Side Dish

San Francisco's restaurant scene just may be the liveliest in the country, so SF Weekly is pleased to announce that we'll be covering its insiders -- and inside stories -- in Side Dish.

We've never actually met correspondent Harry Coverte, but word is he's preternaturally suave, faultlessly socially connected, and very nearly omnipresent. In fact, if Harry doesn't know about it, well, it may not be worth knowing about ....

North Beach Now
If you haven't been for a while, the time is ripe for a revisit to Little Italy, where the old Postermat is now Tavolino. The hype is good, but we think it's strictly for tourists. Still, try it out yourself -- then wander down to 15 Romolo. With an alley entrance to rival Specs, this is a truly laid-back local scene. Owners Jonathan Gasparini and Greg Lindgren tend bar and keep the jukebox mellow. It's not New York, but the Manhattans are A-1.

If you're over the whole swing thing, check the latest addition to the Hi-Ball Lounge -- the Bamboo Hut, an authentic tiki bar complete with outrigger canoe and 1940s tiki god waterfall. Brainchild of co-owner Sam Young, who designed and built the place with the help of sibling/partner Max, this is a chill spot for a fruity cocktail. "A lot of these swing kids just don't get it," sighs an exasperated Sam.

Harry does, Sam, Harry does.
BTW: The neon and "graffiti" are a nice touch, but $9 is way too much for a lousy martini at the chat noir.

DNA/TBA
The Brothers Schneider -- Rob and John, media moguls and club owners -- have been trying to dump their DNA venue for almost a year. The latest buyers, a mysterious trio of local women, dropped their bid while it was still in escrow. In the meantime the DNA is open Fridays and Saturdays only for cover bands, cover bands, cover bands.

Do, Re, Mi ... ABC
Art/dive bar extraordinaire the Albion has changed hands after a bust by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. Our standard-bearers for the American Way, the boys in blue, sent in a buxom blonde decoy just shy of 21 and came up with a full house. The place was shuttered for a month, but workers were allowed in to dust. Word is the owners, who also drink for free at the 500 Club and Molotov's, did some official paper shuffling to clean up their score card.

Also caught with their kilts down, the Edinburgh Castle is beginning a month's state-enforced closure. There's no other place in the Tenderloin for greasy fish 'n' chips and a fine single malt -- and I only hope it reopens before the next cravings set in.

Comings and Goings
Cassandra Miles, who ran the front-of-the-house at Zuni with an iron fist and a warm smile, is retiring. And no, she's not becoming a dreaded "restaurant consultant" -- she's returning to her home base of Atlanta for a well-deserved break. She'll be missed.

Back in town after a brief break from the city, Howard Cummins can now be found at Le Colonial. Howard spent time establishing Johnny Love's and Harry Denton's before moving across the bay to start Bogey's Grill at the Moraga Country Club. With that project purring along, Howard has some time to zip back through the tunnel and over the bridge to lend his expertise to our latest three-star upstart. I hope Le Colonial is paying you mileage, Howard.

Love to Love You Baby
The Jon and Andre show is back in town, and just in time for fall previews. Jon Guinea, who invented the art of bartending at LuLu, was on a short management sabbatical for a well-respected musical venue, but the perks there just didn't stand a chance against the kind of adoration he receives behind the rail.

By Harry Coverte

 
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