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The Seduction Chicken dish at Sister, Mother, Crone Hardy Wilson

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‘New Midwestern’ Fare Merges With Immersive Art at This New Dogpatch Pop-Up

The Midway debuts a pop-up restaurant with new executive chef, Oliver Walleck

Dianne de Guzman is a deputy editor at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, upcoming openings, and pop-ups.

In 2018, the Midway was founded on the idea of creating a space for the arts in San Francisco. Visual arts, technical arts, culinary arts, and music all had a home at the Dogpatch warehouse. But in the intervening years, the venue grew its music program and largely became known for its visiting artists, thanks to music performances during the pandemic. Now, the Midway is placing its food programming back into the spotlight with a pop-up by executive chef Oliver Walleck. Walleck’s Sister, Mother, Crone serves “New Midwestern” fare alongside cocktails and runs Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays during February, beginning Thursday, February 1.

As much as the pop-up is the Midway’s way of highlighting its ongoing food program, Sister, Mother, Crone is also an introduction for Walleck, who joined the Midway team just a few months ago. “I thought, what could I do to introduce myself,” Walleck says, “but give the most personal story of food, and how the women in my life have been my source point for all culinary education. At its very essence, [this pop-up is] a culinary love letter to my mom, my grandma, and my sister.”

New Midwestern fare is a relatively new culinary term, and as Walleck acknowledges, there are subtle nuances to the style. “It’s an emerging cuisine form that has a lot of lineage from the Great Migration and all the Germanic communities,” Walleck says. “It’s centered in the Midwest with that hearty work ethic that I want people to know. Midwestern food is not just casserole. It’s not just variations of Jell-O, there’s a service element to it, there’s the French [cooking] techniques. There’s a lot of joining together of all of these cuisine forms.”

A plate of steam clams surrounded by other dishes from Sister, Mother, Crone in San Francisco Hardy Wilson
An assortment of dishes from Sister, Mother, Crone in San Francisco Hardy Wilson
A plate of cured duck eggs from Sister, Mother, Crone Hardy Wilson
A dessert dish from Sister, Mother, Crone Hardy Wilson

The menu is divided into four sections, based on a saying from Walleck’s grandfather: “If you want a relationship to last, it needs a lot of like, a lot of love, a lot of lust, and a lot of luck.” Like, Love, Lust, and Luck loosely fall into the traditional dinner categories of appetizers through dessert, with dishes under each section. A duck liver littleneck clams dish, for instance, is a staff favorite and fittingly falls under the Love section of the menu, which Midway culinary director Chris Fry praises as being rich, but comforting and simple. The Seduction Chicken, meanwhile, is Walleck’s take on his grandmother’s recipe, while also simultaneously being a tongue-in-cheek reference to the “Marry Me Chicken” viral recipes of our day. Located in the Lust section of the menu, the Seduction Chicken is a whole chicken leg served over a bed of couscous and haricot verts, along with a pan gravy.

Four new cocktails will take on the name of the pop-up and are made in response to Walleck’s food menu. The Mother is Midway bar manager Kimberly Morini’s take on a whiskey sour, but made with blood orange marmalade and ginger, playing with the sour and sweet flavors of the drink, Fry says. The Crone cocktail combines tequila with ancho verde, banana, and prickly pear flavors for a complex drink that feels refreshing, but with heat and sweet undertones. Two nonalcoholic mixed drinks are also available, as well as wine and beer.

A number of tables at Sister, Mother, Crone, with a Renaissance-looking art piece projected onto the walls Hardy Wilson
A look at the wider Sister, Mother, Crone space, with art projections on the walls. Hardy Wilson

But it wouldn’t be the Midway without an art element. Diners at the pop-up can peruse the art show at the Midway’s gallery, but art also features prominently in Sister, Mother, Crone. Artwork will be projected onto the walls — such as works by Hieronymus Bosch — giving dinner and drinks an immersive feeling, pairing with music from the Midway’s house DJs.

After February, the pop-up will return for music festivals — as Fry describes it, during larger music festivals at the Midway, if attendees prefer a proper meal after tiring of pizza or tacos, Walleck’s food will be available in a sit-down environment at the venue, keeping the same theme and concept. But for February, it’s an exciting chance for Walleck to debut this personal menu and connect with diners in this new space. “It’s one of my favorites to see people eat,” Walleck says, “because they have that expression of that crush of comfort, that feeling. When you see it on somebody’s face, it’s that moment — that’s the ice-cold-beer-on-a-hot-day sensation that I love people experiencing and love for them to have.”

Sister, Mother, Crone at The Midway (900 Marin Street) takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays throughout February, starting February 1. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made via Resy, but space is also available for walk-ins.

Chef Oliver Walleck at Sister, Mother, Crone Hardy Wilson
Four cocktails in glassware at Sister, Mother, Crone Hardy Wilson
A neon sign reads “Sister, Mother, Crone” with prismatic art projections on the wall. Hardy Wilson

Chef Oliver Walleck.

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