Ambition Goes All Wilt-y: S.F. Restaurant Closures in August

There were some major folderoos in the dog days. Pres a Vi, the ambitious small-plates-and-wine-bar spot that occupied major footage in George Lucas' big, bland Letterman Digital Arts Center in the Presidio, closed, leaving its much smaller progenitor, Va de Vi, thriving in downtown Walnut Creek. Hime, the big, stylish, ambitious Japanese purveyor of excellent sushi and small plates not far away on Lombard, likewise departed. Cortez, which opened in the Hotel Adagio to great acclaim for the ambitious small plates of husband-and-wife team Quinn and Karen Hatfield, survived their departure (to a successful eponymous restaurant in L.A.) and several subsequent chef regimes, but finally succumbed. And Chez Panisse vet Christopher Lee's ambitious Eccolo on Fourth Street in Berkeley had a week of standing-room-only farewell dinners before its close; Lee is reportedly looking for space in S.F. or the East Bay for a possible butcher-shop-plus-takeout venue.

Apparently the sterner stuff that ambition is supposed to be made of is no match for the Great Recession. And even the modest Mikaku sushi bar closed after 22 years on Grant, when its owners returned to Japan, apparently.

Many shuttered spaces already have new occupants in sight. The highly anticipated tiki bar Smuggler's Cove from Martin Cate will occupy the three-story premises of the erstwhile Jade Bar, The Parlor is moving into what had been Dirty Martini in the Cannery Building, and a new outpost of La Boulange will occupy what was once Noe Valley Pizza. In slightly confusing news, chef-owner Phillipe Gardelle, who'd been maintaining two French restaurants on Clement, moved Chapeau! into what had been the Clementine space. In the fullness of time, he might turn the old Chapeau! location into a wine bar and/or a French takeout spot. Full list of the shuttered after the jump.

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