Though the Mission lost one beer-centric destination when Abbott's Cellar closed last year, there's a new beer-focused restaurant already in the works. Reno, Nevada-based Brasserie Saint James has taken over the roomy space, with a fall opening in the works.
Owner Art Farley has long had his eye on the San Francisco dining scene, hoping to bring his popular Reno spot to the the Bay Area; when the Abbott's Cellar space opened up, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. In fact, the brewery and restaurant was named "Best Mid-Size Brewpub and brewers in America" at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival, as well as earning a gold medal for their Daily Wages brew.
When he opened his first beer bar in Reno seven years ago, Saint James Infirmary, Farley assembled one of the most comprehensive and interesting beer lists in Reno. Eventually, other local bars got in on the action, and it became difficult to stock the beers he'd become known for. At that point, he decided, it was probably easier to make his own beers; Brasserie St. James opened soon afterward in an old icehouse, boasting a 25-barrel brewhouse. Now, besides supplying the restaurants with beer, Brasserie Saint James is bottling their own beer with plans to distribute in San Francisco.
At the upcoming San Francisco location, Farley says they'll do a slight remodel, with upgrades that include the addition of a seven barrel brewhouse in the back of the space. The set-up will produce around 200-500 barrels of beer per year, which will include at least two specialty beers exclusive to San Francisco. Head brewers (and brothers) Josh and Matt Watterson will run the operation, heading down from Reno to oversee a monthly brew.
As for the menu, Farley says it will be similar to the original location in Reno, offering brasserie fare with everything made in-house, from the sausage and burgers to cassoulet and moules frites. "I didn't want to play down to people," says Farley of opening a French brasserie in Reno. "That definitely won't be a problem here." Though the chef is still TBD, the opening menu will be a collaboration between Farley and the Reno team. Current favorites from the original menu, like the Dixie chicken, which features Southern-fried chicken thighs, creamed kale and grits, will make their way down South, as well as some new dishes tailored to San Francisco and the possibility of a raw bar (Farley is a huge fan of old-school Swan Oyster Depot).
The plan currently includes dinner service, plus a happy hour and late night menu. Don't fret, brunch fans, as a weekday brunch menu might appear down the line. Stay tuned for more details on menu, timelines and more.