The Tablehopper

Chubby Noodle open in North Beach, plus a coming soon report

Tacos at Chubby Noodle. photo: chubby noodle / instagram

Last month we mentioned that Pete Mrabe (Don Pisto’s, Chubby Noodle, and more) and Nick Floulis were going to be moving the Chubby Noodle North Beach ( (1310 Grant Avenue, 296-9600) pop-up out of Amante and into the former Pisto’s Tacos space, with chef Alex Ong consulting on the opening menu.

Well, Nick Roberto and Colby Thompson of VerSacrum Design (formerly with Bon Vivants Design+Build) cranked on the design, and the space is now open. Every square inch is mapped out, with plenty of booths for you and your posse and a bar in the back. There is also some sound baffling so things aren’t louder than they need to be. The menu will continue to feature some Chubby Noodle flavor-packed favorites — like the fried chicken, ramen, tuna poke, spicy garlic noodles, and Korean pork tacos — but will be taking more of a creative izakaya approach to the menu. Mrabe is rotating dishes like mustard wings and a bunch of skewers on the grill, ranging from meatball skewers to chicken with avocado to swordfish with lemon togarashi.

The party will be fueled by their sake cocktails on tap (similar to Chubby Noodle Marina), plus sake, beer, and wine on tap, too. There are 24 taps in all, and one is extra special because it features Bushido (“Way of the Warrior”), a premium junmai genshu from Japan. The Chubby Noodle team has been trying to get a Japanese sake on tap for the past couple of years, and Chubby Noodle Marina started pouring it first, making it the first restaurant in the United States to have Japanese sake on tap. Soft opening hours are Tue–Sat, 6 p.m.–10 p.m., which will expand to nightly soon. Look for lunch and bottomless brunch to come in time as well.

We mentioned Michael Mina was opening a new pop-up/incubator (The MINA Test Kitchen) for some of the Mina Group’s most promising young chefs in the former home of Café Claude Marina (2120 Greenwich Street), and the first pop-up is from RN74 chef Adam Sobel. It’s called Middle’terranea, beginning Thursday July 23, and will be hosted Wednesday through Saturday nights. The multicourse menu will be served family style, highlighting traditional dishes from the Middle East and Mediterranean. Tickets are $45 per person, exclusive of tax, gratuity, and beverages. The beverage pairing is $30 per person. Visit for more.

Curious what’s in store at the upcoming Gardenias (1963 Sutter Street)? This new Lower Pac Heights restaurant from Margie Conard and Dana Tommasino (previously Woodward’s Garden) in the former Roostertail space is due to open very soon, and here’s a little more about their plans. Dinner will be served six nights a week, and weekend brunch (and possibly even lunch!) will follow later on. For those of you who enjoyed some of their past special events, with talent like Rebecca Solnit and Cheryl Strayed, those kinds of special evenings will continue.

While the ladies adore and pay homage to seasonal California produce, they are also going to be putting that mega rotisserie to work, with birds, pork, fish, and even whole herb-stuffed goat and lamb — all served with meze-style side dishes. They are going to be offering small plates as well as traditional entrées, so you can come in for a casual bite or a full sit-down experience. Now that they have more space, they’ll be doing wines on tap and plan to work with wineries to make their own Gardenias blends. Just imagine yourself on the back patio, enjoying a glass of rosé and some seasonal dishes … yup, it’s where you’ll want to be. We’ll let you know as soon as we hear a firm opening date.

Here’s a quick update on Sessions (1 Letterman Drive) in the Presidio, the beer-focused restaurant we told you about in February. Michael Bilger and Evin Gelleri of the former Georges restaurant are the owners, and they’ve brought on master cicerone Nicole Erny to select the beer. Erny is one of only nine master cicerones in the world (she was the fourth person to receive the certification) and the first woman. She has previously worked at The Trappist in Oakland and as a consultant to various bars and restaurants.

Erny will have 24 taps to play with, offering a rotating selection of beers, along with some ciders. In addition, there will be a significant bottle list with an emphasis on larger-format bottles designed for sharing among groups. As for the opening, construction has hit some snags, and they are currently targeting August.

We’re sorry to report the North Beach location of Pittsburgh-style deli Giordano Bros. (303 Columbus Avenue) served their last all-in-one sandwich and is now closed. Apparently, they lost their lease and decided to focus on their larger location in the Mission. The hope is to reopen a second location elsewhere eventually.

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Marcia Gagliardi is the creator of, a popular insider weekly e-column about the SF dining scene, subscribe for more news and updates. Follow her on Twitter: @tablehopper. Dana Eastland is the associate editor for