Tucked in at Masonic and Geary, The Corner Store straddles the borders of the Richmond, Nopa and Laurel Heights. But whichever neighborhood it’s in, this cozy spot, described by its owners as part community-driven kitchen, part bar, and part soda fountain, is already a hot destination for modern comfort food.
Replacing the old Hukilau Hawaiian restaurant, The Corner Store boasts a long bar with counter seats that face the open kitchen, a generous communal table, and a well-heated, 32-seat “front porch” or patio with a snug awning to protect against the fog.
Open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, The Corner Store’s menu is short and simple. Executive chef Nick Adams, formerly of Town Hall and Salt House, has put his Southern spin on classics like the Corner Store burger, with aged cheddar, pickled red onions, pickles, garlic aioli, and bacon jam; and the Wedge Salad made with baby gem lettuce, buttermilk, pickled shallot, smoky blue cheese, candied bacon, and radish (both served at lunch and dinner). The lunch menu features just three salads, four sandwiches and a roasted tomato soup (also served at dinner). In addition to the burger, sandwiches include a fried chicken sandwich with cabbage, lime slaw and warm dill potato salad; and a fried green tomato sandwich with burrata cheese, basil aioli, red onion, and avocado served on a French roll.
The dinner menu is more expansive and offers small plates like roasted beets or smoked salmon and potato pancakes, and mains like cornmeal-encrusted trout with broccolini, cauliflower, anchovy, Manila clams, chile, sweet onion, capers and almonds; and Snake River Farms’ pork loin and applesauce. For vegetarians, there is a mixed greens entrée with Shiitake-parmesan broth and summer beans. Weekend brunch goers can enjoy cheddar grits and duck confit with braised greens and a poached egg; Greek yogurt and granola with dried figs; ricotta pancakes with honey butter and blueberry compote; or a breakfast BLT with heirloom tomatoes, arugula, and a sunny-side-up egg.
The Corner Store’s bar is a winner, with a healthy selection of draft and bottled beer and wine on tap and by the bottle; all are from California. The cocktail list is soda-inspired and fun: Try the Indian Summer with gin, basil, black pepper, and house-made strawberry soda; or the Manhattan Shake made with bourbon, sweet vermouth, cherry syrup, and vanilla ice cream. Real fountain drinks include the Black Cow: root beer, vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, and the Lone Mountain Egg Cream with dulce de leche ice cream, sea salt, milk, and seltzer. There are also strawberry, grapefruit, pineapple, and prickly pear house sodas.
This casual newcomer aims to be a gathering place for locals, whether it’s workers on lunch breaks, families with kids for dinner, or hipsters on dates. And from the looks of it, The Corner Store is catching on.
The Corner Store: 5 Masonic Avenue (at Geary), 415-359-1800, www.thecornerstore-sf.com; Tuesday–Friday 11:30 a.m.–2 a.m., Saturday 9 a.m.–2 a.m., Sunday 9 a.m.–midnight; happy hour Tuesday– Saturday 3–6 p.m. & 11 p.m.– 2 a.m., Sunday 3–6 p.m. & 10 p.m.–midnight