The Marina gets cultured

Well it took a while, but now that summer is finally upon us, the Marina is in the midst of
the “froyo” phenomenon. Tuttimelon may have arrived first, but now finds itself with a little competition down the block on Chestnut Street.

Now open over a month, Pome on Chestnut (at Steiner) in the former Jamba Juice space offers smoothies, organic frozen yogurt, custom raw juices, and espresso drinks. You will find a wide array of selections in the raw juice section, including organic fruits and vegetables that you can custom blend to taste. Jamba fans will recognize the space and likely find it their new go-to spot for smoothies. In the frozen yogurt category, Pome offers their organic yogurts in peach, double chocolate and original tart flavors (as well as swirl combinations) and an array of toppings you can apply yourself. Espresso drinks are available, so you can also get an affogato with frozen yogurt. Open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Pome: 2066 Chestnut Street

Just down Chestnut (between Pierce and Steiner) in the former Sweet Dish location, Yogorino just opened its second location in San Francisco (the first in Four Embarcadero Center opened mid-July). This family-owned version of the Italian import – the only other location is in Philadelphia – features handcrafted gelato and frozen yogurt. The frozen yogurt is made with organic Clover two-percent milk, and unlike most “froyo” is neither tart nor sweet. It is much more like European frozen yogurt, which takes its cues from Greek-style yogurt – yogorino means “baby yogurt” and features healthful probiotics. There are six hot toppings including white chocolate/vanilla, Toblerone bar, and pistachio; a dozen dry toppings; and six fresh, local and, when possible, seasonal organic fruit toppings. Joanne Wills, a recent S.F. transplant from Philly who moved here to be closer to her family, agrees with the Italian’s conceit that this is “the best tasting yogurt in the world.” With hundreds of stores throughout Europe, Asia and now Africa, perhaps there is something to the claim. The most unique aspect of this store is the Italian imported carousel gelato case, where a dozen flavors of fresh, handmade gelato tempt you as they do a slow, seductive dance around the case. The flavors are classic Italian, like nutella pastrocchino, panna crock, stracciatella, pistaccio, and “barley,” which tastes like a mild coffee with nuts. Joanne and her family, including son-in-law Bert Mutch (deemed by the Italians as the “king of gelato”) and daughter Jennifer Mutch (crowned the “queen of cups” for her effortless swirl servings) invite you to stop in and taste why Yogorino is such a hit in Italy and beyond. Yogorino is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Yogorino:2144 Chestnut

Rick Dade, Marina dad and co-owner of R3 Builders, has been busy building out the Yogorino shop (with local firm Architects II) – his son Benjamin is convinced that Yogorino is his personal ice cream store. Benjamin will have to wait a few years to appreciate R3’s next Marina project. It’s for owner Paul Owens in the former Gravity space on Scott Street, where the new Reed & Greenough Distillery is slated to open Aug. 22. Envisioned by Paul to be an upscale cocktail lounge with a game room for casual fun, this space has some real history. The Paragon may have gotten its name from a sign that was uncovered after Paul’s Saloon left this same spot, but when the entire storefront was recently torn off to reveal bare wood, what emerged was an even older sign for “Reed & Greenough.” After extensive research, Paul discovered that R&G was a feed supply store located on Pierce Street, back when this was really Cow Hollow. After buildings were damaged or closed in the quake of 1906, turns out the City’s forefathers were the original green and sustainable merchants, reusing building materials from other buildings. The siding from the old feed store ended up as the sheathing for a new gin and vodka distillery built in 1910 on the Scott Street site. So the circle completes itself, as Paul plans to have a short list featuring five signature cocktails and five classic cocktails, along with an excellent beer and wine program. In keeping with the original green effort, recycled barn wood features heavily in the decor, and the wine program will feature a large on-tap program, which eliminates bottle waste while allowing you, the thirsty consumer, to sip exquisite local wines at a reasonable cost. Rounding out the fun will be two pool tables and a 20-foot shuffleboard in the back room. Paul is excited about this new venture and the positive support he has garnered for his efforts to create a world-class saloon in the Marina. Follow their progress and watch for news on Twitter and Facebook.

Reed & Greenough Distillery:3251 Scott Street
R3 Builders:1728 Union Street, Suite 102, 707-748-2255, www.r3builders.com   

Jim Maxwell is a past president of the Marina Merchants Association and owns Architects II in the Marina. E-mail: jim@marinatimes.com