Noe’s Cantina quietly shuttered after less than a year in business, Hoodline spotted first. A partnership between local bartender Tommy Basso and TV personality Liam Mayclem (“The Foodie Chap”), the cantina served sizzling fajitas and big margaritas in a family-friendly setting filled with red booths and sports screens. For some, the restaurant might have seemed like a dubious choice, with Mission tacos within walking distance down the hill. But it had bottomless chips and free wifi going for it, as well as an ideal location at the corner of 24th and Church, right where the J Church and tech shuttles drop off.
Thankfully, the cute corner spot is being taken over by another local team: Kristen Gianaras McCaffery, one of the sisters who own the nearby Greek standby Novy, and husband Mike McCaffery, formerly with the Golden Bear Restaurant Group, where he helped open Mission Rock Resort.
Kristen promises that Novy isn’t going anywhere — her parents owned Panos from 1977 to 1999; Novy opened in 2015 as a response to the neighborhood’s demand for another Greek restaurant. This new venture is a totally separate project for the husband-and-wife team, who are still working out the details for the name, concept, and design. “But a hundred percent, we’re still keeping it as a full-service restaurant and bar,” Mike promises. “The opportunity came up quickly, and we’re so excited to get in on this neighborhood sweet spot.”
If there’s one thing Kristen has learned from chatting with old timers, it’s that you have to listen to the neighborhood. And if there’s one thing Noe Valley needs, it’s a stiff drink. Noe has a couple of old-school bars and taverns, but since Bliss bar burned down in 2013, “there really isn’t anywhere to get a good cocktail,” she says. They’re imagining classic Americana, taking inspiration from Balboa Cafe and Wayfare Tavern — the kinds of places where you can get a dry martini and great burger. Roy, the design firm behind the Riddler, Wildseed, and other stylish spots, will be redoing the interiors with a little more polish. The mural of the bull has got to go, but Kristen is part of the neighborhood merchants association and wants to replace it with art from another local artist that suits the new personality of the restaurant.
That said, this is still serious stroller territory, and they’re going to welcome families. The couple is actually expecting their first child in April, so they’ll be taking a couple of months and are planning to open the restaurant in June. They’ll be starting with dinner and drinks, but hope to roll into brunch, taking full advantage of sunny sidewalk seating, and open a window for to-go orders. Stay tuned for martini and burger updates.