For years chef Chris Yang and his partner Marcelle Gonzales Yang have popped up around the Bay Area serving food inspired by both Taiwanese night markets and their experiences living and eating in places including Bali, Hawai’i, and Singapore. Under the names of their two businesses, Hén-zhì and the more casual El Chino Grande, they’ve earned a reputation for playfully reimagining street food through the lens of both California cuisine and Chris’ Taiwanese American heritage.
But after living that itinerant chef life for the last few years, the couple says they’re excited to announce they signed a lease for a new restaurant in the heart of the Mission at 2170 Mission Street. Called Piglet & Co. the new business will continue to draw inspiration from Taiwanese night markets — though both are careful to underscore that it will not be a traditional Taiwanese restaurant. “We’ll never be able to give you a true, traditional Taiwanese restaurant unless we’re in Taiwan,” Chris says. “It’s our interpretation of multiple experiences at multiple night markets,” Marcelle adds.
Piglet & Co. will serve dinner Wednesday through Sunday, plus Sunday brunch. Chris says they plan to offer both an a la carte menu and a family-style set menu with the option for a beverage pairing. Fans may recognize some of the dishes Chris has been perfecting through both pop-ups and meal kits; he plans to put his whole bone-in short ribs on the menu, for example, plus whole fish both steamed and fried. Whole animal butchery will factor into the plan, he says. He hopes to bring in a whole animal about once a month to feature across the menu.
Beverages will center around beer and wine, once the couple gets their liquor license (which might not be in time for the restaurant's initial opening). But nonalcoholic options will feature prominently, the couple says. “That's something that, for me, is really important: being able to go to a nice restaurant and have a nice selection of nonalcoholic drinks,” Chris says. Expect a range of nonalcoholic wines and beers, plus good old-fashioned booze-free stuff like sodas.
The space is “petite” Marcelle notes, so they plan to have just eight tables and one larger table to accommodate larger parties between 10-12 guests. The bar offers an additional 12 seats, and no outdoor seating will be available. The couple met while they were both working at restaurants in the neighborhood and have strong relationships with nearby businesses including Prubhechu and Le Dix-Sept, so, in a way, opening on Mission between 17th and 18th streets marks a bit of a homecoming. “We know the community, we used to work there, we have friends that own businesses nearby, so we already have those connections,” Marcelle says.
The space has been empty for the past year but most recently housed Above Ground, a vegan brewpub, so it’s fairly turnkey. After completing some maintenance and a light renovation (painting and moving pictures, for example) they plan to open by early December.
Shortly the couple will launch a Kickstarter with the goal of raising $40K toward the cost of getting the restaurant up and running. They’re financing the outfit themselves and with the ink just dry on a 10-year lease, they say they’re willing to make bigger changes to the space down the line in order to get the doors open within in their current budget. “We’re trying to be as humble as possible,” Chris says.
Piglet & Co. (2170 Mission Street in San Francisco) expects to open in early December 2022. Check the Piglet & Co. website for updates.