Partners Dena Grunt (who also has interest in Nick’s Cove) and Mick Suverkrubbe opened Contrada in January of 2017 with chef Jason Tuley leading the kitchen, offering pies from the restaurant’s wood-fired pizza oven, pastas, and rustic dishes like ribeye with sea urchin butter. It underwent renovations in December of 2017, adding a downstairs prep kitchen, a wood burning grill from J&R manufacturing, and an opened-up kitchen, with Heath ceramic tile walls.
Soon after, Tuley left the restaurant, and was replaced by Denise St. Onge, a former sous chef at SPQR with experience at SF restaurants like Gary Danko and Michael Mina. The hire also cemented the restaurant’s all-female leadership team, which included owner Dena Grunt, manager Noelle Hancock and wine director Kristin Malotke. Despite the changes, the restaurant closed less than a year later.
“Unfortunately we discovered that our ideal concept of a full-service, higher-end restaurant and wine bar with hand-made pastas and pizzas was not feasible considering the multiple challenges facing the restaurant industry in San Francisco right now,” Grunt told Eater SF via email. “There is a very real staffing crisis, and when you want to pay your staff a comfortable living wage, the prices that we needed to charge were simply higher than many people were willing to pay for pizza and pasta.”
Grunt says she and her partners are exploring their options concerning the space, and future projects. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, more changes are happening on that particular stretch of Union, including the opening of an “experiential water bar,” and the closure of Umami Burger next door. Meanwhile, Big Night Restaurant Group is working to open Cow Marlowe around the corner on Fillmore, across from Dominique Crenn’s recently opened Bar Crenn (adjacent to Atelier Crenn).