is great for the lunch crowd — although the crowded menu makes for a bit of a wait in line while those ahead of you try to figure it out. With "fresh and vibrant" ingredients, Kane will likely head back — assuming he can take a leisurely lunch break.