Neighborhood regulars mourning the loss of Chow on Church can dry their eyes a bit, because a new restaurant group will revive the suddenly-closed space, with plans to retain as much of Chow’s staff — and character— as possible. The Madison Avenue Hospitality Group, a newly formed restaurant group that’s been busy plotting a business called Gramercy Park across the street (in the former Crepevine space) will take over at 215 Church Street, where Chow did business for 22 years.
When Gramercy Park owner Mark White learned that Chow was closing, he decided to act quickly, with the goal of keeping Chow’s staff and preventing the space from gathering dust. 215 Church Street will go by the new name Cook Shoppe, since Chow still operates one location in Lafayette. After a light refresh — new paint and varnish — the plan is to reopen the restaurant by mid-April.
“The goal is to save a neighborhood restaurant that everybody loves,” says White, who says he was sad to see Chow close. White had hoped Gramercy Park and Chow would be longtime neighbors, but now he’ll try to fill the sudden gap on the Church Street strip.
That’s essentially what representatives for Chow had hoped would happen. “This location deserves someone to come in and carry the torch for this beautiful neighborhood,” they wrote in their note to customers.
White envisions Cook Shoppe as “your local neighborhood place, and we want to see you all the time.” Expect “nice soups, chowders, [and] great sandwiches” on Acme bread. The space seats 135 with 40 on an outdoor patio, where “brunch is gonna be a big deal.”
With his restaurant group’s references to New York, White brings some Big Apple panache to his newly adopted city by the bay. “San Francisco has been so good to me, and we want to be good back,” he says.
White will focus on opening Cook Shoppe before Gramercy Park, which will open this summer. Stay tuned for more on both projects.