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Hayes Valley's Latest Restaurant Boom Proves It Isn't Just Condos and Boutiques

A valley peaks.

 Petit Crenn's Hayes Street facade.

 

"Everybody knows everybody, and people are just so kind,” says Dominique Crenn. “It’s like a little village.” Is she referring to a bucolic town in her native Brittany? Non: The chef is explaining the appeal of Hayes Valley, where she opened ❶ Petit Crenn (609 Hayes St.) in early August. In debuting her Brittany-inspired restaurant, a whitewashed room serving a five-course family-style prix fixe menu at two nightly seatings, Crenn became part of the latest influx of restaurateurs who in the coming months will make a home in the neighborhood.

In December, former Haven and Plum chef Kim Alter will open the long-awaited ❷ Nightbird (330 Gough St.), a tasting menu–focused restaurant, and ❸ Linden Room, a tiny craft-cocktail bar that will share the same roof. Likewise much anticipated is ❹ Cala (149 Fell St.), the stateside debut of prolific Mexico City restaurateur Gabriela Cámara. Though technically more in the realm of the Civic Center than Hayes Valley, the contemporary Mexican restaurant and taco stand will undoubtedly bring more attention to the area when it opens in mid-September.

Half a block away in the 100 Van Ness apartment high-rise, the Hi Neighbor gang (Stones Throw, Trestle) will debut ❺ Corridor and Corridor Cafe this winter. The former will serve upscale food in a fast-casual environment; the latter will offer coffee and gourmet sandwiches. They’re among a handful of projects that will be housed in the neighborhood’s ever-swelling number of luxury condo buildings.

Parked at the bottom of 400 Grove, ❻ Little Gem will embrace both fast-casual dining and dietary restrictions: When it opens in November, it will offer neither table service nor gluten, dairy, or refined sugar. The new 450 Hayes development will get a casual spot from Energizer Bunny restaurateur ❼ Adriano Paganini (Belga, Super Duper Burger); details are scarce save for a projected winter opening date.

Meanwhile, 8 Octavia will be home to ❽ True Cup, a sake bar from the folks behind the Hayes Valley shop True Sake. Scheduled to open in November, it will offer 150 different bottles—one of the country’s largest sake selections—and Western-style food like chicken mousse and pommes frites in authentic sake “one cups.”

Village life, in other words, is hopping.

 

Originally published in the October issue of San Francisco

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