Because of course, San Francisco is officially getting its first NFT restaurant and membership-based club. The project comes from SHŌ Group, which describes itself as “a global experiential hospitality platform,” and will take up rooftop real estate atop Salesforce Transit Center. According to a press release, the company has a handful of components planned for the project including membership-based SHŌ Club and a high-end Japanese restaurant dubbed simply SHŌ, plus a “Japanese food retail concept” called SHŌ Market. It’s all expected to debut sometime in 2023.
In case you’re not familiar, NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are little digital bits of the blockchain, a decentralized record of cryptocurrency transactions; each one is entirely unique — a.k.a. the opposite of fungible — and can be pretty much anything on the internet, from a drawing of a pizza to, in this case, membership into an exclusive club. The SHŌ Club will offer three membership tiers dubbed Earth, Wind, and Fire, with the first being the lowest tier and the last granting the holder “ownership like benefits,” according to the club’s website. That means perks like “a once-in-a-lifetime highly curated trip to Japan,” per the press release. Meanwhile benefits for lower tier members range from access to a special menu at the club’s restaurant, which will be open to the public; admittance into a private lounge; concierge and car services; and dinners with “celebrity guests.”
The good news is you won’t have to fork over some insane amount of cash just to check out the restaurant. There’s no information online about how much SHŌ Club membership costs, just a form to submit if you’re interested in joining with promises of more details to come; but for comparison, membership at an upcoming NFT restaurant, New York’s Flyfish Club, costs upwards of $13,000, depending on current cryptocurrency exchange rates. SHŌ will be open to anyone interested in trying chef Shotaro “Sho” Kamio’s Japanese cuisine. The restaurant will have a Japanese irori, or sunken-pit grill, where the chef plans to cook over charcoal and offer “rustic farmhouse cuisine.” The rooftop lounge will serve sushi, tapas, and small dishes with chef Masaki Sasaki helming the sushi program. The groundfloor SHŌ Market will sell grab-and-go items like bento boxes, salads, and sake.
There are two main masterminds behind the whole project; chef Kamio and tech entrepreneur Josh Sigel. Investors include a laundry list of c-suite types from recognizable tech companies including Erica and Jeff Lawson (CEO of Twilio), Craig Ramsey (Founder of Vlocity), Dan Springer (CEO of DocuSign), and Drew Houston (CEO of DropBox) — plus Salesforce itself. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that this city will lay claim to one of the country’s first NFT restaurants; in fact, you could argue it’s surprising it’s taken so long for the NFT restaurant boom to explode into the Bay Area dining scene.