The previously announced new incarnation of the Central Kitchen space from the Flour + Water Restaurant Group, a casual pasta restaurant called Penny Roma, makes its debut Monday after a brief remodel.
As SFist reported last month, the newly christened Flour + Water Restaurant Group (formerly Ne Timeas Restaurant Group) decided to pivot away from the nine-year-old Central Kitchen to create something even more approachable — a weeknight and weekend neighborhood dining spot with a focus on pasta, and, we now learn, a soundtrack of whole-album playlists.
"Covid allowed us to step back and reanalyze every single thing we’re doing," chef-partner Thomas McNaughton says. "At Penny Roma, we want to throw a dinner party every night."
In a Facebook post today, McNaughton writes, "Over the past year countless people told us we are crazy to try and build during the pandemic... So many obstacles that our team overcame to be able to open our doors tonight and host a party in our neighborhood. I am so proud of so many people, but especially proud of Penny Roma."
The indoor and semi-outdoor portions of the restaurant have been united with oriental rugs, lots of plants, and new, handsome hanging light fixtures (which McNaughton also says he's a big fan of).
And while we are still waiting on the opening menu, we know from the previous report that there will be pasta dishes that lean toward the simpler end of things than at sister spot Flour + Water (which, incidentally, is on pause for its own remodel right now). The only clues we have come from pictures on the new website, and mentions from chef-partner Ryan Pollnow of agnolotti dal plin, tagliatelle Bolognese, a fire-grilled steak, and antipasti-style vegetable dishes.
The official website description says, "The heart of Penny Roma’s menu is pasta, inspired by tried and true classics from all over Italy. Rotating selections of fish crudi, vegetable-driven antipasti and contorni, and wood-fired primi are also prominently featured, using seasonal ingredients sourced from our favorite local farms and purveyors, capturing the beauty and bounty of the Bay Area’s offerings."
The team is also keeping open the pandemic-popular Flour + Water Pasta Shop with its daytime and to-go offerings, and the corner space formerly occupied by Salumeria is becoming a counter-service wine bar called Enoteca where diners at Penny Roma can also wait for a table.
See a few more photos of the remodeled space below.
Penny Roma is now open seven days a week, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Find reservations here, and some tables will also be reserved for walk-ins.