North Beach is getting two new spots for the price of one with the debuts of Doc Ricketts and Doc's Lab. The restaurant and music/comedy venue are taking over the former Purple Onion space, which has a historic background as a comedy club that's hosted the likes of Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce, and Zach Galifianakis. The space has been revamped by Christopher Burnett (Darwin Cafe), Charlie Brown, and chef Justin Deering (Cafe des Amis, Conduit), who have made it their goal to have not only a solid neighborhood restaurant, but the best food and drink offerings of any live performance venue in town. The project is named for a close friend of John Steinbeck's, a Monterey-based marine biologist who inspired characters in Cannery Row and The Grapes of Wrath.
Doc Ricketts, which opened Wednesday, is a petite 40-seat neighborhood restaurant featuring Deering's take on French brasserie fare. The chef is offering five kinds of housemade charcuterie, including duck rillettes and porchetta di testa (aged salumis are forthcoming), and the menu has all the greatest hits of the moment, from burrata with artichokes and peppers to halibut crudo. Entrees include a pork chop with spaetzle, roasted chicken with chicken-liver toast, and sea bass with clams. Here's the dinner menu.
The subterranean Doc's Lab will launch next Friday, September 12, with a show by country-rockers The Sam Chase; the next night will feature a comedy showcase with Scott Capurro, Joe Klocek, and Reggie Steele, plus burlesque and live music. The venue is already fully booked through November, and artists like Go By Ocean and Mr. Lucky will trade off stage time with comedians like Laurie Kilmartin, Emily Heller, and Joe Bartnick. Sundays will always feature a big band, Mondays will offer open-mic comedy, and Thursdays will be a comedy showcase for local comedians. Check out the full schedule. The entire Doc Ricketts menu is also available in the Lab, if you want to eat while you catch a show.
Hours for Doc Ricketts are Sunday-Wednesday, 5:30-10 pm, and Thursday-Saturday, 5:30 pm-12 am; Doc's Lab has yet to set hours. The two spaces share a full liquor license, so expect cocktails and wine on offer.