Liholiho Yacht Club, the wildly popular restaurant inspired by chef Ravi Kapur’s Hawaiian heritage, is shuffling restaurants and locations again. During the pandemic, the restaurant group shuttered its sister restaurant Dear Inga, and earlier this spring moved the more established Liholiho into Inga’s prime location on 18th Street in Mission Dolores. At that time, it was presented as a temporary move, which made sense during an era of dining restrictions: In terms of neighborhoods, the Mission has been busier than Nob Hill, which made it an approachable spot to serve takeout, and the 18th Street location also boasted a rooftop, which the team repainted as a rainbow paradise for outdoor dining.
But now, there’s another big update from the Liholiho team: Fans and regulars will be relieved to hear that Liholiho Yacht Club is returning to its original location on Nob Hill in spring or summer of 2022. The team will be debuting a new restaurant called Good Good Culture Club in Mission Dolores on January 11. Which means that sadly, if somewhat expectedly at this point, Dear Inga is finally and officially confirmed as permanently closed.
Good Good Culture Club is a team effort from general manager Aimee Arcilla, chef Kevin Keovanpheng, and chef Brett Shaw, and all three have come through the kitchen and dining room at Liholiho. Arcilla and Shaw are married, and the duo behind Hunnybee, the Filipino inflected pop-up that was working out of the Liholiho kitchen during the pandemic. Born and raised in the states, Arcilla is proud of her Filipina heritage, and Keovanpheng his Laotian upbringing, and they’re into what they’re calling “heritage-driven cooking” as “inspired by the Asian diaspora” — defined as Filipino and Laotian flavors featuring Californian ingredients and wood-fire techniques.
The new menu is simply divided into savory and sweet, and the small plates look particularly appealing, including halibut sashimi with tomatillo ponzu and smoked jalapeno, chicken wings stuffed with garlic rice and glazed in adobo, poppyseed steamed buns packed with smoked beef belly, and crispy rice balls with mushroom sisig. For dessert, there’s a “Halo Ha-Lao,” which appears to be a Laotian take on the iconic Filipino dessert, with ube ice cream, jackfruit, mango jellies, and coconut syrup. Check out the full menu below. No word on drinks yet, but bar director Janice Bailon is particularly into agave, so it’d be safe to expect tequila and mezcal cocktails.
With this new opening, Liholiho partners Ravi Kapur, April Storm, and Jeff Hanak shared that they don’t want to go back to “normal,” and say that they’ve raised wages, added a 20 percent service fee, and shortened service hours, in order to better compensate and support their team. In doing so, the Liholiho group is joining a number of other Bay Area restaurants that are trying to cut tips, although some have failed. “We don’t know if these changes will work, but we do know that we don’t want to go back to the old ways,” the trio said in a statement. “We are so grateful to have developed a strong following of diners and regulars in our six years of business. It takes a community to implement change, and we hope you can be part of it, too. That’s what Good Good Culture Club is about: positive change, heritage, love, aloha.”
Boor Projects, the same design team that envisioned Dear Inga only two years ago, is also overseeing the renovation again for Good Good Culture Club, and this time it sounds like they’re leaning into bright colors, several murals, and lush plants.
The Liholiho team declined to comment on Dear Inga: why they decided not to pursue that restaurant and what happened with their partnership with chef David Golovin. When Dear Inga opened in fall of 2019, it was also a highly anticipated restaurant: Golovin is a sausage expert who supplied the links to Nopa for many years, and with Dear Inga, he dug into Eastern European “grandma food” not often seen in San Francisco, including labor-intensive sausages, smoked fish, stuffed cabbage, and more. During the pandemic, he shared the challenges of adapting that kind of food for takeout. Eater SF reached out to Golovin for comment and did not hear back as of publication time, but will update this story as necessary.
Good Culture Club is opening on January 11, with reservations opening up one week in advance. Hours will be Tuesday to Saturday, 5 to 9 p.m.