This week in food news, State Bird Provisions is expanding into a next door space that had been slated to become Hapa Ramen, Hapa Ramen is opening in the Mission instead, a new chef comes on board at Hi Lo, and new bar Virgil's Sea Room opens next door to El Rio.
First up, the Chronicle reported this a.m. on the expansion of State Bird Provisions into the vacant next door space at 1527 Fillmore Street. The story is that Hapa Ramen chef Richie Nakano, who's held the space in preparation for a brick-and-mortar restaurant for almost two years now (since before State Bird even existed), ultimately decided that he needed something bigger. Nakano is instead moving to an as-yet-undisclosed space on Mission Street in the "high teens," and State Bird will close on August 10 for a couple of weeks to knock out the wall between the spaces, add a new bathroom, and bring in a couple more tables. [Chron]
Next there's the news that four-month-old Hi Lo BBQ has had a chef shuffle, with Ryan Ostler already out and Hog & Rocks chef Robin Song coming on board. Hog & Rocks and Hi Lo are both owned by Scott Youkilis (who also owns nearby Maverick), and the menu is expected to change shortly. Also changing is the service setup, with the counter ordering going away, and full service dining set to begin June 24. [Chron]
And lastly, there's a new bar in the La Lengua section of the Mission, next door to El Rio in the former Naps III space. It's called Virgil's Sea Room, and it just opened last Saturday, and the team behind it includes former Nickie's bartender Gillian Fitzgerald, Lila Thirkield who owns the Lexington Club, and Tom Temprano, better known as DJ Carnita of Hard French. The concept is a cozy neighborhood hangout, and their menu of signature cocktails are all inspired by "local heroes," including one dedicated to Frank Chiu, and one for the Brown Twins.