Side Dish

Controlled Burn
The hot, hot Mission eatery Delfina is still scorching -- as in, reservations are necessary. "It's nice to be working with a real architect," says owner/chef Craig Stoll, in reference to the restaurant's forthcoming expansion into the old junk shop next door. Look for a wood-burning oven and a comfortable bar and waiting room. But if there's one thing Stoll and his partner Annie Spencer have proven, it's that people don't mind waiting out in the wind for a fantastic meal.

Oopzies
A recent Chronicle article skirted around the specifics and didn't even name names, but Harry's got enough melon balls to make a fruit salad: The triumphant return of the automat is on the ropes/rocks/skids. Eatzies, a Texas-based chain, had been scheduled to go into the ground floor at 1000 Van Ness ever since the building reopened as the newest AMC theater. Featuring a gazillion freshly prepared and tightly shrink-wrapped food items for the customer on the go, Eatzies was to anchor the theater's food court. But here's the anatomy of an unsweetened deal: It seems the landlords' parking garage is managed by an independent contractor, who sold off slots Eatzies was relying on. Eatzies reps wouldn't comment, but chances are they'll be looking for another location in the city, having already spent a tidy bundle on planning and training in the area ... not to mention legal fees.

Click, Drag, Book
Gone are the days of broken pencil tips and eraser shreds. One Market is among the latest local dining rooms to put its reservation book online. The host uses a touch screen just like many restaurants' order screens. One purveyor has even developed an Internet site (opentable.com) at which potential customers can book a table from their home or office computers. No, you still can't get a seat between 7:30 and 9 p.m.

Stomping Out Marriage
Will weddings be banned in Sonoma County? City Hall says that dash in/dash out wedding guests are hurting the area's summer tourism, taking up valuable overnight space and (gasp) not really spending a lot of money while they're there. Napa has flirted with the same idea, but I'd guess the wineries won't hash over the profitability of nuptials in the vineyards -- and it's the wineries that set policy in that part of the Bay Area.

Comings and Goings
Ken Rosselot has taken over the kitchen at the Tenderhip's Backflip. After two years and three chefs, the restaurant finally seems to have netted a chef who knows how to do it right: hearty food at a nice price and tasty bar snacks in the $5 to $9 range. Great place for a party if you don't want to try to squeeze all your buddies into some teeny local joint.

By Harry Coverte

Know something Harry doesn't? E-mail Coverte@aol.com and sweep the dirt out from under the rug.

 
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