On & Off Chestnut Street
Burger Wars And More

November 2011

Looks like the great burger war is now being waged locally, both on and off Chestnut. Umami Burger recently opened on Union Street and is serving up meaty, Japanese-influenced burgers full of the “fifth” taste known as umami. They now have some serious competition on Chestnut Street with the new Super Duper giving us retro-styled yet classic “fast food burgers with slow food values,” featuring Niman Ranch all-natural beef and organic Straus Dairy cream frozen treats. I say, let the battle begin! Super Duper is open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 a.m., so you can get your burger on into the wee hours.

Super Duper: 2201 Chestnut Street (at Pierce), 415-921-6258, www.superdupersf.com

We’ve already witnessed the first casualty of the “fro-yo” war with Pome closing after a few short months on Chestnut. Signs indicate that the former Jamba Juice location will reopen soon as TeaWay, which claims to be the original self-serve bubble tea store. Their tagline is “bubble tea my way.” Bubble tea is made with tapioca pearls, which requires the use of wide straws to drink these sweetened teas, ending with the chewy tapioca balls. TeaWay started in San Francisco in 2009 and now has three locations on Irving Street, and one each in Alameda and San Mateo. In the meantime, Yogorino and Tuttimelon continue to battle for cold creamery supremacy (though I’m giving an edge to Bert Mutch’s seasonal gelato creations at Yogorino, such as pumpkin pecan pie or vanilla bourbon leche).

TeaWay: 2066 Chestnut Street (between Mallorca and Steiner), www.TeaWayUSA.com

Across the way in the also short-lived Crave City Pizza location, Castagna (Italian for chestnut) is finally poised to open. Brothers Jerome and Stefane Meloni, former owners of Cassis in Pacific Heights, are opening what they describe as a casual eatery featuring a menu inspired by their upbringing in Nice, where they learned about good food and wine from their Italian father and French mother. The menu will include crepes and waffles; hamburgers, sandwiches and salads; plus pastas and Neapolitan-style pizzas. The Melonis plan eventually to open their 34-seat labor of love for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but will initially be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until their beer and wine license is approved.

Castagna: 2015 Chestnut Street (between Fillmore and Steiner), 415-440-4290, www.CastagnaSF.com

Over in the Presidio, the former Pres a Vis – now vacant for over two years – is getting a quick facelift and set to reopen as Dixie, with owner-chef Joseph Humphrey at the helm. Humphrey most recently was the executive chef at Murray Circle (at Cavallo Point in Sausalito) and the Restaurant at Meadowood (in Napa) where he earned a Michelin star, so expect great things at Dixie. And despite the decidedly Southern name, the menu is said to be much more than that, featuring California’s bounty with Southern influences from this Tallahassee, Fla. native. The plan for the 120-seat restaurant is to offer both tasting and à la carte menus, but no word yet on an opening date.

Dixie: 1 Letterman Drive (at Lyon)

Not shying away from his Southern roots, John Reitz (a native of Texas and recently employed at Miss Minnie’s) and Emily Lai will be opening Cedar Hill on Scott Street in the former Noodle Theory space. Permit issues have bogged down the process, but in the end the duo will have a new smoker brought in from Texas and will be smoking up their own bacon, fish and racks of pork chops. While the space is intended to have an “industrial farmhouse” appeal, this will be dressed up Southern BBQ with lunchtime counter service and full service at dinner.

Cedar Hill Kitchen & Smokehouse: 3242 Scott Street (between Lombard and Chestnut), www.cedarhillsf.com

Speaking of dressed up, across the street at Reed & Greenough, owner Paul Owens has been catching some nasty reviews for enforcing a limited dress code, which simply says no sandals or sneakers, no shorts on men, and shirts must have collars. Sounds simple enough – shoes, pants, shirt – but apparently some people think that business casual means sneakers, cargo shorts and a sweatshirt. Since Paul envisioned R&G as an upscale cocktail lounge, bravo for his completely transforming this dive bar (that ended with a shooting death in 2010) and bringing some more civility to what’s supposed to be a gem of a neighborhood in the City. Now put on a pair of big boy pants, quit your whining, and order up a proper cocktail … cheers! Open Monday through Friday 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to 2 a.m.

Reed & Greenough: 3251 Scott Street (between Lombard and Chestnut); Monday–Friday 5 p.m.–2 a.m., Saturday–Sunday noon–2 a.m.; 415-913-7021, www.facebook.com/ReedGreenough

Jim Maxwell is a past president of the Marina Merchants Association and owns Architects II in the Marina. E-mail: [email protected]