The New Orleans-inspired Elite Cafe has been dark for months, after Sidecar Hositality (Schroeder’s, Press Club) bought the Fillmore Street staple. Owner Andy Chun and the team have since been working to revamp the 35-year-old restaurant, including a space and menu refresh, and now its debut is here.
Executive chef (and New Orleans native) Chris Borges has revitalized the menu with an array of Cajun and Creole flavors. Luckily, he’s kept all versions of Louisiana classics on the menu, such as crawfish etouffée and Elite’s signature Meetinghouse biscuits, but he’s also modernized it a bit, with dishes like a muffaletta chopped salad. You can see the menu in full below, which relies heavily on both Bay Area produce and Louisiana products imported in.
As for the drinks, Pacific Coctail Haven’s Kevin Diedrich is in charge, creating classics like the Sazerac, plus new takes on drinks like frozen Irish coffee and his version of the Hurricane (Banks 5 Island rum, Coruba dark rum, Galliano, citrus, passion fruit, bitters). Beverage director Mauro Cirilli created the wine list.
BCV Architects worked on the refresh of the 92-seat space, as they did for Schroeder’s and Sidecar, giving some love to the worn mahogany booths, and adding a marble bar and table tops, black and white tile floor, and art deco-inspired pendants around the 20-foot-high room. Historic San Francisco icons Willie Brown, Harvey Milk, and Willie Mays look down from the walls.
Elite Cafe is fully open to the public as of today, open weekdays from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.