Hayes Valley Cajun restaurant, Boxing Room, will transform into a Spanish restaurant called Barcino sometime this summer. The move follows opening Boxing Room chef Justin Simoneaux’s departure from the restaurant last year, and coincides with the appointment of Bellota’s executive chef Ryan McIlwraith as the executive chef of the entire Absinthe Group, whose restaurants include Bellota, Comstock Saloon, and Absinthe Brasserie and Bar.
McIlwraith will cede control of the Bellota kitchen to chef de cuisine Joel Erhlich while he transitions into the role, which is to oversee the menu development and operations of all the group’s restaurants. That starts with the creation of Barcino’s menu and a brief remodel of the space, which will close the restaurant in the next few weeks.
Barcino will focus on Catalan cuisine, which is influenced by the Spanish region’s proximity to the Mediterranean, and includes lots of olive oil, and seafood. Stints at Jose Andres restaurants (including Jaleo) will surely inform the menu, in addition to McIlwraith’s travels through the region.
According to the restaurant group, the growth spurt is related to the 20-year anniversary of Absinthe— that also means the OG restaurant will get some updates, which includes a new chef. Executive chef Adam Keough is leaving the city altogether, after seven years at Absinthe.
Stay tuned for more details on Barcino’s space and menu.