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Five New Restaurants to Check Out This Month

The new oyster bar at Hog Island Oyster Bar. Photo: Paul Dyer Photography.

Looking for somewhere new to eat? For the next couple months, prepare to be very, very busy as the city positively blows up with openings. Here’s your monthly cheat sheet of five brand-new places that recently opened around town, and we hope you like barbecue.

4505 Burgers & BBQ

Ryan Farr and his wife Cesalee have opened their brick-and-mortar burger and barbecue spot in one heck of a location: the former Brother-in-Laws/Da 'Pitt on Divisadero. It’s a special spot in the neighborhood, with a wood-fired pit that contributes a smell as important as the wafting aroma of Popeye’s to the area (Farr also has his Southern Pride smoker going full-tilt). You can get ribs, pulled chicken, brisket, and more, by the plate and pound. There are some quality sides, and salads and sandwiches too, and folks are especially excited for the late-night burger window open on the weekends until 2:00 a.m., uh huh. There will be a second phase of the project, with a container coming to the lot and a bunch more seating, but for now, find a spot at the picnic tables or get your meats (and beer!) to go. Hours are Sunday -Thursday 10:30 a.m. –10:00 p.m. and Friday –Saturday 10:30 a.m.–11:00 p.m. (and burger window until 2:00 a.m. on the weekend). 705 Divisadero St.


Big 4

With the renovation of the Scarlet Huntington Hotel, it looked like the iconic Big 4 was in danger of being “updated,” but we can all let out a collective big sigh that it has reopened with minimal changes. Hallelujah. Ty is still behind the bar (with a pocket full of jokes), the white tablecloths remain, and the grand piano too. Chef Gloria Ciccarone-Nehls has moved on, and the new chef is Kevin Scott, whose new menu will launch May 23 (there’s an interim menu for now). The cocktail list has some new additions mingling among the classics, so cozy on up to the bar and celebrate the return of this beloved Nob Hill classic. Hours for now are breakfast and dinner daily from 6:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.–10 p.m., with lunch service launching later on. 1075 California St. 

Hog Island Oyster Bar

Guess who just doubled their space at the Ferry Building Marketplace? And there’s a whole new look too, with plenty of nautical references, three bars, plus communal tables. One constant is the view, but there are more ways to enjoy it now. The new chef is Christopher Laramie, who has expanded the menu way beyond its chowder and grilled cheese favorites (that’s what happens when you get a fryer): look for an oyster po’boy, fried smelts, and steak frites. Oyster happy hour will continue on Mondays and Thursdays, don't you worry. There’s also a full bar, courtesy of Scott Beattie and Michael Jack Pazdon of St. Helena’s Goose & Gander, with cocktails made with local and small-batch spirits. Hours are Monday - Thursday 11:30 a.m.–9:00 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m.– 10:00 p.m., Saturday 11:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m., and Sunday 11:00 a.m.– 9:00 p.m. 1 Ferry Building.

Schroeder's

Another SF icon that got a big redo is this 120-year-old downtown German beer hall, with new owners and quite a new look too (although the Herman Richter murals remain in place). While it’s definitely a beer hall, the space has a sense of modernity as well (complete with blond wood, Tolix metal chairs, and check out the illuminated glass shelving with beer steins). You can order cocktails from bar director Claire Jane Hunter at the original rosewood bar, cicerone Rich Higgins is behind the quality beer selection (15 on tap), and the wine list is from Mauro Cirilli of Press Club—yeah, people who know what they’re doing. Prost to all of it. Chef Manfred Wrembel (Plum, Incanto) is doing a Cali spin on German dishes (e.g. spätzle with corn, tomato, and ricotta), with some meaty entrées (yes, there’s Wiener schnitzel) and the bar menu features a dry-aged cheeseburger. Hours are Monday - Friday, 11:30 a.m.–10:00 p.m.and Saturday 5:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m. 240 Front St.

Smokestack at Magnolia Brewing Company

What’s that smoky smell in Dogpatch? Why, it’s the restaurant-half of owner Dave McLean’s big Magnolia Brewing project that has come to fruition. Smokestack is a barbecue-centric concept with Dennis Lee of Namu Gaji mastering the kitchen’s two smokers and wood-fired grill pits. Look for nondenominational barbecue, which means if you come there looking to pick a fight over the way you remember barbecue ribs tasting in Kansas City, well, you’ve come to the wrong place. There are seven meats available (sold by the pound) and sides (ranging from burnt-end beans to kimchi and pickles), and the full bar will help quench your thirst with smoky mezcal and other spirits. Beer galore, natch (look for some special Magnolia brews too). And the group-friendly space is really a looker, with lots of touches that make it feel like it has been there for some time. Opening hours for now are daily 4:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m., with lunch coming soon. 2505 3rd St

Marcia Gagliardi is the founder of the weekly tablehopper e-column; subscribe and get more food news and gossip at tablehopper.com. Follow her on Twitter: @tablehopper.