Friday Seven: Crokune at Namu Gaji, Mortal Kombat at Buzzworks

Plus The Market is giving out free food next Friday, which may or may not have something to do with the seeming collapse of the Mid-Market dining scene.

[jump] Buzzworks Soft-Opens on 11th St., With Mortal Kombat!
That was quick. The arcade-game-and-sportball bar Buzzworks (365 11th St.) is already open, and Hoodline reports that it aims to serve approximately 1,000 different beers on a rotating basis in its first year of operation. Fortunately for people who take that as a personal challenge, it might be open as early as 8 a.m. on weekdays, so that you can watch obscure games and matches on one of its 21 TVs. (Also, there's Mortal Kombat.)

Bon Marché Is the Latest Mid-Market Endeavor to Hit the Skids; The Market Gives Out Free Food
It's not closing outright, like Cadence (and nearby Oro). But Eater reported that the 7,200-square-foot Bon Marché (1355 Market) is up for sale, and as the space has a lot of pluses — a brewpub liquor license, for one — its parent company, Mercer Restaurant Group, is open to sharing the space as well as to selling it outright.

It has been a weird year Mercer, which seems to expand and contract a lot. It also owns AQ and Fénix in SoMa (which was until recently TBD), and it opened Sababa in the FiDi this spring while closing Melange Market (now Robin's Cafe at ODC) in the Mission after a run of only a couple years. And it owns The Hall, a few blocks down Market, which was always going to be temporary as the building is slated for redevelopment. The trend of Mid-Market closures begs another question: Are the remaining large-scale eateries in the area (Dirty Water, Cadillac Bar & Grill, The Perennial, The Market) falling short of expectations? Might the neighborhood's post-Twitter-tax-break dining ecosystem that flourished so quickly come to nothing?

Well, The Market will be giving away free food. Or rather, it's vendors will: Pizza by Slice House, Green & Go, Alter Eco, Just Desserts, Baia Pasta, Fort Point Beer, Fiction and Alloy Canned Wines, and Poke Bar all shifting into full altruism mode next Friday, July 29 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Hopefully, this news reaches more than just regular shoppers with disposable incomes, and gets to food-insecure San Franciscans as well.)

Crokune at Namu Gaji
In conjunction with Neighbor Bakehouse and Jesse Koide of the much-missed pop up Pink Zebra, Dennis Lee of  Namu Gaji (499 Dolores) will launch the $9.50 Crokune (an everything croissant stuffed with charcoal-roasted tsukune meatballs and glazed with beet mayo and tare) along with an affordable panoply of $4-$5.75 skewers. They're part of Namu Gaji's Yakitori Tuesdays and it won't last for very long, so move it.

Grand The Original Manresa Bread Expands
Not long after the second location opened in Los Gatos, the original Manresa Bread in Los Gatos (276 N. Santa Cruz Ave.) will venture forth into the world of full-service coffee and outdoor seating. They're adding 200 square feet of retail space, and the espresso bar is from Verve Coffee Roasters.

San Francisco Sweet & Savory Hits Noe Valley
Do you want to be the world champion (of the 94114)? Amateur cooking competition San Francisco Sweet & Savory IV is coming Sunday, July 31, with judges from Manos Nouveau and Novy. To enter, you sign up, make a dish for 12-15 people, and sit back as they judge you on originality, creativity and taste (and you need not live in the 'hood to compete). Winners take home prizes from Whole Foods, Easy Breezy, and elsewhere, along with the tantalizing possibility of fortune and glory.

New Chef, New Menu at The Corner Store
Four years on, The Corner Store (5 Masonic Ave.) has shifted from a comfort-food spot with retro appeal to more of a neighborhood restaurant. Eater reported that the new executive chef, Matt Rosson, has hung on to the burgers and mac and cheese, but added Taco Tuesdays, boozy milkshakes, and two happy hours (Tuesday-Sunday, 4-6 p.m., and 9 p.m-close).

Grand Fare Market Reopens July 27
After an unfortunate flameout last winter resulting from a bit of over-ambition, Grand Fare Market (3265 Grand Ave., Oakland) is set to reopen next week. The 4,500-square-foot space will still have cheese, charcuterie, and oysters, but the layout will be simpler, with more room for seating. Brothers & Sisters floral shop will gain its first physical location inside, and there will be tons of stuff from regional specialty companies, like INNA Jam, Rustic Bakery, Blue Bottle, Spindrift Soda, The Pasta Shop, and Three Twins Ice Cream. Hopefully, this version sticks, because it seemed pretty great the first time around.

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