Some things are shifting and/or pivoting at six-month-old AL's Place spinoff AL's Deli, and pending these changes the restaurant announced this week that it's going to be open for lunch only for the time being.
The overall concept is in flux, though the team is not yet ready to say how — or how significantly — it may change. In the meantime, AL's Deli will be open for lunch from Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and open for Caviar delivery during those hours as well. "The team looks forward to debuting new focused flavors and ideas in the coming weeks," says a rep for the restaurant.
SFist reached out to chef-owner Aaron London, who explains that he wants, above all, to be "playful and creative with the amazing products we have access to here in the Bay." He adds, "With the deli in its original form, I was boxed out on too many of these wonderful things. Time to bring it back home. Time for a little more expression."
AL's Deli opened in July 2019 with a fast-casual structure and a concise menu centered around London's take on chicken shawarma, Montreal-style beef brisket, and falafel. Available as pita sandwiches or as platters or salads, these main items were also accompanied by a London invention, stuffed "hot pockets" made of potato latke with two filling choices — avocado or smoked salmon — as well as seasonal, Middle Eastern-style salads, and a whimsical take on pigs in a blanket, Falafel Dogs.
When asked to clarify what kind of changes are afoot, London says vaguely, "We will be working on improving and honing our restaurant as a whole. Changes are being made within our staffing for better guidance and growth of the hardworking industry folks within our team, and to really raise the bar on our execution and constancy, as well as our level of hospitality."
It's not clear yet if that means the counter-service model will be staying or going, or if London is simply looking to broaden his menu horizons when it comes to dinner. He adds only, "Beyond the logistical changes, I have a feeling there is gonna be some pretty cool things happening in the kitchen…"
London got his first executive chef gig at erstwhile Napa vegetarian restaurant Ubuntu back in 2011. His first solo restaurant effort, AL's Place, opened in February 2015, and that August was named to Bon Appetit's prestigious and hit-making Best New Restaurants list.
AL's Deli landed last month of SFist's list of the best new restaurants of 2019.