“We’re bringing the fun back to San Francisco,” says restaurateur Anna Weinberg, fresh off a round of restaurant relief funding and ready to set the vibe for this summer. And so party people, here’s a big update on the Big Night Restaurant Group, known best for its stylish brasseries. Anna Weinberg and James Nicholas have officially parted ways as business partners on most of their properties: Nicholas is still a co-owner in Marlowe, but Weinberg will be managing Marlowe, and she now owns Petit Marlowe, Park Tavern, and Leo’s Oyster Bar, while Nicholas owns the Cavalier, Marianne’s, and the S&R Lounge within Hotel Zetta. These restaurants — most located downtown — all had long closures during the pandemic, stretching on for many months. But the lobster rolls and caviar are back. Here’s what’s cracking.
Leo’s Oyster Bar is reopening after a long seafood-deprived year, bringing back the raw bar, lobster rolls, caviar, and cocktails, just in time to let loose this summer. The restaurant itself in the FiDi is open for private events now and will reopen for indoor dining on June 15. Leo’s will also be popping up at St Joseph’s Art Society, the abandoned Catholic church that designer Ken Fulk resurrected as an arts space. Fans may recall that Tosca Cafe also had a short-lived pop-up at St Joseph’s, but Weinberg reassures that they’ve sorted out all of the permits this time around, both outside for the glass greenhouses, as well as indoors for an upstairs disco party. “Ken and I are ready for the roaring ‘20s. And you know we can throw parties,” she says.
Meanwhile, Petit Marlowe will be evolving into Petit Flea, Weinberg says. Petit Marlowe opened a few years ago across the street and a few doors down from the original Marlowe, serving vintage Paris to SoMa. But now, Weinberg is re-concepting and reopening Petit Flea toward the end of June. After a decade of sourcing antique glassware, barware, tables, chairs, and art for her various restaurants, she says she was inspired by Il Buco on Bond Street in New York — a restaurant slash flea market. So now at Petit Flea, in addition to serving oysters, cheese, and charcuterie, vintage pieces will be up for sale.
Hot off a buying trip to Palm Springs, Weinberg has a wild promise: “It’s going to be like the Golden Girls china cabinet.” Clutch those pearls.
Marlowe in SoMa and Park Tavern in North Beach both remain temporarily closed for renovations. The two restaurants are really the heart of this group — Marlowe serving freshly ground burgers and deviled eggs for 12 years and Park Tavern with brunches and bistro fare for nearly 10 years. Weinberg says given the staffing crisis, it’s not worth scrambling to hire for all of the restaurants at the same time; plus, both Marlowe and Park Tavern are due for some deep renovations and she’s now got the relief funds.
Weinberg hopes to reopen both toward the end of the summer, hopefully in time for Park Tavern’s 10-year anniversary in September. But “we can’t open and close, we need to do this slowly,” she says. Not to mention, “both of those restaurants have been cranking out volume for years, and they deserve and need a lot of love.”
As previously reported, the Cavalier at the base of Hotel Zetta in SoMa already reopened on May 12, with a fresh menu of Dungeness crab soufflé and steak tartare. Stay tuned for more rich details.