Bernal Heights brewpub Old Bus Tavern is making a change to its food offering, one of several changeups since opening almost two years ago. Owners Jimmy Simpson, Bennett Buchanan, and John Zirinsky opened the brewery and restaurant with a fine dining approach to food, but they are making a move toward casual, starting next month.
The guys say it’s a decision based on a few factors, including expanding their beer program (their brews are now in spots like Wesburger, Old Devil Moon, and Alamo Drafthouse), as well as neighborhood feedback, which consistently pointed toward a desire for more laidback, everyday fare. So they’ve tapped consulting chef Blair Warsham (The Bird, The Restaurant at Meadowood) to create a menu that fits those needs. He’s still developing the food, but it will include fun takes on Frito Pie and keep current favorites like the chili, burger, and cornbread.
Despite its popularity, it has been a bumpy road for the food program at OBT, which opened with chef Max Snyder at the helm. Snyder created well-received and -reviewed dishes such as the popular chili and pickled quail eggs in a fried onion “nest,” but decided to move on over the summer; Mourad vet David Zboray was brought on board, continuing Snyder’s elevated approach to bar fare with dishes such as beet spaetzle. Now, Zboray’s last day is Saturday, February 25, after which he’s a free agent on the lookout for a new kitchen.
To implement these changes, Old Bus Tavern will close for two weeks after Saturday’s service, and reopen on Sunday, March 12 as version 2.0. The closure will also include a few interior updates, and reopen seven days a week with more tables saved for walk-ins. Stay tuned for a look at the full menu upon reopen.