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Former French Laundry Chef Scraps Plans for Downtown SF Restaurant (for Now)

Plus, it looks like La Cocina is setting up shop in Ghirardelli Square, and more intel

Timothy Hollingsworth cooking on The Final Table The Final Table [Official photo]

Welcome to p.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.

  • Sad news for fans of reality TV star and former French Laundry chef de cuisine Timothy Hollingsworth: the celeb chef, who competed in the 2018 Netflix series The Final Table, won’t be bringing his talents up to San Francisco after all. In late 2019 (which, to be fair, may as well have been a lifetime ago) the chef announced plans to open a restaurant called All These Years on the ground floor of Union Square’s Hotel G. Now, Hollingsworth tells Eater he’s shifting his focus to his restaurant in Los Angeles, Otium, which just reopened after an extended pandemic closure last month. But that isn’t to say a Bay Area expansion is off the table. “I hope there will be future restaurant opportunities in NorCal down the road, and when the time is right,” the chef shared in an email.
  • It’s only been three months since La Cocina’s long-awaited food hall opened its doors in the Tenderloin. But it appears that the kitchen incubator, which helps new owners launch food businesses, is already working on another project. A retail storefront on Bay Street at Ghirardelli Square showcases the La Cocina bird logo, and though the windows were dark on Wednesday afternoon, it appeared to house shelves stocked with food items. There’s also a job posting on the La Cocina website for a retail associate to work at a Ghirardelli Square location, selling gift boxes and offering food samples. A spokesperson for La Cocina declined to share any details at this time.
  • There’s a new distillery making gin on Pier 50. But it’s not just any company; it’s one with some historical ties to this city by the bay. Here’s the deal: Hotaling & Co used to be called Anchor Distilling, and was previously part of Anchor Brewing, as in the legendary brewery that was founded in SF in 1896 — though, of course, the brewery has since been purchased by Japanese giant Sapporo. And the distillery is now a separate company, but in any case, Hotaling is now distilling its Junipero Gin, known for its juniper and citrus flavors, at a new 500-square-foot distillery near the ballpark, and plans to open a tasting room there in the coming months.
  • The Matheson is set to debut in downtown Healdsburg in August, the SF Chronicle reports, and this mammoth project has it all: pizza, sushi, tasting menus, a rooftop lounge, a private dining room, an events space — oh yeah, and an 88-tap wine wall. Calling it ambitious almost seems like an understatement, but there’s some serious star power behind the project. Dustin Valette of Valette restaurant, also in Healdsburg, is executive chef, and he’s enlisted Ken Tominaga (PABU, Hana Sonoma) to lead the direction of the 14-seat sushi bar, though it’ll be headed up day-to-day by by sushi chef Daisuke Soma (Morimoto), the Chron reports. The rooftop lounge will be where more casual diners can order pizza and drinks, while the main restaurant will cater to the wine country crowd with an extensive wine list and multi-course tasting menus. [SF Chronicle]
Garden Spritz from Chadon Chandon [Official Photo]
  • Seltzer summer may have come and gone, but that’s not stopping pretty much every alcoholic beverage brand from rolling out some sort of flavored, carbonated creation. Most recently that means Napa Valley sparkling wine producer Chandon is launching Garden Spritz, which the winery describes as “a refined sparkling aperitif.” According to a press release, it’s made by blending sparkling wine with garden liqueurthat’s produced by the winery’s sister location in Argentina, and flavored with Valencia oranges, fresh herbs, and spices. Bottles of the pale pink bubbles can be found on shelves at retailers nationwide.

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