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Saison's Wine Director Opening A SOMA Cafe/Wine Bar

Photos: Google Maps, WineBuzz

Mark Bright is one of the hottest stars on the local wine scene: in addition to serving as the wine director and co-owner of Saison, he co-owns Divisadero coffee and wine bar Vinyl, manages a wine investment fund, and consults on wine lists for restaurants. But all that hasn't dissuaded him from his long-held plans to open another wine bar and cafe closer to his SOMA home base. He's finally scored a spot (the former Gluten Free Grocery, to be specific) that's adjacent to both his home and Saison for the still-unnamed project, which will offer a selection of top-notch vintages by the glass or bottle, emphasizing both Burgundy wines (Bright's area of specialty) and small-production domestic offerings.

The space is intended as an all-day cafe for the neighborhood, where local office types can come in for a sit-down breakfast, grab lunch, or enjoy a glass of wine after work. It'll be more high-end than Vinyl, with a Parisian-inspired feel. While the cafe won't have a full kitchen, Bright is still aiming to execute as full a menu as possible using induction burners and other alternative cooking techniques (he cites similarly situated Local's Corner as an inspiration). The menu is still in flux as he seeks a chef, but he hopes to have coffee and pastries to-go and waffles and eggs Benedict for dining in the morning, segueing into salads and sandwiches at lunch and charcuterie, a raw bar, and cheeses for the evening crowd. The space will seat 30-35 people, at a mix of couches and tables, to encourage lounging.

Bright says that the buildout won't be extensive once his permit goes through, and he's designing the space to be flexible and configurable, so he can move things around to host wine classes and other special events. As a tip of the hat to the neighborhood, he's also planning to donate a percentage of sales to the Little Giants youth baseball team. His current plan is to open sometime this summer; stay tuned for more details on a chef, name, and opening date.

· All Mark Bright posts [~ ESF ~]

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234 Townsend St., San Francisco, CA