It's official: The Republic is gone for good, and some new faces have already come along to snap it up. Chef Erik Lowe and pastry chef Aaron Toensing, who just announced their respective departures from Fog City a week ago, have secured the prime piece of Marina real estate, which they'll be turning into an as-yet-unnamed casual restaurant. Inside Scoop originally broke the story, noting that the duo plan to debut a 100+ seat restaurant with a full bar and a Negroni-centric cocktail menu.
Both chefs came up under Bruce Hill at Bix, with Toensing serving 12 years as pastry chef and Lowe holding the chef de cuisine role for six years. Hill shifted the two utility players a few blocks away to help open Fog City in 2013, where they remained until last month. Lowe says the menu at the new restaurant will be inspired by the "Friday Lunch Club" the duo worked on at Bix, which emphasized pasta, fish, and vegetables; they even considered turning the restaurant into a red-sauce joint, but decided to keep the concept more openly American, including some "nice big meat dishes" intended for sharing.
The space, once home to Scott's Seafood, "needs love, but it's got good bones," says Lowe. The duo will work with designer Michael Guthrie to overhaul the interior and design an entirely new kitchen. They're trying for a late-spring opening, but say the project may get pushed until summer, depending on construction.