If you've nixed the Long Bar & Bistro on Fillmore from your neighborhood "go to" list, it may be worth revisiting now, as those changes from new owner Reza Esmaili that we mentioned back in June have started to take hold. For one, Erik Hopfinger, who opened Circa in 2006 and has since been on Top Chef, has already started reworking the menu to create an approachable American bill of fare with "an elevated touch"; while Esmaili fine-tunes sourcing, the bar program, interior and the business end of things. But as Inside Scoop mentioned, the big-time changes, new name and concept won't be revealed to the public until November. Esmaili tells us the eventual hours will be 11 a.m. to midnight, daily. He's aiming to be that neighborhood fixture where locals can come in for lunch, a post-dinner night cap and everything in between.
Esmaili also has several creative ideas for the cocktail program. Since so many neighborhood folk order vodka sodas, he'll be offering a "vodka(s) & soda(s)" menu with 15 "cool" vodka choices and 15 "interesting" sodas to choose from. He may also offer a "Feel More, Spend Less" menu (a pun on "Fillmore," get it?), featuring 100-proof liquors and suggested preparations, like Esmaili's preferred: neat. Although these bar changes are gradually being implemented, you can eat Hopfinger's food as soon as today. Esmaili tells us he just put on ten new dishes, including short ribs, risotto and a scallop appetizer. They also have a solid burger, ground in-house and served on a Panorama bun. As far as the new name goes, Esmaili can't reveal anything yet, although he says it's two words; and we're pretty darn sure the first one is "Fillmore" and the second one conveys the neighborhoody, approachable establishment he strives to create, although it's not something obvious like "bar" or "bistro." Since you're all so good at guessing, take a stab here in the comments and let's see what we can come up with.
Reza strikes a pose inside Long Bar & Bistro. [Photo: Food GPS]