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SF’s Most Anticipated Openings, Winter 2017

What's going to be hot and fresh from December through March


This winter is primed for a great crop of restaurant openings, from tacos to Indian food to rotisserie chicken. It’s a good mix of fast-casual and fine dining, with options in SF, the East Bay, and Napa. So mark your calendars: Here are 11 hotly anticipated openings in the near future.

Alba Ray’s

Location: 2293 Mission St., Mission

Major Players: Adam Rosenblum, Alvin Garcia, Matthew Russell Woods (Bacchanal, Herbsaint)

The Situation: Finally the Cajun concept from the team behind Popson's craveable burger has a name: Alba Ray’s. It’s a mash-up of Rosenblum’s daughter’s name and Garcia’s son’s name, making it a total family affair. There’ll be New Orleans classics like boudin balls with pickled peppers and creole mustard, frog legs sauce piquant, shrimp and grits, and crawfish boils when in season. Cocktails will be simple, classic versions of New Orleans favorites, like Sazeracs, though Garcia says he definitely wants a frozen drink machine or two in the mix.

Projected Opening: January

Arsenal (New Name TBD)


Location: 715 Brannan St.

Major Players: Erik Sun (Bestia)

The Situation: Another Angeleno has ventured North: Erik Sun (an investor in LA's Bestia) is opening two concepts in San Francisco. Originally destined to be called Arsenal, Sun was forced to change the name because of conflicts with trademarks with a certain overseas football club. Whatever it will be called, the first restaurant will be an Asian concept with barbecue grills at every table, a noodle bar and yakiniku, complete with an official Kobe beef certification; there'll also be beer, wine, and sake. The Hunted will be a 6,000-square-foot restaurant, featuring "Italian leaning" cuisine with long braise times and whole animal cookery, though its identity is still being worked out.

Projected Opening: Early 2017

Acacia House

Acacia House

Location: 1915 Main St., St. Helena

Major Players: Chris Cosentino, Oliver Wharton

The Situation: Part of the 68-room Las Alcobas hotel property, Acacia House will serve as the accompanying restaurant. The menu will capture "the prevailing seasonal sensibility of California's wine country," and will be composed of small and large plates to complement Napa wines. Because the restaurant is part of the hotel, it'll provide breakfast, room service and poolside dining, as well as the most Napa of all things: picnic baskets and lunch bags (musettes) for cyclists.

Projected Opening: Late January

Glena’s Tacos and Margaritas

Location: 632 20th Street, Dogpatch

Major Players: Michael Gaines (Kin Khao, Manresa), Stephanie Gaines (Plow)

The Situation: After setting the scene with a series of pop-ups, Glena’s will permanently open in the Dogpatch in a petite 500-square-foot space, serving casual Mexican fare. The menu will be about 12-15 items, plus a full bar with cocktails, beer, and wine. Think tacos al pastor, and deep-fried plantains with sea salt and crema.

Projected opening: Early 2017

Hitachino Beer and Wagyu

Location: 639 Post St., Tendernob

Major Players: Noriyuki Sugie (Nombe)

The Situation: Hitachino's first U.S. restaurant will have ten exclusive Hitachino beers on tap (brewed specifically for this location), five to eight sakes from Kiuchi Brewery, and local wine. The food is izakaya-style fare including a lot of wagyu from both Japan and the U.S., as well as a jarred pickle section. The idea is to serve the snacks — pickles, braised meats, and meatballs — in jars that can be opened at the table and eaten cold. Expect 45 seats with an eight to ten seat bar (made from wood from a vintage sake press), that will heavily pull influence and furniture from Japan, naturally.

Projected Opening: Early January

The Riddler

The future location of The Riddler Cityseeker

Location: 528 Laguna St., Hayes Valley

Major Players: Jen Pelka (Magnum PR), Marisa Payne, Shannon Waters (Aatxe))

The Situation: A champagne bar dreamt up, run, and backed 100 percent by female investors is headed to Hayes Valley. There’ll be champagne, wine, caviar, and all the good things life has to offer at this cozy hang-out spot with a European vibe.

Projected Opening: Early January

The Kebabery

Patricia Chang

Location: 4201 Market St., Oakland

Major Players: Russell Moore, Allison Hopelain

The Situation: The first expansion from the duo behind Oakland's Camino will be a casual restaurant in the former Salsipuedes space in North Oakland. The focus is on grilled meats that will run the gamut in terms of flavor and region.

Projected Opening: Late January

Lazy Bear Team’s Cocktail Concept

Lazy Bear
Lazy Bear's upstairs loft.
Patricia Chang

Location: 753 Alabama St., Mission

Major Players: Nicolas Torres, David Barzelay

The Situation: The collaboration between Lazy Bear chef David Barzelay and bar director Nicolas Torres will have the same aesthetic as the original restaurant, but this time will showcase Torres’ cocktails. There’ll be food, though at a lower price point, that channels the modern American fare at Lazy Bear; Barzelay and Torres are also planning “multiple experiences” at the new place.

Projected Opening: Early 2017

Merchant Roots

Location: 1365 Fillmore St., Fillmore

Major Players: Ryan Shelton, Madison Fraser

The Situation: A chef with a fine dining resumé and a sommelier are opening a "craft grocery" slash chef's counter-style dining experience in the Fillmore. That means fresh pastas, charcuterie, pastries, wine, beer, and meal kits for sale five days a week; then, three days per week, eight diners will have the opportunity to eat dinner twice per night. The tasting menu meal will be focused on Italian and French cuisine, and incorporate all the tasty housemade goods that are for sale during the day.

Projected Opening: January


Rooh rendering

Location: 333 Brannan St., SoMa

Major Players: Vikram and Anu Bhambri, Sujan Sarkar (Fifteen and Almada)

The Situation: A 3,600-square-foot Indian restaurant is headed to SoMa, the first U.S. project from India-based Good Times Restaurant Group. Mumbai chef Sujan Sarkar will offer a menu of a la carte small plates, plus a tasting menu. The food is a modern take, using both traditional and new techniques and flavors.

Projected Opening: February

RT Rotisserie

Evan and Sarah Rich among some roast chicken Aubrie Pick | Ellen Fort

Location: 101 Oak St., Hayes Valley

Major Players: Evan and Sarah Rich, Brandon Rice

The Situation: A casual spinoff of Rich Table, RT Rotisserie will (obviously) offer rotisserie chicken, as well as oysters, soups, sandwiches, salads, and other takeout friendly food. Counter service will be the style for diners who want to stay, with beer and wine on offer.

Projected Opening: Early 2017

Uma Casa

Uma Casa’s logo Uma Casa

Location: 1550 Church St., Noe Valley

Major Players: Telmo Faria, Nora Furst

The Situation: After a last minute round of fundraising, Telmo Faria's Portuguese pop-up is nearing an opening date in Noe Valley. The chef, who formerly led the charge at the ever-proliferating Tacolicious, is taking his cooking back to his roots and will serve up favorites like the Francesinha (an epic sandwich), alongside a raw bar. The 75-seat space (formerly Incanto) will include a special private dining room called Mesa d'Avô, dedicated to his grandmother, with a communal table and plenty of tchotchkes. Nora Furst will run the beverage program, from wines to cocktails.

Projected Opening: Late December

More important and forthcoming restaurants: The Charter Oak, Ippudo, The Dock, The Starling, 4505 BBQ & Burgers East Bay, Nobu, Minnesota Street Project

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