It's been a busy end-of-summer week in local food news, as the transition into fall always brings some turnover and hints of openings on the horizon.
One of the biggest news items is the closure of Barbacco, which is calling it quits as Perbacco's casual brother restaurant after 14 years. As of September 29, the restaurant will close for good. Owner Umberto Gibin tells the Chronicle that he waited out the summer and Labor Day in the hopes of seeing some more business, but the downtown slump has Barbacco hard — even though Perbacco is still chugging along. "I didn’t want to let it go, but there’s no other choice," Gibin said.
Longtime executive chef of both restaurants, Staffan Terje, left the business in early 2022 as part of a wave of resignations of respected chefs. Terje said he was retiring to the woods to spend time foraging for mushrooms, taking over the Napa foraging business Wine Forest Wild Foods.
Up the hill from Barbacco on Nob Hill, Eater brought the news of the opening of Collina, which debuts on Thursday, September 28. It's a smaller sister restaurant to Seven Hills, taking over the original Seven Hills location at 1550 Hyde Street — Seven Hills moved to 1896 Hyde in 2019. The aim is make things affordable and approachable for the neighborhood, with pastas priced between $14 and $26 — and in addition to serving Seven Hills' beloved egg yolk raviolo, there will be a 48-layer lasagna Bolognese on the menu as well.
Breakfast sandwich and burger specialist Bandit is finally opening this weekend in that Dolores Park-adjacent space at 18th and Dolores, in the former Namu Stonepot space. As Tablehopper reports, the soft opening is on Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and they'll be open during those hours for the first two weeks.
Ultra-high-end sushi spot Hashiri, which has been closed on Mint Plaza through most of the pandemic after briefly trying out plastic-pod dining in 2020, just reopened this week. Tablehopper reports that they were back open on Tuesday, September 19, and omakase chef Toshiaki Ono, who opened the original Hashiri in Tokyo a decade ago, ostensibly remains the executive chef.
Oakland is also getting a high-end omakase spot: Sushi Salon. The popular pop-up is moving to a brick-and-mortar space later this year, as the Chronicle reports. Owners Joji Nonaka and Anna Osawa are opening an intimate, eight-seat space serving an 18-course omakase menu at 4008 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Before they open, reportedly by year-end, they will continue doing the pop-up at Berkeley’s Fish & Bird Izakaya.
The Chronicle still is not producing weekly restaurant reviews — and the backlog, given that former critic Soleil Ho wasn't doing them either, is sizable at this point. Associate critic Cesar Hernandez has taken up some of the slack, and this week filed a review of Napa food truck Joella’s Deli, and chef Ian Rosenstrauch's standout fried chicken sandwiches. Newly hired critic, Bay Area native MacKenzie Chung Fegan, who has most recently been at Bon Appetit, should be filing her first review any week now.
And, in case you missed it earlier this week, beloved Little Saigon Vietnamese spot Turtle Tower has permanently closed after 23 years in business. The building went up for sale a few months back. And Oakland's Le Cheval called it quits after 38 years due to rampant crime deterring customers, but the owner is considering new locations outside Oakland.
Also, not shockingly, the spinoff wine bar that took over the space of short-lived Hi Felicia in Oakland, called Jellybean, has closed after just two months.