It is time to bid farewell to Saison as we know it. The Mission District restaurant with one of the hottest and most expensive tasting menus in the country, will be moving to SoMa before the end of the year. Chef-owner Josh Skenes and partner-wine director Mark Bright signed a lease at 178 Townsend in August, and today comes confirmation that Saison will up and move to that new location—and it is all happening within a very short timeline. The last day on Folsom Street is November 30.
French Laundry kitchen designer Tim Harrison is in the process of cleaning up the building's natural assets (35-foot-ceilings, exposed brick) to create an open 18-seat dining room, a 12-seat bar, and a state-of-of-the-art kitchen. There will be absolutely zero delineation between the cooking and eating spaces, creating a next level open kitchen. Other that Skenes' plan to scrap the chef's counter, the same menu format, and fire-driven style of food will be served.
But why such a big move, when Saison is outwardly killing it with Michelin stars and critical accolades where he is? Skenes goes on record, saying he was sold on the new space on Townsend Street because it is "full of history," having survived the 1906 earthquake. But since he won't increase seating capacity here, save for the cocktail-serving bar, some other factors like Folsom Street landlord negotiations, or being closer to the more moneyed Financial District, are probably at play here. Additional insights are welcome in the comments or over the tipline .
Look for the new reincarnation of Saison to open around "mid-December" of this year.