Since early 2018, the once-bustling spot that housed Park Chow has stood empty, plywood blocking its formerly-packed sidewalk dining space. That’s about to change, however, as Outer Richmond pizza sensation Fiorella is taking over the space, where it will serve pizza, pasta, beer, and wine.
It’s a uniquely personal project for Fiorella co-owner Boris Nemchenok: The two-story restaurant at 1240 9th Avenue is, he says, the first restaurant his parents dined at after they immigrated to the U.S. from Latvia in 1983. “It was literally the first place they ate when we finally made it here,” Nemchenok tells Eater SF.
In the years since then, Nemchenok has built a cozy/carby empire of San Francisco restaurants, first with Lower Haight wine bar Uva Enoteca, and then with Outer Richmond tavern Violet’s and Fiorella (which has locations on Clement and Polk Streets). Moving into the Inner Sunset was a logical choice, Nemchenok says, as the area has a community feel not unlike the neighborhoods where his other restaurants are located. “We get a lot of locals at all our places,” he says.
According to Nemchenok, about 70 percent of the menu is the same across every Fiorella location, and the other 30 is neighborhood-specific and driven by that spot’s chefs. For the Inner Sunset location, Nemchenok says that new items will include fresh pasta, a rarity on the west side of the city.
Nemchenok also says that this location will be the first one in the portfolio that will cater to large groups, which makes sense given the space’s two levels of seating. “You’ll see that reflected in the menu,” he says. One thing that will remain the same is the drinks menu — as with the other Fiorellas, this one will serve beer, wine from Italy and California, and low ABV cocktails.
But in the end, it’s all about the pizza. At the heart of the new spot, Nemchenok says, they’ll be building their “biggest pizza oven to date,” and as with its other locations, this Fiorella will dedicate 10 percent of the proceeds from a special pie to an area school program.
Given that Park Chow was in the place since 1998, and the spot has stood vacant for nearly two years, there’s a lot of work to be done before Fiorella is ready to open on Ninth Avenue, a block that’s turned into one of SF’s buzziest stretched for dining, with a Tartine Bakery, Um.ma, and Nopalito all located just steps away. As with Fiorella’s other locations (and Violet’s), architect and designer Melinda Turner has been charged with planning the revamp of the former Chow, which Nemchenok says will “have its own identity.” One thing it will share with the other Fiorellas, however, is its wallpaper, a highly Instagrammable pattern called Bay Area Toile. Guests might have to look a little harder for it this time around, though, as Nemchenok says its placement will be “a little bit of a surprise, a little different.”