Winter is the slow season for local restaurant openings, but even by that standard, we've had an exceptionally slow winter. Turns out there's a good reason why: no fewer than 12 major projects are expected to open between the end of April and the middle of June. The projects span SF and Oakland, and include two different restaurants from notable Top Chef alumni, a big new project from Michael Mina, James Syhabout's fourth restaurant, the revamp of FiDi German stalwart Schroeder's, and three spots centered around SF's passion for craft beer. Without any further ado, we present the 12 spring and early summer openings that'll be on everyone's lips.
1) Union Square: Aveline and The European
Address: 490 Geary St.
Major Players: Casey Thompson, Adam Wilson
The Situation: Thompson, the Top Chef fan favorite from season 3 who trained under renowned Dallas chef Dean Fearing, is opening her first-ever solo restaurant, serving "refined casual fare." Meanwhile, Wilson, a veteran of Beretta, will mix cocktails in the intimate next-door bar, The European.
Projected Opening: Early May
[All coverage of Aveline]
2) Jack London Square: The Dock at Linden Street
Address: 95 Linden St.
Major Players: James Syhabout, Adam Lamoreaux
The Situation: Syhabout's fourth restaurant (after Michelin-starred Commis, Box & Bells, and Hawker Fare) is a team-up with Linden Street Brewery's Lamoreaux, where he'll serve casual, global food that goes well with beer. In addition to Linden's house brews, the bar will have full liquor, with cocktails and wine, and the huge parking lot will be ripe for block-party action.
Projected Opening: June
[All coverage of The Dock at Linden Street]
3) Financial District : Pabu and The Ramen Bar
Address: 101 California St.
Major Players: Michael Mina, Ken Tominaga
The Situation: Mina's Japanese concept, which kicked off in Baltimore, is coming to SF in a big way with a huge space at 101 California. He'll have help on the sushi front from Tominaga, who runs Rohnert Park's acclaimed Hana Japanese Restaurant. Expect a full tour of Japanese cuisine: sushi, sashimi, shabu-shabu, robata, and a big bar with cocktails. Next door, the Ramen Bar (Mina Group's first-ever fast-casual project) will serve farm-to-table bowls of handmade noodles with organic protein and veggies.
Projected Opening: Early June
[All coverage of Pabu]
4) Cow Hollow: Palm House
Address: 2032 Union St.
Major Players: Gayle Pirie, Lea Walker, Anderson Pugash, Bruce McDonald, Sam Levy
The Situation: The historic mansion that once housed Nettie's Crab Shack is becoming a Caribbean-oriented restaurant, with a menu conceptualized by Foreign Cinema chef-owner Pirie (and a kitchen led by Walker, Foreign Cinema's onetime chef de cuisine). Bergerac co-owners Pugash and McDonald have extended the patio, updated the interior with a Victorian colonial vibe, and brought on Levy, the Restaurant at Meadowood's bar manager, to come up with some tropical cocktails (a slushy machine is involved).
Projected Opening: May
[All coverage of Palm House]
5) Dogpatch: Magnolia Dogpatch & Smokestack
Address: 2505 3rd St.
Major Players: Dave McLean, Dennis Lee
The Situation: We joked about this one being long-delayed when it appeared in our fall openings guide; we're now in April, and it's still not open. However, we're told that it's really, truly going to be open the week of April 28th, so cross your fingers. By this point, regular readers should know the score: brews from McLean, creative BBQ from Lee (Namu Gaji), and whiskey.
Projected Opening: The week of April 28
[All coverage of Magnolia Dogpatch]
6) Presidio: The Commissary
Address: 101 Montgomery St.
Major Players: Traci des Jardins, Robbie Lewis
The Situation: Des Jardins has teamed up with the Presidio Trust for a huge new food program, encompassing catering, a small market, and this 112-seat restaurant, featuring Cal-Spanish cuisine from her protege Lewis, the former chef of Bacar. It'll have takeout and casual fare during the day, and become more upscale at night. Presidio locals will be able to snag housemade bread, jam, and charcuterie for their own tables as well.
Projected Opening: Late May
[All coverage of Traci des Jardins]
7) The Mission: Urban Putt
Address: 1096 South Van Ness Ave.
Major Players: Steve Fox, Dane Boryta, Colin Carroll
The Situation: The Mission continues its path to becoming a literal urban playground with the arrival of its first-ever mini-golf course, courtesy of longtime enthusiast Fox. The 14 holes will have San Francisco themes, while Boryta (Bottle Cap) will offer a menu of deep-dish pizzas, fried chicken, and other Americana. Full liquor is still in the works, meaning the planned Bon Vivants cocktails are off the table for now, but Carroll (Elixir) will curate craft brews and loophole cocktails.
Projected Opening: May 5
[All coverage of Urban Putt]
8) Union Square: Dirty Habit
Address: 12 4th St.
Major Players: David Bazirgan, Francis Ang, Brian Means
The Situation: Fine-dining palace Fifth Floor is no longer, but its team has stuck around to guide it into a new, more casual incarnation: a bar-centric concept featuring Means' cocktails (including some barrel-aged, large-format, and savory options), and small and shared plates from chef Bazirgan and pastry chef Ang. The space has been totally redone, and will center around a brand-new patio with a fire pit.
Projected Opening: May 1
[All coverage of Dirty Habit]
9) The Mission: Chino
Address: 3198 16th St.
Major Players: Joe Hargrave, Telmo Faria, Danny Louie
The Situation: The Tacolicious dynamic duo of Hargrave and Faria are embarking on their first non-Mexican project with Chino, which will feature dumplings, noodles, veggies, and other Chinese small plates. Louie (Alembic) has been brought on to do the cocktails.
Projected Opening: End of May
[All coverage of Chino]
10) Financial District: Schroeder's
Address: 240 Front St.
Major Players: Jan Wiginton, Andy Chun, Manfred Wrembel
The Situation: A historic FiDi German beer hall is getting a fresh start thanks to Wiginton and Chun (Press Club), who are transforming it into a dual-concept restaurant with a casual bar in front and a more serious Cal-German restaurant in back. Expect 22 German beers curated by Master Cicerone Rich Higgins, cocktails from Future Bars alum Claire Jane Hunter, Austrian and German wines, and plenty of post-work office types ready to enjoy them all.
Projected Opening: Early May
[All coverage of Schroeder's]
11) Lakeshore Grand: Shakewell Bar & Kitchen
Address: 3407 Lakeshore Ave.
Major Players: Jen Biesty, Tim Nugent
The Situation: Biesty and Nugent (Scala's Bistro) are Top Chef and Top Chef: Just Desserts alumni, respectively, and have teamed up to create a casual neighborhood Mediterranean spot in Grand Lake with Spanish, Turkish, and North African influences. (You can see a sample menu right here.) Expect cocktails, too.
Projected Opening: Late May
[All coverage of Shakewell]
12) NOPA/Western Addition: 4505 Burgers & BBQ
Address: 705 Divisadero St.
Major Players: Ryan and Cesalee Farr
The Situation: The former Da' Pitt was pretty much tailor-made for famed local butcher Farr, who'll have access to one of the few grandfathered wood-fired BBQ pits in the city. Expect his killer burgers, chicken, pork shoulder, brisket, and artisanal sausages, plus beer and wine. A big patio will create a convivial atmosphere.
Projected Opening: Takeout (no seating) launches May 3; patio opens mid-June
[All coverage of 4505 Meats]
What'd we miss? Tell us about your most anticipated spring opening in the comments.