After a summer of sold-out pop-up events at wine bar Buddy and other restaurants around the city, the group behind Four Kings has an exciting bit of news for fans of their “Canto Nostalgia” fare: They’ve just signed the lease on a new restaurant space located at 710 Commercial Street in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
It’s a long-planned move for the Four Kings crew, comprised of chefs Franky Ho and Mike Long, and their respective partners Millie Boonkokua and Lucy Li. Along with cooking plates of fried squab and pork chop rice at their pop-ups and residencies this summer, the group toured more than a dozen turnkey spaces before signing a lease on the Commercial Street location, the former home of Slurp Ramen. The two-floor space is 1,800 square feet and satisfies one of the group’s requirements for their new restaurant: an open kitchen design with bar seating, allowing for interaction between the chefs and customers. “We’re really excited for this opportunity,” Long says. “Being in Chinatown, I feel like it’s a great location and it’s going to be a great addition to what the community already offers there. Being able to bring our vision, our food, hopefully, it’d be a welcomed addition.”
Long and Li say the group is not planning for any extensive changes to the space and, for now, is planning for an early 2024 opening date. Four Kings as a pop-up, meanwhile, will slow in the upcoming months, although there are a few unannounced events already in the works, “to keep our knives sharp,” Long says. Although many of the details of the restaurant are still in progress, Long says it will be relatively similar to the pop-ups, meaning the a la carte format of the menu will stay. Expect fan favorites to remain, such as the aforementioned fried squab, he says, while other items will be rotated on and off and remain highly seasonal, such as their vinegar- and chile crisp-laden “mouthwatering” tomato dish. The team intends to install a wok to allow for more dishes to be added to Four Kings’ repertoire, and the group is working on an alcohol license to allow them to serve a selection of beer, wine, and sake.
Although Four Kings has only been operating as a pop-up since January 2023, the group has been angling toward a permanent space, serving their brand of food that draws on flavors of Hong Kong and the Canton region. Li points out that the upcoming restaurant has been the result of extensive planning for Ho and Long, who first met at Michelin-starred Mister Jiu’s. “It seems pretty quick that they found the space,” Li says, “but they’ve been working [on this] for 10-plus years. It just really feels like a culmination of their hard work and their dreams being realized.”
Four Kings (710 Commercial Street) is set to debut in early 2024.