Big-Ticket Summer: S.F.'s Pricey New Restaurants

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Everyone who writes about food in San Francisco has spent the past year talking about how the city's restaurant scene is downscaling. Evidence: The proliferation of street carts and food trucks, pizza and burgers, and sandwiches of every shade and stripe, not to mention the migration of chefs to Oakland. Like everyone else, I figured the shift was irreversible, caused by both the recession and the rising cost of running a restaurant in San Francisco.

Pop-ups, trucks, food carts, and burger-sandwich restaurants do keep opening up at a rate that's almost impossible to track. But looking at the slate of ambitious, big-money, restaurants opening this summer, I'm doubting the accuracy of what has become common wisdom. Here's what I've got on the list:

Just opened: Thermidor (from the Spork team), Prospect (Boulevard team), Wayfare Tavern (chef-owner: Tyler Florence), and the newly upscaled Saison (chef-owner: Joshua Skenes)

In the pipeline: Hog and Rocks (Maverick team), Benu (star: Corey Lee, former chef de cuisine of French Laundry), Plum (Ubuntu's Jeremy Fox plus Coi's Daniel Patterson), Bar Agricole (well, that one's been in the pipeline since Joan Rivers' third facelift)

Ever-so-slightly more modest: Comstock Saloon, Sons and Daughters, Skool, the forthcoming Black Sheep, and three pizza restaurants ― Zero Zero (from Picco Pizzeria's Bruce Hill), Ragazza (from Gialina's Sharon Ardiana), Una Pizza Napoletana (from star pizzaiolo Anthony Mangieri)

I know home prices in San Francisco are starting to rise again, but there aren't many other signs that the recession is ebbing. What the hell is going on here?

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Thermidor - CLOSED

8 Mint Plaza, San Francisco, CA

Category: Restaurant

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