Some people dream of growing up to become an accountant or a doctor or a lawyer. Not me. I always dreamed of owning a restaurant. At first, it was a big, splashy, glamorous place-a place with high check averages and even higher expectations. But as years passed and jobs came and went, the dream place became more and more casual. It became a restaurant that suited my "at home" style more than my "at work" style-a laid-back place where there was delicious food, good drinks, low prices and genuine people. Surely I couldn't be the only person who wanted that kind of place?
Enter Brian Leitner. Brian and I worked together many years ago at my all-time favorite job, Gordon's House of Fine Eats. Brian was always super cool-a fantastic natural palate, an unbelievable work ethic, a great guy with big dreams and a bright future. I called Brian on the off-chance that he was looking to partner as the chef/owner of his own project. Turns out, Brian was also dreaming of opening "that kind of place". We met again at Bakery Tartine after over 7 years of falling out of touch, and it was like no time had passed. We were in the exact same mindset--we wanted our own restaurant, we wanted it to be different than so many other fancy restaurants in the city, we wanted to serve the food we tended to eat, and we wanted it to be casual and fun without sacrificing soul or service. It would be inspired by so many old East Coast fish houses, but at the same time be ready for prime time San Francisco. A great partnership was born that day over coffee and croissants, and we haven't looked back since.
Brian and I searched for locations for over a year and a half. Brian liked some, I liked others. People told us when we saw the perfect spot, we'd know, like finding a perfect mate. We had our doubts. But then a restaurant became available in a historic building on Union St., a great location by anyone's standards. I had actually worked there before when it was a different restaurant and knew it had tons of potential. We immediately envisioned an open-air patio, a great, expansive bar, a light and sunny dining room, and a completely open kitchen. Those people were right--this spot was it and we knew it. We would fill it with big, chunky picnic tables simply covered with butcher paper and beautifully weathered furniture you'd find in an old seaside joint. Pails of steamers, mugs of chowder, locally grown vegetables or a perfectly grilled whole fish would arrive at tables with buckets of beer and inexpensive wines. It would feel completely open and airy by day, but glow with candlelight and wine glasses by night. It would be filled with people that like to eat and drink, people that cared about where their food came from and the people that ate it. A serious place that didn't take itself too seriously.
So welcome to our dream. This is absolutely it for us-our heart and soul, our money, our shot, our everything. Every detail has our hand, nothing is insignificant. We hope you like it. We certainly do. And we hope you come. A lot.