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For the First Time in Three Years, Outerlands Will Open for Dinner

Brand new owner and longtime employee Riley Bartlett brings mezcal cocktails and mussels to the menu

Patricia Chang
Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

Riley Bartlett took over at Outer Sunset vibey upscale restaurant Outerlands in the beginning of October. Founders Dave Muller and Lana Porcello, who opened the restaurant in 2008, announced the business would close on September 22, but just shortly after that Bartlett came out with a number of changes, ranging from a stronger cocktail program to an expanded parklet, to the much-loved restaurant. Now, the new owner is rolling out dinner as of November 2; this is the first time the restaurant has served dinner in almost three years. The main goal, Bartlett says, is simply to get functioning as a dinner restaurant. “We’ve done brunch for the past year,” Bartlett says. “But we get questions about dinner everyday. It felt silly not to give the people what they want.”

The debut menu is both seasonal and simple, more or less Outerlands modus operandi. The Early Girltomato soup, with the last tomatoes of the season from Dirty Girl Produce, is the dish Bartlett is most excited about. The four entrees on the menu look to be winners, too: a fontina Bolognese, roast chicken, mussels, and a veggie grain bowl for the “vegan friends,” as Bartlett puts it. Naturally, the owner says the housemade bread and butter remains the star of the show. For a salad option, belly up to the gem salad topped with marinated beets — a classic fall salad, really, though smoked trout as an add-on gives the dish a bit of potential heft. The bar is up and running and feeling robus.: The Moon People mezcal-based drink (heavy on angostura and fall baking spices-energy) is one of Bartlett’s favorites alongside the Chameleon, a gin-based drink with loads of fennel and apple, and the Manhattan riff called the Little Italy, which has been popular with the staff. The wine list is ever-expanding and nothing to sleep on, either; the wide-range of options won’t run you more than $15 a glass with bottles going for about $50.

Bartlett says reception from the neighborhood so far has been paramount to the otherwise semi-hectic experience of getting up-and-running. Slowly but surely, he says he’s realizing just how important the restaurant is to the community. “Peoples’ excitement has been so pure and joyous,” Bartlett says. “People keep telling me they’re rooting for me. That feels good as a new owner.”

Outerlands is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m. and for weekend brunch 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Make reservations through Resy or order to-go as of the second week of November.