The Starlight Room becomes Starlite starting this weekend, the family behind Original Joe's and Little Original Joe's is opening a new Mexican place in West Portal next week, and more in this edition of This Week In Food.

The grand opening is tonight (Feb. 2) for Starlite, the new lounge and restaurant that replaces the former Starlight Room, also formerly Harry Denton's Starlight Room, atop the Beacon Grand hotel — itself, formerly, the Sir Francis Drake. Starlite comes with new and cheeky cocktails from local bar star Scott Baird, formerly of Trick Dog, and a fresh design from Ken Fulk alum Alice Crumeyrolle. We reported in December on the revamp of the 21-story-high bar, which comes with a new menu of bites from D.C. chef Johnny Spero, and the redesign creates lots more seating areas with views over the city. The place, as before, feature dancing, and nightly DJ sets from music director Nina Tarr.

Big news in sleepy West Portal! The family behind Original Joe's and Little Original Joe's are opening a new Mexican restaurant next week at 255 West Portal Avenue, called Elena's. We first heard about the project over two years ago, and how the brother-and-sister ownership team of John and Elena Duggan wanted to open a place serving "classic Mexican-American fare," at the behest of Elena Duggan's teenage daughters, Catherine and Julia Alcantara, who are half-Mexican. Their father's family is from San Bartolo Morelos, and the restaurant's menu takes inspiration from their annual trips there and dishes Elena Duggan makes at home, including pozole, tamales, and whole-roasted branzino for fish tacos. Fresh tortillas will be coming daily from famed Mission Mexicatessin La Palma, and desserts will include churros and cheesecakes from Zanze’s Cheesecake — the beloved business that the Duggans took over last year. Elena's opens on February 5. Find reservations here.

The former Le Fantastique space at 22 Franklin Street, vacated by the lauded wine bar/restaurant in December, already has a new taker, and it's the prolific restaurant group Mins Group. The SF Business Times caught the liquor license activity, and it's not clear if the new restaurant will be sushi-focused, like Mins restaurants Sushi Sato (1122 Post), Sato Omakase (1113 Post), Sushi Hon (2598 Harrison), and Sushi Hakko (2184 Union), or if it may lean Korean like Barnzu (1849 Union). Meanwhile, Le Fantastique is reportedly seeking out a new location.

Popular Filipino-Mexican chain Señor Sisig is opening what will be their fourth brick-and-mortar location at the Chase Center, in Thrive City, in a vacant space between Gott's Roadside and Kayah by Burma Love, which is opening later this year. The new Señor Sisig is a ways off though, and not opening until February 2025 — i.e. in time for the Chase Center to host the NBA All-Star Game next year.

Bar Crenn, which last year became the first restaurant in the country to serve lab-grown meat, is no longer serving that meat after some negative publicity for the company making the product. Berkeley-based Upside Foods makes cultivated chicken that a recent report by Bloomberg found was made with skin cells and was higher in cholesterol and lead than regular chicken — the report also questioned the cleanliness of the cultivation process. Bloomberg now reports that Bar Crenn removed the menu item just after the new year, but they have not commented on the matter.

Oakland LGBTQ spot Port Bar (2023 Broadway) is closing down after their lease was apparently not renewed. The owners tell ABC7 that the landlord "is demanding they stop holding queer programming" at the bar. However, the landlord, Phil Leong claimed to have no issue with LGBTQ people, as the SF Business Times reported in November, he just takes issue with crowded events in the space and the liability they pose. Port Bar remains open this weekend, and for a couple more weeks, until February 25. The owners say they plan to reopen Port Bar in a new location.

And once-popular Oakland restaurant and bar Sidebar closed for good last weekend, as the business announced on Instagram. Owners Seth and Jenni Bregman, who own nearby Bardo Lounge & Supperclub on Lakeshore, took over the business from friends Mark Drazek and Barbara Mulas, who retired in 2022, and gave it a revamp, but it seems business hasn't been strong enough. The space is now going to be used for prep, event, and overflow space for Bardo.

Top image: Photo by Mark Mediana