20th Century Cafe
198 Gough St., Hayes Valley
Status: Softly open
After plenty of waits and construction delays, 20th Century Cafe, the new project from former Range pastry chef Michelle Polzine, finally opened its doors over the holiday weekend. (It's named for her favorite film, starring Carole Lombard and John Barrymore.) To begin with, they're primarily open for a late breakfast/afternoon snack sort of menu, serving up espresso drinks, granola with yogurt and fruit, and pastries inspired by Eastern Europe, including Russian honey cake, potato knishes, and a torte with pistachio, apricot, and chocolate. Other options include chocolate chip cookies, coffee cake, and three flavors of housemade ice cream: peach leaf, vanilla, and chicory. (FYI: it's also cash-only at the moment.)
Initially, the cafe will only be open from 10 am-6 pm, and Polzine tells us that she'll expand into morning coffee before she begins offering lunch options like soups, sandwiches, and duck liver mousse. (For an idea of what she'll be serving, she gave us a sample menu for the project back in January, but that's, of course, subject to change.) Asked for an expansion timeline, the noted silent-film aficionado says, "Probably not until after the Silent Film Festival [running July 18-21]. I don't want to miss it." Located in a former laundromat across the street from Rich Table, the space is cute and quaint, with an old-fashioned copper cash register, tiled bar, and a handful of cafe tables; she also was able to secure the proper range hood via her Kickstarter campaign, so she'll be ready to cook up some blini and chicken paprikas.
· Michelle Polzine Kickstarts For a Range Hood [~ ESF ~]
· Michelle Polzine Reveals 20th Century Cafe Sample Menu [~ ESF ~]
· Michelle Polzine Opening 20th Century Cafe [~ ESF ~]