The Tablehopper

Union Street percolates with new projects; Mason Pacific is back in action

Pour one out for Mike Shawa of North Beach icon Sam’s, who has sadly left us after saving us with countless late-night burgers. Photo: ©TABLEHOPPER.COM

There is a taker for the former Betelnut (2030 Union Street) space, and it’s Adriano Paganini’s restaurant group (Belga, Beretta, Delarosa, El Techo, Lolinda, Starbelly, Super Duper, and whew, Uno Dos Tacos). They will be unveiling the new casual dining concept this October; it will be open for lunch and dinner, and the front patio will be designed to be a lively space.

Another project coming to Union Street is Naples On Union (2136 Union Street), a 100-seat upscale Italian restaurant, “artisanal pizzeria,” and wine bar, opening late summer in the former La Cucina space. Details are sparse at the moment, but we’ll keep you updated.

After 10 years in Cow Hollow, Umami (2909 Webster Street) has closed. Based on the melancholic note posted on their website and outdoor menu board, it seems the closure wasn’t what the partners had in mind. (“Call us another casualty of a changing San Francisco.”)

The former Tacolicious space (2031 Chestnut Street) will become the fourth Bay Area location for Asian Box, which serves up “farm to box street food.” Tacolicious has moved into larger digs at the old Grove space (2055 Chestnut Street).

A while back, we told you Pete Mrabe would be opening Don Pisto’s Tequila Bar (2030 Lombard Street) in the former Mas Sake space, and it has now opened. The menu has smaller portions of Pisto’s classics, and everything is less than $15 (except specials). You’ll find Pisto’s enchiladas, their amazing tortilla soup, and machaca beef and egg as well as a street food section, with items like a fish or carnitas taco, braised beef tamale, street stand burger, and ceviche tostada, available by the piece for $3–$7. There’s a full bar — Duggan McDonnell consulted on the list, which he also did for Pete’s (the former Amante).


A few other updates in Mrabe land: At Pete’s (570 Green Street, 415-398-2551) in North Beach, there’s a new menu for dinner on non-game days, with brunch starting soon.

If you swing by Central Station Deli (728 Vallejo Street, 415-658-7310), you’ll note the offerings there have ramped up significantly. Daniel Sudar, who makes desserts for Pete’s, is making pastries, croissants, apple pie, and cheesecake. You can also pick up their hefty deli sandwiches, including a New York-style pastrami, plus breakfast sandwiches, lunch salads, lasagna, and other items to take home for dinner. Open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily.

Was sorry to read Mike Shawa, the mustachioed owner of late-night burger church Sam’s (618 Broadway Street, 415-391-1539), has passed away at the age of 70. Hoodline reports Shawa’s uncle Sam opened the burger joint in 1966. He will be missed by his many patrons, whom he treated as kindly as family — because his customers were family! Condolences to his family and many friends.


One of San Francisco’s more charming restaurants, Mason Pacific (1358 Mason Street, 415-374-7185) has reopened after a kitchen fire in March. A new fixture in the kitchen is chef Max Mackinnon, who is launching a new menu which includes dishes like braised lamb with flowering broccoli and citrus broth. The Cali native was previously the chef-owner of Pistou in Burlington, Vt., and has cooked at Restaurant Relae in Copenhagen, Fish & Game in Hudson, N.Y., and most recently Rose’s Luxury in Washington, D.C. He was also a commis in the 2011 Bocuse d’Or competition, so you know this guy has his sauces down.

This is a great place to swing by for a glass of wine (or two) and a few small plates. Master sommelier Dustin Wilson (maybe you saw him in Somm and Uncorked) and managing partner Eric Railsback (who is also a partner in Lieu Dit Winery) will continue to run the rocking wine program.


Owner Mike Geraldi confirms that he is retiring and Chris Henry of Tommy’s Joynt on Van Ness Avenue is buying No. 9 Fishermen’s Grotto (2847 Taylor Street, 415-673-7025). The oldest sit-down restaurant on the Wharf, the Grotto has been in the family since 1935. It sounds like Henry will be updating the menu this fall to feature sustainable and local ingredients, and here’s a nice slow clap that they aren’t going to touch that vintage front bar, the most fantastic time capsule. The wonderful staff will also stay on.


The adored and stylish bakery-cafe Jane will open a third location in the previous Taco Bell/KFC space (1881 Geary Boulevard) smack-dab in the middle of the Fillmore to be used for bakery production, in addition to being a cafe space for the public (coffee, smoothies, sandwiches, and more). Owner Amanda Michael likes the strip mall location, one of the last in San Francisco, and there’s that convenient parking lot! Look for a September opening.


Send to a Friend Print
Follow @tablehopper on Twitter and Instagram for more culinary finds.