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Grab Your ‘Stable Cohort,’ It’s Masks Off Again for San Francisco

Plus, San Francisco gets its own STK Steakhouse and more food news

Maude Molesworth of San Francisco looks over the selection at Cinderella Bakery. Lea Suzuki/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
Lauren Saria is the editor of Eater SF and has been writing about food, drinks, and restaurants for more than a decade.

Starting February 1, many San Franciscans will be able to revert back to the pre-omicron habit of going mask-free in some indoor settings, the Department of Public Health announced on Thursday. But the new rules do not directly impact restaurants and bars, which means masks are still required if you’re planning to participate in indoor dining and drinking. Instead, the change allows “stable cohorts” — defined in the health order as groups of “people who are up-to-date on vaccination” — to drop their masks in offices and gyms. But there’s one major change from the way things were before Governor Gavin Newsom brought back the statewide mask mandate in December, ahead of the holiday-fueled surge: at this point being “up to date” on your COVID-19 vaccinations includes having a booster shot for those who are eligible.

Also of note, the order now clears the way for restaurants and bars to accept “religious and medical exemptions to vaccination” for both staff and patrons; that means unvaccinated people can now provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test and be cleared to enter restaurants and bars — though they’ll have to wear a mask except while actively eating or drinking, which, to be fair, would probably be most of the time they’re inside. “The public should be mindful that people in some settings may not be fully vaccinated or boosted and so should use good judgment when attending gatherings or events,” a DPH press release cautions.

STK Steakhouse to open at One Market Plaza

San Francisco will be the latest city to get a location of glitzy international meat palace STK Steakhouse, the San Francisco Business Times reports. The brand has more than a dozen outposts from San Diego to Scottsdale to South Beach and will take over the ground floor space most recently occupied by Rosa Mexicano, which closed in 2020. [SF Business Times]

Chef Martin Yan is giving 3,000 cookbooks to UC Davis

Trailblazing chef Martin Yan, whose PBS show Yan Can Cook celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, is gifting 3,000 cookbooks to his alma mater, the Sacramento Bee reports. The Chef Martin Yan Legacy Archive in the UC Davis Library Archives and Special Collections, which Yan and his wife are funding, will also feature the chef’s first wok and “photographs, videos, media clips and slides taken as Yan traveled the world for his food and travel shows,” per the university’s announcement. [Sac Bee]

Taste Tri-Valley Restaurant Week: Feb. 18-27

Diners of Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, and Town of Danville, rise up: Taste Tri-Valley Restaurant Week is going down February 18-27, which means you’ll have 10 days to take advantage of special prix-fixe menus at local restaurants including Burma! Burma! (Dublin), Zephyr Grill (Livermore), Bridges Restaurant & Bar (Danville), and BottleTaps (Pleasanton). Check the full list of participating businesses on the event website.

The Mushroom vegan pop-up returns in February

That super psychedelic vegan pop-up is back on next month and reservations open on February 4. The dinner costs $200 a person and will include five courses, six drinks, and service.