Souvla, the popular Mediterranean-inspired salad and wrap operation, is opening a fifth SF location in Dogpatch — with a sixth in Marin not far behind — and it will be their largest restaurant to date.
What began pretty modestly as a fast-casual salad and Greek-style wrap place in Hayes Valley in the spring of 2014 has grown into a mini-empire of local restaurants for restaurateur Charles Bililies. He soon followed the Hayes Valley Souvla location's success with locations on Divisadero, on Valencia Street in the Mission, and in the Marina. And when the pandemic hit and everyone realized they couldn't eat mac and cheese and pizza every day for the rest of their lives, Souvla continued doing a brisk delivery and takeout business the last couple of years.
Now, as the Chronicle first reported this week, we learn that it's Souvla that will be taking over the big space at 2505 Third Street that was home for the last eight years to the Magnolia Dogpatch brewpub, which just closed for good last month.
The location will afford the business a grand, new, vaulted-ceilinged space with 60 seats indoors and a marble bar, and it's giving Bililies the chance to expand the menu for the first time since the business got off the ground — adding some wine-bar-style bites to enjoy with Greek wines at the bar, and to complement the established selection of salads and wraps with three protein choices (or sweet potato), fries, rotisserie-fat-soaked roasted potatoes, and avgolemono soup.
And not long after the Dogpatch location is slated to open in June, a sixth Souvla will be debuting later in the summer at the Marin County Mart in Larkspur.
The wine list has never seemed like a particular draw at Souvla's existing locations, but Bililies is excited to make wine more of a focus at the Dogpatch outpost.
"There’s always been this ancillary goal behind Souvla to really evangelize Greek wines," Bililies tells the Chronicle. The extant restaurants have served one varietal each, from Greece, in the white, red, rose, sparkling, and retsina categories until now, though the Chronicle notes that Bililies has been offering one $75 bottle of Greek red, Megas Oenos, by the bottle only — saying it's "literally the wine that put Greek wine on the international wine map some 20 years ago."
But the new location will offer the opportunity to highlight more retsinas, volcanic-soil reds, and crisp Assyrtikos as well.
Bililies says he had no plans for a bigger restaurant with a bigger menu, but he'd had his eye on Dogpatch and this space "fell in his lap."
We don't have all the menu additions in the bar bites arena, but the hints so far include spinach hand-pies, and plant-based "lamb" meatballs.