Though its nearly 300-person capacity makes it one of the largest SF restaurants to open in recent memory, Bitters, Bock & Rye has kept things very close to the vest, softly opening the bar portion of the operation back in March. Now the project from Ron and Holly Kirkpatrick (Blur), Shannon Henne, and Jon Boswell, is finally going to launch its full restaurant component in the next couple of weeks, and has spilled some more info about what's going on both behind the bar and in the kitchen.
While the restaurant was delayed by the usual city hassles, the bar has been serving an abbreviated version of the full menu (smoker and all). The barbecue-centric menu comes from chef Mark Goodger (a CIA grad who's most recently been in the kitchen at the Front Porch), and is somewhat, but not entirely, Texas-style in its approach. St. Louis-style dry-rubbed ribs commingle with brisket and sausage on the menu, and there are also some more generally Southern-influenced plates, like shrimp and grits, hush puppies, and chicken and waffles, planned. But the most intriguing feature of the former Maharani space is that it came with a brewpub license, and so, like fellow 'cue spot Southpaw, the restaurant will soon be brewing up its own beers and serving them on the premises (and possibly bottling as well, depending on how licensing plays out). They remain tight-lipped, however, on who'll be working the brew kettle, which likely won't come online until the end of 2013 at the earliest.
Until its own beers are available, Bitters, Bock & Rye is serving up a 14-draft array of American craft brews, with offerings from Speakeasy and Lagunitas, among others. On the spirits side, bar lead Henne has been using the smoker to come up with some intriguing beverages, including a margarita with smoked jalapeños and a maple-rye old fashioned with house-smoked bacon. The enormous space shakes out into three rooms. The currently open portion is a brewpub with five TVs (and more on the way) that will double as a sports bar; it's been opening at 9 am on weekends now that it's football season. It'll soon be joined by a dining room decorated in "urban Southern" style, with barrels and low lighting, and a lounge that can double as a private-event room.
The good news for Polk Street drinkers: the kitchen will be open until 1 am every night, providing a rare late-night option for a sit-down meal in the midst of the many bars. Full brunch service should arrive a few weeks after opening, with lunch coming onboard later this year. Bitters, Bock & Rye is planning to open sometime in the next two weeks, and could open its doors as soon as this weekend; stay tuned for updates and photos of the expanded space.
· Bitters, Bock, and Rye Is Softly Open [Tenderlife]
· Bitters, Bock, and Rye Opening in the Maharani Space [Tablehopper]
· Bitters, Bock and Rye [Official website]