A big crowd at InnerFog. [Photo: Courtesy of InnerFog]
In the wake of all the fires we've been seeing this week, it's nice to know that even when disaster strikes, a restaurant can pick up the pieces and even improve in the process. Such was the case at InnerFog, the Inner Sunset wine bar that was badly damaged by flooding back in March, and reopened its doors last Saturday. While about a third of the bar had to be replaced and the back room was badly damaged, owner John Nettesheim saw an opportunity in the tragedy: "It gave us the chance to add some things we might not have otherwise, including a draft system."
Said draft system is now up and running, with four draft wines (a rosé from Broc Cellars and three reds) and a brand-new beer program from Master Cicerone Rich Higgins, featuring six drafts (including Rodenbach Grand Cru and British-made Meantime IPA, which isn't widely available in the States). The back bar was replaced, and a glass-front cooler for bottled beers (there are more than 30 available) was added. Though he still doesn't have a full kitchen, Nettesheim also saw an opportunity to add food, bringing on chef Larry Piaskowy to run a bar-snacks program.
Piaskowy, who was once a manager at Cowgirl Creamery's Sidekick cafe in the Ferry Building, has a ton of experience getting food programs off the ground in tight bar spaces: he launched the brunch program at 15 Romolo before starting his own line of bar snacks, Bar Jars, which are sold at Blackbird and Reed & Greenough. Before the flood, they were also sold at InnerFog, which made Piaskowy the perfect choice when Nettesheim was in search of a chef. "Right now, I've been able to do eight cold plates," says Piaskowy, whose dishes range from fava-bean hummus with carrots and oat crackers to steak tartare to smoked duck with arugula. Cheese and charcuterie are also available. See the full menu here.
Though they've managed to come pretty far in just a few months, Piaskowy tells us that he and Nettesheim aren't done yet: they're looking to install a convection oven sometime in the next 6-8 weeks, which will allow for some hot food, and they're also considering adding a raw bar with oysters, crudos, and ceviche. Piaskowy's Bar Jars are also still available for retail sale at both InnerFog and the monthly Meat Markets at Bluxome Street Winery.