The Tablehopper

The Elite Cafe returns: Let the good times roll

Pull up a chair for a civilized treat at La Fromagerie. Photo: Marcia Gagliardi

Due to reopen on Oct. 3, the Elite Cafe (2049 Fillmore Street, 415-346-8400) will be unveiling a new menu, plus new ownership, and a new-yet-old cocktail menu. Andrew Chun of Schroeder’s (Sidecar Hospitality) took over the 35-year-old restaurant space earlier this year. The new chef is Sidecar’s executive chef and NOLA native, Chris Borges. He plans to stay true to the place’s New Orleans roots, with dishes like duck gumbo and crawfish étouffée (available in two sizes), and of course, oysters on the half shell, with seasonal Gulf oysters. The famous Meetinghouse biscuits will remain on the menu (I heard from their creator, Joanna Karlinsky, that she was teaching the team how to make them). You can get them with jam, and there will be biscuit sandwiches featuring fried chicken, ham hocks, and blackened catfish (two for $12). Salads include kale with smoked onions, figs, and pecans dressed with a satsuma vinaigrette, and a muffuletta chopped salad with little gems. Brunch will be served, starting at 9 a.m. on the weekend, with New Orleans eggs rancheros and bananas Foster French toast.

Bar director Kevin Diedrich (Pacific Cocktail Haven/P.C.H) has added a frozen drink machine for frozen Irish coffees, and his version of a Sazerac, Hurricane, and other spins on classics. Beverage director Mauro Cirilli (Press Club) will oversee the wine list.

The interior got a refresh from BCV, but the mahogany booths and crown molding from the restaurant’s 1928 origins are still there to be honored, so don’t worry. There’s a new bar top and booth tabletops crafted from Carrara marble, and there are three brass-topped communal tables now, too. There’s also a 70-inch television for big games, but otherwise it’s hiding behind a mirror when not in use.


A few quick notes: Aaron Toensing and Erik Lowe of Spaghetti Bros. have changed the name to Maybeck’s (3213 Scott Street, 415-400-8500). Seems the impression of the original name was too casual for what they’re doing, and there’s more than spaghetti on the menu. The name is in honor of Bernard Maybeck, the architect who designed the nearby Palace of Fine Arts.

Delarosa is launching happy hour for the first time (2175 Chestnut Street, 415-673-7100). You’ll find $6 (and under!) cocktails (including an Aperol spritz) and wines by the glass, beer, pizzette, and antipasti (including fried artichoke hearts); open Monday–Friday 4–6 p.m. (also available at their Yerba Buena Lane location).


Back in May, we noted the folks behind Andalé (you know, the place that used to be on Chestnut Street where Blackwood currently is and where you now get a breakfast burrito before hopping on a plane at SFO) were taking over the former Reverb/Verbena space on Polk Street. Details have now been released: the Andalé Management Group project is called Mezcalito (2323 Polk Street), and it’s a mezcal bar with Oaxacan-influenced small plates by chef Matt D’Ambrosi, working with chef Julio Aguilera of Oaxaca’s El Destilado. Dishes range from Marin Miyagi oysters with smoky Champagne mignonette to an octopus tostada with grilled octopus, peanuts, potato salad, carrots, and celery on a house-made tostada, plus al pastor pork belly tacos and milanesa (breaded pork loin). Save room for the Mexican chocolate tres leches with Mexican chocolate, figs, and whipped cream.

Bar manager Guadalupe Jaques (Monsieur Benjamin, Barbacco) has created a mezcal-centric cocktail list, with a strong selection of mezcal for those who like it neat. Happy hour daily 5–6:30 p.m., with specially priced cocktails, wine by the glass, and shot-and-beer combos.

Architecture & Light designed the space with natural wood accents, and there are flat-screen TVs in the bar. Patio seating and weekend brunch are coming soon. Nightly 5 p.m.–midnight.


FiDi workers, you should know that La Fromagerie Cheese Shop (101 Montgomery Street, 415-394-6092) is starting a happy hour from 4–7 p.m. You can enjoy a flight of three wines and cheeses with matching jams and honey and wood-fired bread for $19 (there are more than 40 wines and cheeses to choose from), or grab your friend and have two glasses of rosé and an apéro platter for two with Délice de Bourgogne triple cream, 12-month cave-aged Gruyère, saucisson sec (French salami), cornichons, and wood-fired bread for $29.

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Marcia Gagliardi writes a popular insider weekly e-column, Tablehopper, about the San Francisco dining and imbibing scene; get all the latest news at Follow @tablehopper on Twitter and Instagram for more culinary finds