1599 Howard St., SOMA
Phone: (415) 580-7493
Status: Opened today
Western SOMA finally has a legitimate coffee shop in the form of Gaslamp Cafe, which opened today at 12th and Howard in the space that was originally going to be a location of Coffee Bar. After that project was scrapped, first-time restaurateur Albert Lee swooped in, and the new cafe now offers the full range of Blue Bottle espresso drinks, along with Five Mountains tea and pastries from Bakers of Paris. "There was really a need for a coffee shop and lunch spot in this part of SOMA, and the space was already half-finished, so it was great for us," Lee says.
The chef is Emmanuel Garba, who previously worked at Kincaid's and Coconut Caribbean in Palo Alto. Trained in New Orleans, he specializes in Cajun fare, but there isn't much of it on the lunch menu, which mostly sticks to standards like a turkey club, a Reuben, panini, salads, and tomato-basil soup. (Lee says they may expand the menu and add more of a New Orleans flare based on feedback from the neighborhood.) There are also housemade breakfast sandwiches, oatmeal, yogurt, and bagels in the morning. Check out the full menu here. Gaslamp is still in the process of applying for its beer and wine license, but once it comes through, they'll offer a strong craft beer program as well.
As for the fate of The Window, the space's commissary kitchen and ordering window on 12th Street that played host to a number of rotating pop-ups, Lee says it's staying closed for now. Depending on how things go, he may use it to offer quick to-go lunch options, or stay open late to serve snacks to the club crowds migrating over from 11th Street.
The decor was designed by Lee and is bright and cheery, with Edison bulbs hanging from the ceiling and, of course, a New Orleans-style gaslamp inside. Hours are currently Monday-Friday, 6:30 am-6 pm, and Saturday, 8-5 pm; they're closed Sundays. In about a month or so, Gaslamp plans to open for dinner service and Sunday brunch. Garba will get a chance to unleash more of his Cajun chops then, with ribs and salmon among the promised menu offerings.