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Verbena Quietly Shifts Concept, Will Re-Open This Week As Reverb Kitchen & Bar

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The new concept aims for a more casual, neighborhood vibe.

Verbena, circa December 2013
Verbena, circa December 2013
Patricia Chang

After little more than a year on Polk Street, Verbena is getting a quick revamp this week. With chef Ryan Shelton taking over after the departure of original chef-owner Sean Baker earlier this month, the restaurant says they've been humbly taking feedback from their Russian Hill neighbors in recent months and will re-open on Thursday, March 26th as Reverb Kitchen & Bar. And, yes, that is a pun on "feedback."

In a statement from the team:

Our original vision for 2323 Polk Street was a lively, casual, neighborhood restaurant where people would happily come to eat and drink frequently. While our first incarnation as Verbena was well received and loved by many, it did not meet our own internal hopes and aspirations. We spoke with many of our friends and colleagues in this beloved Russian Hill neighborhood and confirmed that many felt the same way. Ultimately, it was time for a second take.

We chose the name "Reverb" for three reasons. First, as an homage to our first take as "Verbena". Second, we value and welcome feedback from our community of guests so that we can truly offer something that resonates with them. Third, we define re\verb\ as "the second note of an expression, action or state of being."

The original incarnation was indeed well-loved: sitting on our own Eater 38 list through most of 2014, garnering a best chef of 2014 nomination for Baker and two-and-a-half stars for the restaurant's veggie-heavy cuisine from Bauer.

As for the new Re-Verbena 2.0, Shelton will stick to what the Gather team does best: "a balanced menu of omnivore and vegetable dishes" drawn from the wealth of local farmers and producers. The bar, likewise, will feature a combination of classic and craft cocktails, plus an "accessible" wine list from "talented and responsible small producers." A website and final menu is forthcoming, but Reverb will be open for service starting Thursday, March 26th.


2323 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109 415-441-2323