The much anticipated, 2.0 version of Californios, newly relocated to the former Bar Agricole space at 355 11th Street, has quietly reopened and is taking reservations for outdoor seating.
Chef Val Cantu announced last year that, mid-pandemic, he was taking the opportunity to move his two-Michelin-star operation to larger digs. And now, as Tablehopper reports, the reservation books have opened and the place is softly open, offering a white-tablecloth, $223 prix fixe experience on the heated front patio. According to the reservation page on Tock, all tables are booked for this reopening weekend, but there are some mid-week seats still to be grabbed in April.
Chef Cantu's food has been widely praised, getting raves in the local press and earning a second Michelin star in 2017. His style is refined, to be sure, but unique in its take California cuisine that shows off its Mexican roots. Also, the wine program and pairings by Charlotte Randolph is worth the price of admission alone.
Cantu had told Eater last year that a remodel was in order for the restaurant's interior "We don’t want people to walk in and think they’re still in Bar Agricole," he said. But, for now, guests won't get to see what's been done, even though technically SF restaurants are able to open at 50% capacity indoors as of this week. Still, there's ample seating on that patio, and the inside will likely open up once the team gets back in the groove of things after a year being closed.
In related news, the former Californios space in the Mission (3115 22nd Street) didn't remain vacant for long, and the Chronicle brings word that a quartet of local cocktail folks are opening something there called Buddy, a bar and daytime cafe.
The team behind it consists of Claire Sprouse (formerly of Rickhouse and The Square), Alvaro Rojas (Elda), Nicolas Torres (True Laurel), and Nora Furst (Uma Casa) — all of whom will be continuing on in their current gigs while partnering on Buddy.
Sprouse has been lauded as one of the "Most Imaginative Bartenders" in the country by Esquire, and three years ago she opened a similar all-day concept in Brooklyn, with a bent on sustainability, called Hunky Dory. She tells the Chronicle that she plans to be bicoastal, and she says, "The Mission’s a special place, and it’s got great daytime energy. We didn’t want to limit ourselves to just nighttime."
With just a beer and wine license, Buddy will focus on low-ABV cocktails as well as natural wines, and there will be an all-day food menu and, of course, coffee. The team is hoping to create a kind of "third space" for the work-from-home set that caters to the local community — and offers things like CSA box pickups, etc.
They are aiming for a May opening, following a remodel that will bring in more natural light and brighten up the previously dark and cozy Californios dining room.
Photo: Val Cantu/Instagram