There’s a new chicken and waffle spot called, easily enough, Chicken n Waffle Place (1968 Lombard Street). The hormone-free chicken is soaked in buttermilk, breaded, and fried to order. There are other breakfast and lunch items on the menu as well, from omelets to waffle sandwiches. Open Monday and Wednesday 7:30 a.m.–2 p.m., Thursday–Friday 7:30 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5–8:30 p.m., Saturday–Sunday 7 a.m.–3 p.m.
I was hearing from multiple sources about changes happening at the 8-month-old Cow Marlowe (3154 Fillmore Street), and got an update from Big Night Restaurant Group’s Anna Weinberg. They’re making updates to the kitchen, and decided to lighten up everything overall, which includes the menu, cocktails, and interior from Ken Fulk (it’s looking much airier). In a follow-up update from Eater, the group is changing the restaurant name to the Greenwich, and will be running with a preppy/Hamptons style, complete with waitstaff in polo shirts. Look for an opening Sept. 12.
Nari (1625 Post Street) is now open from chef-owner Pim Techamuanvivit of Kin Khao (and Nahm in Bangkok). It’s a spacious 100-seater in the recently renovated Hotel Kabuki, with a chic, tropical style from Lundberg Design, invoking a sense of dining in a greenhouse. There’s also a bar and lounge on the mezzanine, and a private dining room (for up to 30).
Nari is Thai for “women,” and the Bangkok-born Techamuanvivit is honoring the women in her life who taught her so many traditional recipes and dishes, which she really has more room to explore here with the larger kitchen. The heritage-driven menu is based on Thai dishes, techniques, and preparations, but also integrates California seasonality and Pim’s own modern updates. You’ll want to try as many of the snacks on the menu as you can (six in all), from the beautiful miang (betel leaves adorned with stone fruit, cured trout roe, Makrut lime, coconut, cashews, lemongrass; $14) and the gaeng gradang (fried bites of Northern Thai headcheese; $10).
All of the snacks are available in the upstairs lounge, and psssst, there are a few larger dishes upstairs you can’t get in the dining room, like sai ua (Northern-style sausage; $23) and tom yum with rice noodles ($22).
Five starters range from $15–$19, and include a winning spicy squid and sticky pork jowl dish. The pricing of the mains will remind you they’re meant to be shared, like the turmeric-scented rawaeng curry — a whole Cornish game hen, so succulent, served with irresistible roti ($47).
The wine list includes wines from female winemakers and female-owned wineries, with a focus on small producers.
Open Monday–Saturday 5:30–10 p.m. Lunch will be coming in a couple months.
Some big news at SPQR (1911 Fillmore Street): Managing partner Shelley Lindgren, who co-founded the restaurant in 2007, has divested her ownership. She will focus on A16’s locations, with one upcoming in the Oakland airport. Executive chef Matthew Accarrino, who has been in that role since 2009, will assume more oversight of the restaurant operations.
So sorry to report Isla Vida (1300 Fillmore Street) has closed after a year of giving it their all. Co-owners Jay Foster, Matthew Washington, and Erin Traylor were turning out some mighty tasty Afro-Caribbean food and tropical vibes, but unfortunately operational costs proved to be too much, plus slow foot traffic, and other challenges.
Locals were reeling over the news of the sudden closure of Tosca Cafe (242 Columbus Avenue), and now we have news of the new owners: Nancy Oakes (Boulevard, Prospect), Anna Weinberg (Big Night Restaurant Group — although she is working outside of the restaurant group on this project), and designer Ken Fulk, a frequent collaborator on Weinberg’s restaurants. The San Francisco Chronicle reports they plan to reopen the beloved 1919 landmark this winter.
It couldn’t be in better hands, really. Oakes grew up in North Beach, and she’ll be bringing some authentic nostalgia for the neighborhood to the menu development, which will remain Italian-American, leaning on classic Italian simplicity and great ingredients, with daily updates.
The dining room will have a few refreshed touches, like reupholstered booths, and the private memorabilia-filled back room will most likely remain the same as well. But Fulk will be having some fun with the small, upstairs private dining room. And there’s no word on plans for the former Lusty Lady, also part of the deal.
Marcia Gagliardi writes a popular insider weekly e-column, Tablehopper; subscribe for free at tablehopper.com. Follow @tablehopper on Twitter and Instagram.