It’s unclear whether Wayfare Tavern is moving, or if they’re just opening a second space, but Food Network personality Tyler Florence is the latest to make a big new bet on downtown with reported plans for a new Wayfare Tavern location at Pine and Battery Streets.
Frequent TV chef and one-time Sammy Hagar restaurant collaborator Tyler Florence’s SF flagship Wayfare Tavern opened in the former Rubicon space nearly 13 years ago. More recently, Florence added the Chase Center-adjacent steakhouse Miller & Lux in September 2021. But now we get the news that Florence's upscale American food spot Wayfare Tavern is either moving or expanding, as the SF Business Times reports that Wayfare Tavern has submitted plans to open a spot at 201 Pine Street.
A new Wayfare Tavern is taking over three levels in the heart of the Financial District. https://t.co/i2FBxc8yPZ— San Francisco Business Times (@SFBusinessTimes) February 20, 2023
The permits Wayfare Tavern submitted apply to the property that is the recently closed Tunisian restaurant Dar Fatma, which was not even open for a year, and an adjacent GNC store which closed sometime during the pandemic.
The Business Times also adds that “It's unclear if this means Wayfare's time on Sacramento Street — in a picturesque spot looking directly up at the Transamerica Building via skylight — is nearing an end or if Pine Street will be a second location in the Financial District.”
The permit requests are in process at the SF Planning Department, and in terms of renovations, this is not transforming the building significantly. “The scope of the project involves exterior work for a new restaurant to be located at the first, second, and basement levels of a six-story building. The work includes new entry doors in the existing locations, new awnings along the Pine Street elevation, and new exhaust louvers in the transom window area.”
But from a downtown culture and vibrancy standpoint, this is huge. They will apparently be adding a duplicate of Wayfare Tavern’s penthouse space The Sequoia into what was the GNC store. According to the Business Times, “Plans are to convert the second-floor office level to retail, expanding the restaurant space by about 4,355 square feet, per planning documents, and reducing the office load to about 18,000 square feet. The proposal features outdoor dining under retractable awnings along Pine Street, a bar and ‘Sequoia Rooms’ in the former GNC space."
Again, we still don’t know if Wayfare Tavern is just moving, or truly expanding. But it’s yet another example of people with skin in the game betting big on a downtown SF recovery, just like with the $250 million Michael Shvo Transamerica Pyramid renovation (with a ritzy private club), and the folks from Bourbon & Branch planning a new high-end speakeasy a few blocks away on Market Street.
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