Michelin-starred SF restaurant Lord Stanley has decided to close next month and its owners are pivoting the space to be a home for rotating pop-ups by visiting chefs. And over in Berkeley, beloved 27-year-old Rivoli has mysteriously gone dark.
After a six-year run on upper Polk Street that included a year of pandemic takeout, Lord Stanley's owners and co-chefs Rupert and Carrie Blease say that it's time for a change.
"If we all learned anything last year, it’s that evolving is important and changing your business model is important," says Carrie Blease in a statement to the Chronicle. She says that she and her husband were contemplating creating a space for rotating pop-ups even before the pandemic began, and they're seizing the opportunity to pivot the business this fall.
Lord Stanley's last night of service will be September 4, and the space will go dark just a couple of days and reopen on September 7 as Turntable at Lord Stanley, with reservations open now. For three months, the space will play host to visiting chefs from Argentina, as the Chronicle reports. The first will be Narda Lepes of Buenos Aires's Narda Comedor restaurant, who was named "Latin America's best female chef" by the World's 50 Best. Lepes will cook for a week alongside Micaela Najmanovich — from Buenos Aires restaurant Anafe — before Najmanovich takes over fully for the rest of the month.
All the existing staff will remain on board at the restaurant, and the Bleases will be around as well, leaving open the possibility of bringing back a Lord Stanley menu on a temporary basis in the future.
To book the international roster of chefs (October's is still TBA after a cancellation), they're working with a consultant, Michael Goldman, who has booked events for Michelin, as the Chronicle reports. And it sounds like Lord Stanley's pandemic-era takeout window may get put to use by the pop-up chefs as well.
As Rupert Blease tells the paper, "I think our staff is super happy to see different things on a regular basis. For people in the kitchen, it’s like a stage that keeps coming to you." (A stage, pronounced stahj, is a culinary internship that up-and-coming chefs often do with famous chefs around the globe.)
Over in Berkeley, in separate news, 27-year-old Rivoli has abruptly closed. As Berkeleyside reports, the closure is not pandemic- or COVID-related, but owner Blake Peters said "The restaurant was closed due to a confluence of factors beyond our control." He also was "asking for privacy at this time."
Peters took over the management and operations of Rivoli last year when founders Roscoe Skipper and Wendy Brucker sold it to him — Peters had long been the restaurant's general manager. Skipper and Brucker told Berkeleyside in November that Rivoli did pretty well during the pandemic, breaking even or making a small profit, but they opted to shut down sister restaurant Corso for financial reasons. That restaurant has reopened under new ownership as Via del Corso.
Peters tells the site that the current Rivoli closure is not for reasons related to COVID, but that the place was "closed for the foreseeable future."
The restaurant's many loyal fans are, naturally, upset. But the closure sounds, probably, temporary.