One of only three three-star restaurants in San Francisco, Quince, is reopening later this month following a renovation that was billed as lasting six months, but has stretched on for nearly eleven.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year in San Francisco, the acclaimed Quince will once again be welcoming in diners starting November 28. And the formerly moody, gray dining room on Jackson Street has reportedly been made "lighter and brighter," and a good deal smaller — with just ten tables concentrated nearer to the front windows, which are now French doors that open onto the street and the already existing parklet.
The space also features a new mural by artist Galatée Martin.
As co-owner Lindsay Tusk tells the Chronicle, "In its prior incarnation it was quite dark and a little bit austere. We thought if we’re going to continue to operate Quince for the next 20 years, and that is what we hope that we can do, we want to be in a light-filled, joyous space."
Quince has for years been the Bay Area's only three-star Michelin restaurant that leaned toward Italy, with pasta courses from Chef Michael Tusk being a regular highlight of its menus. The Tusks met two decades ago while working at legendary Oakland restaurant Oliveto, and the initial version of Quince that debuted in San Francisco in 2003 was a more humble affair that highlighted Tusk's love of seasonal Italian cuisine.
That was back when the restaurant was in Pacific Heights, in the cozy space that Octavia occupies now. Within a few years, in 2009, Quince moved downtown to 470 Pacific Avenue, becoming a more upscale, more ambitious restaurant — and that was followed in 2010 by the opening of the much-loved, next-door sister restaurant Cotogna.
Accolades have been consistent, with Tusk winning the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Pacific in 2007, and two Michelin stars were followed by a third in 2016.
The Tusks have also been in expansion mode even as this major renovation was underway — earlier this year they opened their private membership and event space, called Officina, a few blocks away in North Beach, and still to come is an espresso and gelato shop at 596 Pacific Avenue, inspired by Cotogna's popular gelato cart. Their wine bar Verjus, meanwhile, remains temporarily closed.
Chef Michael Tusk tells the Chronicle this week that the new Quince will be more "adventuresome" than before, and something more "personal" as well. As Lindsay Tusk tells the paper, "We feel reinvigorated and a little bit freer and looser."
"We’re looking forward to the other side of San Francisco being what it was and what it can be," Chef Tusk tells the Chronicle, acknowledging the city's current challenges. "By doing this, I hope it will inspire others to stay put."
Quince reopens on November 28 offering a $270 four-course menu, or a $360 lengthier version. A separate bar menu will be offered as well, in addition to an a la carte menu.
The restaurant website has yet to be updated with the reopening, and it doesn't appear that the reservation books have opened yet. Stay tuned.
Image: The Quince parklet, via Google Street View