San Francisco's single-most prolific restaurateur, Adriano Paganini, is ready to get back to what he's been doing best the last two decades, which is opening easy-to-like restaurants and expanding his every-growing portfolio of concepts. Just as restrictions on dining are beginning to be lifted, we have word of two new spots coming from his Back of the House Restaurant Group: The Tailor's Son on upper Fillmore, and a second location of The Bird in Hayes Valley. And there's a third newcomer on the way later this year.
First off, The Tailor's Son is set to open in the former Elite Cafe space at 2049 Fillmore Street by the end of March, and it's a wholly new concept with a familiar focal point for Paganini: pasta. The son of a tailor in a village outside Milan, Paganini tells Hoodline this week that he grew up being called "il figlio del sarto" ("the son of the tailor"). And the new restaurant is an homage to the food of the region he grew up in, Lombardia, as well as to his mother's simple, delicious home cooking.
Like his previous successes in the Italian food realm, Beretta, Delarosa, and A Mano (he also founded the now defunct Pasta Pomodoro chain), The Tailor's Son will aim to be approachable, fun, and affordable.
“I think everyone should be able to afford a good restaurant, and that’s what we do," Paganini tells Hoodline.
SFist first reported on Paganini's intention to take over the Elite Cafe property back in January 2020, with plans to open by last April. But like everything else, the project was put on hold a full year, only to emerge now — with an official opening date of March 31, though it's unclear if it may be softly open prior.
The chef is the same chef who opened A Mano with Paganini, Freedom Rains, and the focus of the menu will start with risotto, a core dish of Lombardian and Milanese cuisine. There will also be antipasti, and a few side dishes that incorporate meat. But Paganini says the menu will have a largely vegetarian feel, because he ate very little meat growing up.
And, like A Mano, there will be an Italian-inspired cocktail menu, heavy on the amaro.
But first, starting today, Back of the House is opening a second location of its fried-chicken sandwich restaurant The Bird, in the former Dobbs Ferry space in Hayes Valley (406 Hayes Street). The official grand opening is Monday, March 22, but you can head over this weekend to grab a sandwich during their soft opening.
Like at the original location on New Montgomery Street, The Bird sells fried-chicken sandwiches for $9, using free-range chicken coated in a berbere spice blend, and featuring celery, house-made apple slaw, mayonnaise, and pickles on a freshly baked bun.
There are also curly fries, loaded fries, and a salad option (any of which can also be found on Caviar and DoorDash for delivery). And there are apple fritters.
For now, there will be outdoor seating and takeout available, but eventually, as more restrictions are lifted, you'll be able to dine inside in the dining room and at the bar.
ALSO, if you were familiar with Dobbs Ferry, you'll recall it had an L-shaped layout including a large interior dining room and it wrapped around to a second bar area on Gough Street. Back of the House has plans to open a new sports bar and lounge connected to The Bird, later this year. Stay tuned for more details on that.
Adding a sports bar to the mix feels appropriate for this restaurant group, given that they've already got Italian food covered, as well as Cal-Mediterranean (Starbelly), Mexican (Uno Dos Tacos, Flores), Argentinian steak (Lolinda), and vegan cuisine (Wildseed), in addition to the Super Duper burger chain. The group has retired two concepts in recent years: Belga, a Belgian sausage-focused spot which gave its space over to Wildseed; and Barvale, a Spanish tapas concept that became a Beretta pop-up last year while Paganini presumably is dreaming up another thing to try.
Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux via Facebook