Ghirardelli Square is heating up, with an influx of new tenants designed to restore it to the vibrant destination it once was. Not only will it be the destination of a full-service restaurant from local favorite Le Marais, but it will be the location of Berkeley-native Jonathan Waxman's first foray into the San Francisco dining scene.
His new project, slated to arrive in fall of 2015, will focus on the Italian-influenced style that has made him one of the pioneers of "new California cuisine." According to The San Francisco Chronicle, the chef is planning a 110-seat dining room, with an accompanying 30-seat patio in the Mustard Building. There will also be an 80-seat self-service cafe, likely designed to cater to the busy stream of tourists passing through at any given time. However, Waxman wants to appeal to locals, as well as tourists, offering a menu he describes as "earthy, rustic and authentic," with plenty of fresh pasta, grilled and roasted meats and pizzas.
This is not the New York chef and restaurateur's first foray into the Bay Area dining scene, though it is his first San Francisco endeavor. In fact, Waxman took over the kitchen of Chez Panisse after the departure of Jeremiah Tower, before heading South to open the career-launching restaurant Michael's in Santa Monica. In the early '90s, he returned to open Napa's Table 29 (now Bistro Don Giovanni), followed by the now-shuttered West County Grill in Sebastopol in 2007. He is also still very present in New York, with the impending reopening of Jams in the fall, and his flagship restaurant, Barbuto.
It will be an interesting journey to revitalize Ghirardelli Square, which, though currently lacking in inspiring dining options, is home to some of the best views in the city. All parties involved seem confident that the historic landmark can bounce back as the worthwhile destination it once was. Stay tuned for more details they become available.