The Tablehopper

Presidio heats up

Michael Bilger and Evin Gelleri of the former Georges restaurant in the Financial District have a new project in the works. It’s opening in the former Dixie space in the Presidio and will be called Sessions (1 Letterman Drive). According to a press release, they’ll be offering “craft beer, craft cuisine, and craft cocktails,” so remember to bring your knitting. They want to keep the environment welcoming and cheerful, and the focus will be on session-style beers, or beers made with lower alcohol so you can enjoy more than one at a time (and all day and night on your back porch before you get hammered). They will also have local beers on tap, cask-conditioned beers, and some nitro beers.

As for the food, they’ve partnered with the organic farm at Skywalker Ranch in Marin for their produce, and will offer seasonally driven dishes designed for sharing. Lundberg Design — whose previous projects include Mourad, Quince, and Hard Water — is working on the space. They will use large windows and natural elements to bring the beauty of the Presidio inside, and the space will offer both indoor and outdoor seating. The plan is to open in late spring.

Off the Grid has returned to the Presidio and Fort Mason after a winter hiatus. Picnic at the Presidio is back on the Main Post Lawn, with food trucks, food stands, mimosas, bloody Marys, and music. Partay! It’s happening every Sunday from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. until November. Off the Grid Fort Mason is also back, with food trucks, cocktails from Rye on the Road, beer from Magnolia Brewing, and wine pairings. You can continue to enjoy that party every Friday from 5 p.m.–10 p.m.


The former Interior Visions is being transformed into a currently unnamed sushi restaurant (2206 Polk Street) from the chef-owner of Saru in Noe Valley, Billy Kong, and the chef-owner of Seiya in San Carlos, Kuo Hwa Chuang. The menu will focus on kaiseki (multi-course Japanese dinners) and traditional sushi, so don’t expect yet another place with a menu of spicy tuna rolls with cream cheese. There will be a sushi bar and tables, about 45 seats in all. The change-of-use has been a long process, but construction is under way, and they hope to open in July or August. There will be more details to release soon, like the name, so we’ll keep you posted.

After Sean Baker left last month, it looks like Verbena has a new chef. His name is Ryan Shelton and his previous experience includes Chez TJ in Mountain View, the fantastic Baumé in Palo Alto (the restaurant earned two Michelin stars), Le Cigare Volant in Santa Cruz, and, most recently, the Palo Alto Grill. He is currently in the kitchen at Verbena and is actively working on his new menu, which should be rolling out over the next couple of months. No word yet on what opening chef Sean Baker is doing next.

A neighborhood friend let us know that Ala Romana (1098 Jackson Street) in Nob Hill has closed, and it looks like the space is for lease.


San Francisco is lucky with our current bakery game right now, because it’s strong. Due to open late summer is Un Fil À La Patte (1314 Grant Avenue) from David Carbonell, a French transplant who has been living in the Bay Area the past five years. His family has been in the bakery business for more than 200 years, because that’s how things roll in France, although he broke from the baking path to study art history, and then to be a journalist and war photographer. But now the family’s baking roots have tugged Carbonell back. He is inspired by how obsessed San Franciscans are about food, and because he wants to offer baked goods with a real “French taste,” he will only use French ingredients, from the butter to flour. He knows this will be challenging, but he really wants to make it happen.

He will focus on viennoiserie, with specialty pastries, breads, and desserts (he mentions olive bread, cereal bread, and macaroons, too). Carbonell will also offer some rare items, like le pain du chat rouge, which means “the bread of the red cat,” a recipe that is more than 300 years old. More than anything, he really wants his bakery to become a daily stop for the people in the neighborhood.

The location was previously a shop, Metis Makers, so it will require some permitting hurdles and remodeling. He wants the look to be like a humble “bread depot, where people feel at home, a French corner in the heart of San Francisco.” As for the name, of course it has roots in the 17th century: It translates as “a string attached at your leg,” which was a reminder to flirtatious married men that they should think before looking at other women. Oh, the French. Look for updates from us this summer.


An April opening is slated for the new location of Fish & Farm (424 Clay Street, 415-474-3474), which is moving into the former Elephant & Castle location in the Financial District. Fish & Farm, which currently is housed in the Hotel Mark Twain, will close that location on March 31, according to Barbary Coast News. Look for a new American menu with sustainable seafood and meat, along with a full bar, wine, and beer.

Sachin Chopra and Shoshana Wolff, who own All Spice in San Mateo, decided to close their restaurant, Game, which opened in November in the former Masa’s space, and have reopened it as a San Francisco location of All Spice (648 Bush Street, 415-874-9481). The All Spice menu is focused on modern American takes on Indian flavors, along with a special chef’s tasting menu.


One to watch: The Bacchus Management Group (of Spruce and The Village Pub) is opening a restaurant in the Saratoga Hotel building (1008 Larkin Street; originally reported in the Inside Scoop). The neighborhood is unusual for the group — they’ve typically opened shop in places like Pacific Heights, the Marina, and Woodside. We have been tracking the space for over a year, and Eater is reporting that the group is still waiting on a conditional use authorization from the Planning Department, which includes a restaurant and bar with seating for 72 in a 4,200-square-foot space. They aren’t divulging any additional details right now, though it may be called The Saratoga. Time will tell.


If you’re heading to the Ferry Building, you’ll notice the Frog Hollow (Shop No. 6, 415-445-0990) cafe has made some exciting changes. To start, they now have a beer and wine license and serve two beers (Jagged Edge IPA and Hefeweizen Bavarian Wheat), along with two white wines (Bloomfield Chardonnay and Viognier) and two reds (both from Cline Cellars). They are also offering an after-hours menu Monday through Saturday from 5 p.m.–7:30 p.m., with special snacks. The menu includes a seasonal pizza, soup, and a house-made cookie plate. They’ve been growing barley on the farm for the last year or so for Thirsty Bear Brewing, so the barley shows up in the seasonal soup. To accommodate happy hour diners, they’ve also added some new seating, with sturdier tables and chairs, more planters for ambiance, and even new heat lamps so you can enjoy the view when the fog rolls in. They are also improving the seating in the interior and adding some new double doors to the patio, but that is an ongoing project.

The Ferry Building Blue Bottle Coffee (Shop No. 7, 510-653-3344) has completed its remodel and is open for business. The space has been designed to help customers order more easily and to increase the speed at which baristas can prepare drinks. Lookin’ good, guys!

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