Call it the Souvla effect: high-quality fast casual restaurants are sweeping our city, with recent openings like Little Gem, Corridor, and Barzotto to make the case. Now Media Noche is coming, too, bringing counter-service Cuban food to the former 2,300-square-foot Radish space in the Mission. It’s from Madelyn Markoe (Tacolicious, Tres, Boxing Room) and Jessie Barker (Nopa, Tres, The Tavern at Lark Creek), two women with plenty of industry experience. The two have also spent extensive time in Cuba and Miami, drawing a lot of inspiration from the two. “We were attracted to this concept — it is delicious, craveable, and underrepresented in San Francisco,” Barker told Eater SF. “We wanted to bring the energy and vibrancy of Cuba to the fast casual platform.”
To do so, Barker and Markoe brought on Telmo Faria (Uma Casa, Tacolicious) as a consulting chef, and he’s created a SF-friendly menu of classic Cuban dishes with modern, local takes. Think the classic cubano as well as a fried chicken version, a media noche of course (a Cubano made with sweet brioche), bowls with lechon asado or ropa vieja with black beans, rice, and coconut sauce, croquetas, empanadas, ceviche, and more. Former Delfina pastry chef Jessica Sullivan is creating an ice cream popsicle program, with flavors like guava cheesecake with Maria cookies.
“We're not looking to do any traditional, direct Cuban cuisine,” Barker said. “We're lightening it up and making sure we're honoring and paying homage to Cuban food in Cuba and more specifically Miami.” Food will be in the affordable range, with sandwiches around $12 and bowls around $16.
It will be beer and wine only, and the focus will be more on local, interesting wine, plus refreshing sangrias made from rose and vinho verde. Hannah Collins (Beretta, Delarosa, Barzotto) is designing the space, which is full of light and on a corner. The duo are reapplying to allow outdoor seating.
Look out for Media Noche’s arrival in February, as there will be no construction and just aesthetic improvements.