The year is off to a strong start, with the opening of hotly anticipated restaurants like Bar Crenn and Kaya. Now comes a rush of new life for spring, including some restaurants that have appeared time after time in Eater’s anticipated openings guide, like Che Fico and Merchant Roots. It’ll be a busy spring for both restaurateurs and diners alike.
Location: 1552 Fillmore Street, Fillmore
Key Players: Rodney Wages, Matthew Mako, Kristina Compton, Daniel Bromberg
Projected Opening: March 28
After leaving Atelier Crenn as chef de cuisine, chef Rodney Wages embarked on his own with a pop-up: RTB Fillmore. Now over a year later, Wages and partner Matthew Mako are shutting down RTB and reemerging as Avery, a more grown-up version of Wages’ original concept in the multi-level former location of Mosu. Expect refined dishes — like foie gras tortellini in brodo — in three levels of tasting menus: 8-10 courses upstairs for $89, 10-14 courses downstairs for $189, or 8-14 “seasonally spontaneous” dishes for $289 in a private room. RTB Fillmore has been operating out of the is currently closed for a complete remodel, and will reopen as Avery on March 28, though reservations via Tock will open the week of March 10.
Location: 1085 Mission Street, SoMa
Key players: Chris Bleidorn
Projected opening: End of March
Former chef de cuisine of Atelier Crenn Chris Bleidorn (also an alum of Benu, Saison, and Alinea), is striking out on his own, with plans to open a restaurant in the former AQ location on a gritty block of SoMa. Birdsong is all about the Pacific Northwest, with fresh ingredients sourced from and inspired by Washington and Oregon in addition to the Bay Area. Expect mushrooms, berries, cold water shellfish and wild game like boar, elk or buffalo, and lots of wood-fired cooking and fermentation projects to come out of the open kitchen. Both a tasting menu and a la carte options will be available, making something of a statement in San Francisco’s tasting menu-forward, Michelin-stalking environment.
Location: 584 Valencia Street, Mission
Key players: Josh Harris, Morgan Schick
Projected opening: Late Spring
From BV Hospitality comes a follow-up to Trick Dog, Josh Harris and Morgan Schick’s creative, biannually changing Mission cocktail bar. It’s opening in the former Urchin Bistrot space on Valencia, with what could be described as “inspired by midcentury style through the ’70s,” says Harris, “with a little glimmer of Palm Springs of yesteryear, and a glimmer of disco.” That translates to a herd of animal carvings, statues, and paintings, and many more vintage touches sourced from flea markets and beyond. Expect matching cocktails, and food to be served until 2 a.m.
Location: 842 Valencia Street
Key Players: Phil West, Arnold Eric Wong, Steve Werney, Carlos Yturria, Tristen Philippart de Foy
Projected opening: Late March
It’s a project that’s close to home for Range chef-owner Phil West and his partners in The Treasury: Arnold Eric Wong (E&O Kitchen), contractor Steve Werney (Teutonic Construction) and bar manager Carlos Yturria, which will start buzzing in the former Range space soon. Mid-century playfulness is the theme, with drinks named after 60s icons like Marilyn Monroe, and the possibility of complementary menu items like fondue.
Location: 834-838 Divisadero Street, Divisadero
Key players: David Nayfeld, Angela Pinkerton, Matt Brewer, Evan Allumbaugh
Projected opening: Late March
Che Fico is now finally on the verge of opening in a former auto body shop on Divisadero. High ceilings, sky lights, and a rustic Italian vibe will be found on the second floor, where diners will have a view of an open kitchen with a wood grill, Italian pizza oven, and charcuterie room. Chef David Nayfeld is known for his handmade pastas, which he’ll construct in his behind-the-scenes, climate-controlled “pasta laboratorio.” Chef Evan Allumbaugh, former chef de cuisine of Flour + Water, will take the same role at Che Fico.
Location: 44 Webster St., Oakland
Key Players: Reem Assil, Daniel Patterson
Projected Opening: April
A year after opening her first restaurant, an Arab bakery in Fruitvale called Reem’s California, just one year ago, owner Reem Assil is partnering with chef Daniel Patterson to open Dyafa. It’s going into the former location of Patterson’s Haven in Jack London Square, and will serve food inspired by her upbringing in a Palestinian-Syrian home, centered around a hearth for fresh breads like Lebanse man’oushe. Alta Group’s ace beverage director Aaron Paul will be in charge of a bar program for cocktails, wine, and beer.
Location: 1906 Market Street, Duboce
Key Players: Nichole Accettola, Joachim Majholm
Projected Opening: Early May
The roving Scandinavian pop-up is preparing to open in a former laundromat space on Market Street, bringing sweet and savory porridges, open-faced sandwiches (smørrebrød) and Scandinavian-inspired brunch items to its first brick-and-mortar. Accettola, former chef at Nopa, and her husband started their business at the Ferry Building farmers market. It’s also a wholesale bakery with a huge following for its Danish sprouted rye bread. The interior will be designed by a Copenhagen designer to cement its place as one of SF’s few properly hygge restaurants.
Location: 1365 Fillmore St., Fillmore
Key players: Ryan Shelton, Madison Fraser
Projected opening: February
Another victim of massive construction delays, the Fillmore District restaurant and retail space is finally nearing completion. Partners Ryan Shelton (chef) and Madison Fraser (general manager) are building a hybrid model of dining and provisions where three nights per week, Shelton will cook a rotating tasting menu for the “Chef’s Table at Merchant Roots.” Meanwhile, the space will operate as a craft grocery with packaged foods, special pantry items, wine, and beer. The Chef’s Table tasting menus will combine Shelton’s French-Italian style, which extends to the handmade items in the grocery, like pastas and charcuterie.
Location: 710 Montgomery Street, Jackson Square
Key Players: Nicolas and Andrea Delaroque
Projected Opening: Early April
Technically Nico opened years ago, in its original location on Sacramento Street (now destined to be the home of hotly anticipated Sorrel). However, its move to Jackson Square (former Bocadillo space) marks not only a new building, but a new approach to the menu of modern French for which it became popular and earned a Michelin star. Now lunch service will join dinner, with a three-course prix fixe for $38 and two courses for $32. Dinner will now be available only on Saturdays (at least at opening) with a four-course menu for $62 or a six-course “chef’s choice” menu for $75. Oh, and there’ll be cocktails this time, thanks to a fancy new liquor license.
Location: 590 Valencia Street, Mission
Key Players: Telmo Faria, Khalid Mushasha
Projected Opening: Late Spring
Portuguese chef Telmo Faria is honing in on one of the most popular menu items at his year-old restaurant, Uma Casa, bringing piri piri chicken to the Mission. He’s partnered with restaurateur Khalid Mushasha (Black Cat) to make it happen in the former location of Frjtz on Valencia St. It’ll be quick-service and takeout focused on the spicy chicken, and other sides.
Location: 2160 Railroad Ave., Livermore
Key Players: Bill and Sarah Niles, Waine Longwell, Lauren Heanes
Projected Opening: April
OK, so it’s not in San Francisco. But, city-dwellers will want to make the trek to Livermore — also a wine region — for a sunny day in the East Bay and a stop at this idyllic restaurant and market. Chef Bill Niles (former executive chef at Tartine Manufactory) will bring his California style to the menu, while Sarah Niles (former wine director at Outerlands) will curate the wine list, Longwell (Alameda, in Brooklyn) will design cocktails, and Heanes will design the market component and interiors. Overall, it’s a dream team in a dreamy space, where diners can enjoy wine and snacks on a sunny patio, or stay for dinner and drinks inside.
Location: 3228 Sacramento
Key players: Alex Hong, Colby Heiman
Projected opening: April
Weekly tasting menu pop-up Sorrel is entering the world of brick-and-mortar as it moves into Nico’s Sacramento Street digs. It’s run by chef Alex Hong, who brings experience from Quince and Jean-Georges, and managing partner Colby Heiman, and will serve New American cuisine with Italian influences. Heiman tells Eater SF to expect a full a la carte menu of small plates, pastas, and large plates for one or two people, “as well as the four-course tasting menu that our customers have come to love at the pop-up.”
Other spring openings of note: 25 Lusk Rooftop, Pearl, Stockhome, Curio at The Chapel