When the Fort Mason Center revealed that a new restaurant would be going in for the first time since the 1970s, there was an air of mystery about the entire thing. What’s going in there? Why did this take so long? Why was there a decades-long interval between Greens and, well, The Interval?
SF Weekly spoke with Nick Kinsey, Fort Mason Center’s Director of External Affairs, who is fully prepared to give up his smashing view of the Golden Gate Bridge so that restaurant patrons may one day have it.
[jump] “As part of a 2012 design competition we undertook, the core element is activating our ground-floor spaces so the 1.2 million visitors we get annually do get a sense of all the dynamic things that are happening on campus,” Kinsey said.
This reinvigoration campaign of this former coastal defense site includes bringing the San Francisco Art Institute’s graduate program to Pier 2, and possibly luring art supply store Flax from its soon-to-be-former home on Market Street. (That hasn’t been finalized, nor was Kinsey able to comment on the tantalizing possibility that the ferry to Alcatraz might be relocated to Fort Mason, because the project is the National Park Service’s baby.)
Nothing would be displaced by a fabulous new restaurant in Building A (the westernmost structure on the property), and the existing event space is scheduled for renovation as well. At 3,700 square feet, it would be just slightly smaller than Nopa. Kinsey and his team are talking to restaurateurs to find the best fit, and so far the only major criterion for consideration is that it not be a vegetarian restaurant, so as not to put the squeeze on Annie Somerville’s iconic Greens. From organizations such as Blue Bear and the Magic Theatre to huge events like wine tastings, the Art Market, and the Friends of the Library book sale, Fort Mason draws huge crowds, and they deserve another place to eat.
“I’ll lose my beautiful office view and some lucky diners will be able to enjoy that instead, but that’s probably for the best,” Kinsey said.