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Ryan McIlwraith Joins the Absinthe Group's Spanish Spot

Bill Russell-Shapiro and his team at the Absinthe Group revealed plans back in September to expand their empire from their Hayes Valley nexus (including Absinthe, Boxing Room, Arlequin Cafe, and Arlequin Wine Merchant) to a new restaurant at 8th and Brannan, but their opening chef and concept were still undecided. Now comes word that Ryan McIlwraith is onboard as executive chef, and that the as-yet unnamed restaurant will have a Spanish focus.

McIlwraith gathered plenty of experience working with Iberian cuisine with his previous post as chef de cuisine at Michael Chiarello's Coqueta. Prior to that, he worked at Chiarello's Bottega, Hubert Keller's Fleur de Lys in Las Vegas and Gordon Ramsay at the London in New York. Now, McIlwraith will be helming a Spanish-inspired menu that will span a light breakfast served in the lobby cafe (likely designed for tech workers on the go), plus lunch and dinner service in a main dining room.

Cocktail connoisseurs Jeff Hollinger and Jonny Raglin of Comstock Saloon are behind the bar program, which will be a focus considering the sizable bar area. A glass facade and open kitchen will lend an open feel to the space, which will have about 200 seats.

For now, Russell-Shapiro is targeting a mid-summer opening date, so stay tuned for updates (including the name of the restaurant) to come.

· Absinthe Group looks to Spain [Inside Scoop]
· The Absinthe Group Opening Restaurant at 8th & Brannan [~ ESF ~]
· Inside Coqueta, Seducing the Embarcadero Tomorrow [~ ESF ~]


888 Brannan St., San Francisco, CA