Stuart Brioza, who with wife Nicole Krasinski has attracted national attention for farm-driven restaurants State Bird Provisions, the Progress, and an as-yet-unnamed vegetarian restaurant, is well-known for his love of anchovies, even appearing in a short film about the fish. Now the duo is putting their beloved engraulidae in the spotlight with their latest venture, a spot called the Anchovy Bar planned for 1740 O’Farrell Street, the Fillmore District spot most recently occupied by Fat Angel Food & Libation.
Brioza had “always been a fan” of Fat Angel, he tells Eater SF, and when its owners decided after ten years in business to shutter the spot, he moved on the 1000-square-foot location. Fat Angel closed at the end of 2019, and Brioza and Krasinski took possession of the space late last week. Next up is a swift remodel from Wylie Price, the design firm that has handled all their projects.
“By late April,” Brioza says, the Anchovy Bar will open with about 35 seats on the inside and — weather permitting — 12 more outside. “The plan,” Brioza says, is “to do a little wine and beer bar specializing in West Coast oysters and small fish” like anchovies, the local fishing season for which will begin around the same time the restaurant opens.
In addition to anchovies (“small fish, small space,” Brioza says with a chuckle) and oysters, Brioza says that his team and he are planning a menu that includes some of their “favorite ingredients” — stuff like meat and seafood tartare, smoked fish, and “simple vegetable dishes.” He expects to serve locally-caught anchovies during its fishing season, which runs about six months out of the year. The other six months will feature salted and fermented anchovies — or imported ones (mainly from Italy) — and their byproducts, like anchovy salts and fish sauces.
The wine list will be curated by State Bird and Progress managing partner Jason Alexander, and will consist mainly of white and sparkling wines. The beer plan will come from State Bird’s beer director Ben Henning, who Brioza says is “especially excited to decode the beer” for the new menu.
In the end, Brioza says, he’s hoping to create the kind of place “we all want to go to on our days off...this is food I make myself, just maybe with a little twist.”