Things appeared to be going swimmingly at the Ferry Building's decade-old Boulettes Larder, which not only expanded its space last year, but opened a spinoff, Bouli Bar, down the hall. But according to a recent blog post from chef Amaryll Schwertner, Boulettes and Bouli are both struggling. "I would humbly like to ask all of you who are able to come and have a meal at Boulettes Larder to come in for a visit," writes Schwertner, who was recently named one of the 100 best contemporary chefs by Alice Waters in the Phaidon book Coco. "[Co-owner Lori Regis] and I ask you with open hearts to come and experience our work. There are too many empty places at our tables and so much effort put into welcoming you." She adds that Bouli Bar is "near lonely most nights, and the beautiful food is incomplete with your enjoyment."
Though Schwertner writes that the restaurant expanded because "so many [customers] had wanted us to open on evenings," the Ferry Building can be a challenging spot for full-service restaurants, as many of its booths and attractions shut down around 7 or 8 pm, when a typical restaurant's evening service is just getting going. A Bauer review that slammed the service (but was appreciative of the food) likely didn't help, nor does the fact that Boulettes isn't open for brunch during the period when locals are most likely to drop by Ferry Plaza—the Saturday-morning farmers' market.
"The beauty of your experience is still woven into every decision we make, as it has been for the ten years we have been privileged to create our ambience and cuisine here," writes Schwertner. If you want to support Boulettes and Bouli Bar, consider swinging by Bouli Bar's new evening happy hour, which launched last night and runs Tuesday-Saturday, 3-6 pm. It features small plates like sardines and pita with artichoke hearts, as well as a full bar with cocktails (menu here). Schwertner is also doing a balsamic tasting with Steve and Jane Darland, who make authentic balsamic vinegar in New Mexico, on August 2.