New Life for Old Chalet
We'll have to wait another year for the Beach Chalet Brewery Restaurant, at the west end of Golden Gate Park. The two local partners in the deal, Lara and Greg Trupelli, are recent graduates of San Francisco State. She's a former prep cook and cashier at CafŽ for All Seasons; he was a manager at Woodstock's Pizza Restaurant in Central California. As five-year residents of the Outer Sunset, Lara says they're “very committed to the neighborhood” and hope to finance a community fund through beer sales. And they should sell plenty of suds: John Hickenlooper — who has an interest in 10 brew pubs across the country, including Wynkoop Brewery in Denver — is the third partner, along with New York real-estate developer Timon Malloy, who developed Sweet Tomatoes in New Hampshire. Lara says they haven't hired a chef or finalized the food concepts, but they are focusing on a “down-to-earth, creative menu, reasonably priced.” According to Hickenlooper, “It'll be an all-day kind of place, somewhere between Gordon Biersch and Twenty Tank Brewery in terms of elegance.”

Make Room for Carlo
Fans of Carlo Middione's Vivande Porta Via, the Italian gourmet delicatessen/cafŽ on Fillmore, eagerly await next week's opening of Vivande Ristorante in Opera Plaza. Middione's new space, formerly Modesto Lanzone's restaurant and art gallery, will include a full bar, a 150-seat dining room and outside dining. With the history of restaurant roulette at the neighboring site currently home to the House of Bamboo and Modesto's multiyear slide, Middione's professionalism is just the shot in the arm Opera Plaza needs.

A Pressing Date
If you're tired of looking at all those open kitchens while you eat, how about watching a nine-foot-tall granite crusher go to work on some olives? Roberto and Tina Zecca of Mill Valley plan a September opening for Frantoio, an Italian restaurant with a glass-enclosed olive-oil production facility, using olives from the Central Valley. The Zeccas, who also make olive oil at their home in Tuscany, say their new venture, at the site of the old Howard Johnson's near Tam Junction, will be the only place in the U.S. where diners can watch olive oil being made. Joining them as managing partner is Umberto Gibin, formerly general manager of Spectrum Foods. No doubt Frantoio's olive oil will be used at Caff Centro, which Roberto Zecca's daughter, Francesca, operates with fiancŽ Max Applegarth. Frantoio? That's “crusher” in Italian.

By Barbara Lane

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