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Down Mexico Way, Tres Agaves' Eric Rubin Talks About His Latest Project

So, although I'm down in Mexico working on an article, I was able to spend a day tasting tequila with Tres Agaves' Eric Rubin. In addition to Tres Agaves, Rubin is also involved in a new Mission District restaurant that he's opening with Maverick chef/owner Scott Youkilis. Called Hog & Rocks, it's slated to open next month on the corner of San Carlos and 19th streets. Here's the scoop, straight from Guadalajara.

Why Hog & Rocks?
Well, it's a neighborhood bar and grill but we're going to be serving different proscuittos and hams. I'm from Tennessee, and we'vee got the guy who won Best Ham in the Tennessee State Fair 15 out of 21 years curing ham for us, using agave syrup instead of sugar. And then "rocks" because of the drinks. Scott came up with the name and it stuck.

What's up with the bar?
The whole 70-seat restaurant is going to sit in bar seats, whether you're at the bar or not. The bar itself is being made by Zarin Gollogly, a true craftsman whose bars Scott and I fell in love with in Manhattan. It turns out that he recently relocated to San Francisco.

Since you're in charge of the bar program, tell me more about that.
It's going to be all the drinks people recognize from the past. We're going to let people rediscover whiskey sours, Tom Collins, daiquiris, the Tequila Sunrise, all made with natural ingredients. We're going to use housemade agave sodas instead of tonic water. The house cocktails we're thinking will be priced at $6, and every day we‚ll do three or four cocktails by the pitcher.

What was the impetus for this?

It just seemed to make sense. The Mission has a lot of places doing a great job with the high-end cocktails like Beretta, Elixir and Range. We felt there was room for something between that and your everyday bar.

What about the food?

Fish and chips and anything Scott thinks is bar-food appropriate.

Is agave a cure-all?
[laughs] Well, it's kind of the cure-all for my life.

How did you and Scott hookup?
We met online. [laughs] No, seriously, we just met from him coming into Tres Agaves on game days [Scott's brother, Kevin, plays for the Boston Red Sox]. I really love Scott's comfort food sensibilities.

Is the Mission oversaturated?
I think it's got this beautiful, vibrant, eclectic mix of places—from those being considered for James Beard Awards to spots run by old Latino families just doing their thing—and the'‚re all accepted. I love it.