After switching from casual counter service to full table service at their cozy, 29-seat Dogpatch digs last summer, the owners of Glena’s Tacos and Margaritas continue to evolve their restaurant with a new cocktail menu and beverage director. Stephanie Gaines (Plow) and chef Michael Gaines (Kin Khao) have enlisted Mathew Campbell, a 2013 Chronicle bar star best known for his drinks at Comal in Berkeley, and he’s added 11 new cocktails to the existing spicy margaritas, frozen margs, and Palomas that Glena’s has championed since it opened in early 2017.
“We’ve grown a little, we’ve evolved over the course of the year, and we figured, maybe people want more than just a margarita,” Gaines tells Eater SF. While tacos and margaritas is “a slogan of sorts... a catch phrase, we’re more than that,” the chef says. “We’ve got this liquor license here in San Francisco, let’s use it.”
Campbell, a native of the East Bay, will indeed put that license to work, mixing refreshing cocktails like “The Hoff” (Mezcal Verde and coconut horchata topped with a frozen strawberry-blood orange daiquiri) and more spirits-focused drinks like a “Mayan Sazerac” (Rittenhouse 100 proof rye, Txabentun, Peychaud’s, ancho chile, piloncillo).
“He’s got a great palette,” Gaines says of Campbell. “It seems like he’s got an endless knowledge of pantry items to play with.”
Campbell will also offer a rotating punch and a mezcal flight. Glena’s food menu will remain the same, and Gaines fully expects his tacos al pastor to continue leading sales. Meanwhile, switching to full-service at a time when more and more casual restaurants appear headed in the opposite direction, “has been great,” says the chef, who is still filling delivery and takeout orders.
“We can still run the place with one server and one bartender, but we slow the pace down, talk to our guests a little more.” That’s something Gaines has apparently missed from the dining room experience at past employers like Gary Danko and Manresa, where he worked before opening Kin Khao as chef de cuisine. “It’s about providing customers the best experience we can.”