Over five years after opening beloved Castro shoebox Frances, Melissa Perello is finally ready to make an expansion play. A few months back, she picked up the just-vacated Baker & Banker space in Pacific Heights, and now, as Inside Scoop reports, she's readying for a spring debut with the new restaurant, to be named Octavia (it's located at #1701 on the street of the same name).
At 50 seats, Octavia will more or less be a larger version of Frances, with the same approachable, casual, but refined fare that has made the Castro location such a force (and will likely resonate nicely in this similarly restaurant-starved 'hood). Paul Einbund will once again be leading the charge on wine, swapping out Frances' by-the-ounce draft program for bottled custom blends made each quarter by different winemakers. Paul Hobbs Wines and Skinner Vineyards will be first out of the gate.
Perello actually considered taking the B&B space for Frances back when Quince was leaving it for its current home in Jackson Square (she ultimately decided that a smaller spot would be the better option), and she'll be doing a major interior shakeup, opening the kitchen to the dining room and turning Baker & Banker's former pastry shop into a prep and private-dining area. The awnings have been removed, and the color palette is being lightened, to allow more natural light into the space. We'll have more on Octavia, and its possible opening date, in the coming weeks.