North Beach restaurant owners in the midst of remodeling what was formerly the Square are throwing their doors open early to help support neighboring businesses displaced by a four-alarm St. Patrick’s Day fire. Starting April 19th, the team behind the forthcoming business at 1707 Powell will fundraise with a pop-up called Doors Open: A temporary restaurant that will run through June, donating 100% of its profits directly to employees of the businesses damaged by the fire. Those are The Salzburg, Ferry Plaza Seafood, Rogue Ales Public House, Tuk Tuk Thai, and Coit Liquors.
Nick Floulis (Opavino, Chubby Noodle) and partners Elmer Mejicanos and John Paul Jacques (formerly of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana) have — fittingly — been at work on a restaurant named for Lillie Coit, the famous patron (and unofficial mascot) of San Francisco’s volunteer firefighters. Coit’s bequest built the North Beach landmark Coit Tower and a firefighter statue in Washington Square Park. With that legacy in mind, when Floulis and team saw an entire city block of North Beach — right across the park rom their new restaurant — had been engulfed in flames, they felt it was their duty to help however they could.
“If you have any connection with North Beach, [the fire] had a direct impact,” says Floulis. More than 50 employees are affected by the disaster, and Floulis hopes Doors Open will give them added work.
That starts with Salzburg chef Ramon Siewert (also of Union Larder): At the pop-up, he’ll be making sausages and schnitzel, as at the Austrian-style bar closed by the fire, plus a take on the Rogue Public House Burger (with house-cured bacon and muenster cheese), and more menu items inspired by the currently closed Union Street restaurants.
This is the second benefit pop-up Floulis and company have hosted at 1707 Powell: The first, Deck The Halls, was held ahead of the holiday season, and in the wake of the North Bay Fires, it too served as a fundraiser. In the end, the team raised $20,000 for Habitat for Humanity through Deck The Halls.
The Lillie Coit’s restaurant plan is still in the works: “We’ll have a bit of a delay, but we’re okay with that,” Floulis says. “We looked at ourselves and said, ‘for this to be impactful, we needed to go a little longer than one night.’”
After all, there’s plenty of time left on the team’s 20-year lease — and what would Lillie Coit do?
When Doors Open arrives, the business will serve dinner nightly with late-night and weekend brunch options, too.