One local chef's answer to the growing difficulty and arguable unsustainability of the economics of running a restaurant: a chef-driven, delivery-only restaurant where dishes are made to order, just like in a restaurant. That chef is Anthony Strong, and that concept is called Young Fava, which is set to launch early this summer according to the Chronicle, and will be one of the nation's first-of-its kind delivery-only bistros — as opposed to apps that offer pre-made meals out of catering-style kitchens — and one that, at least initially, won't even have its own storefront or kitchen, or even its own app.

Strong rose up the ranks in the kitchen at Delfina in the last decade, later being put in charge of one of the locations of Delfina Pizzeria, and ultimately being handed his first restaurant to helm with the opening of the Roman spinoff Locanda in 2011. He left Locanda in 2016 to pursue his own project, which we now learn is not a solo-run, traditional, chef-driven restaurant as many of his peers with similar résumés have have gone on to do.

"How often do chefs get to do something actually new?" Strong says to the Chronicle, explaining that he wants to expand the delivery concept beyond the perceptions that have been established by apps like Sprig and Munchery, and beyond the traditional takeout boxes that many San Franciscans now order up from delivery service apps like Caviar and UberEats. "I want takeout and delivery to be a bit more approachable and fit into people’s lives rather than popping open some weird creepy container and being embarrassed by its presence," he says.

Spring Onion-Burrata Dip #recipetesting

A post shared by Chef Anthony Strong (@anthonystrong) on

The problem, of course, will be distinguishing himself in this sea of competitors, and gathering enough customer support to make the business work — but at least he'll have the benefit of low overhead since he tells the Chronicle he won't even be renting his commissary kitchen to start, instead working out of the back of a pho restaurant he declines to identify. And he plans to have the existing apps do his delivery work for him, putting his menu up on UberEats, Caviar, DoorDash, and Postmates, rather than launching his own app.

The Chronicle speaks to someone else who's tried to do a delivery-only concept in SF, Pythagoras Pizza (née Pi Pizza) founder Evan Kuo, who launched his at-first-mysterious pizza app in late 2015, and has grown into a sort of "artisanal Domino's." Kuo's startup delivers 14-inch pizzas for $23 apiece, as well as $10 salads, to the Mission District, Potrero Hill, and Dogpatch, with some partial delivery coverage in several more central-city neighborhoods that are within a two-mile radius of the main kitchen. Kuo says to make it in this game you've got to "produce a premium product that you can charge a high-ticket price for," and he suggests Strong will need to do a lot of his own marketing since it's easy to get buried within those delivery apps, where most of those other business aren't relying solely on their takeout business.

So far, Strong has teased out a few example dishes that look pretty great, and of a higher quality than what you typically can find on any given night on Munchery or UberEats — things like a shareable spring onion burrata dip paired with Tartine bread (pictured above); Korean-style rice cakes with mushroom ragu and pine nuts; and a "90s-style" ahi crudo topped with fresh avocado and served in a nice metal tin (pictured here).

If Strong shows off his talents in takeout cartons the way he put it on display nightly at Locanda, it could end up being a winning formula, so long as the price is right — the David Chang-affiliated food delivery app Maple just shut its doors last week despite having raised upwards of $50 million, seemingly because a hike in prices led to a loss of customers, and we already have heard multiple stories about Munchery being in trouble.

Stay tuned for more details as the launch date nears.

Previously: Locanda And Pizzeria Delfina Chef Anthony Strong To Break Out On His Own