There's been some talk about recent developments at eight-month-old Castro "soul food" restaurant Criolla. Eater recently caught up with chef-owner Randy Lewis to see what he had to say about it all. One of the (nameless) managing partners recently left the building, and is in the process of being replaced by two new industry vets: Hans Purohit of Ristobar and Adam Wilson of Beretta. As Tablehopper puts it, the new ownership will allow Lewis to take the restaurant in the direction he originally wanted to go, and he's already started to change the menu. Lewis says he took out a lot of "the fluff," and streamlined operations to dinner-only.
After a new paint job and some interior tweaks coming this spring, the end goal is to create a "less diner-ish" feel, with a solid menu of more creative, locally sourced Southern food, real napkins, nicer plate ware, and a reservations system. They'll probably close up for a few days sometime in the coming months to allow for some of the more major interior changes to take place. As far as any price hikes you may have noticed, he says those are due to an exorbitant Castro/Market Street rent, higher minimum wage and all the other costs many of you know make SF one of the most expensive places in the country to run a restaurant.
And there's more. Lewis is also working with the new partners on a bbq location with two original smokers in Emeryville. He'll be working out menu items during Saturday day bbq nights at Criolla, so you can expect to see his St. Louis ribs, house-smoked andouille, smoked ham hocks and housemade bacon debut in the coming months. Once they've sealed the deal and opened in Emeryville, goods from the new smokers will show up on both of Lewis' menus: in San Francisco and the new bbq spot.