Scott Youkilis looks harmless. Hell, he’s downright huggable, with a boyish face and bright smile that belie his serious experience in an industry where bleary eyes, gray pallor, and short fuses are the norm. But with the opening of his third restaurant, the man appears to be quietly taking over the Mission.
The chef-owner at neighborhood favorites Maverick and Hog & Rocks, Youkilis strikes thrice at Hi Lo, where meat, and plenty of it, comes to its delicious demise. On the grill, rabbit and game birds may twirl over 700-degree heat. Meanwhile, a 6,000-pound monster called the “Oyler Pit,” which is capable of swallowing lambs, goats, and up to six suckling pigs whole, smokes large cuts for 12 to 14 hours at a cool 190 degrees.
True to its name, Hi Lo’s team hails from the Bay Area’s most highfalutin establishments. Chef Ryan Ostler lists Boulevard and Range on his resume, while Scott Beattie (of Cyrus fame) and Michael Lazar (author of Left Coast Libations) tag-teamed the bar program with big, juicy drinks designed to slice through all that protein. “Imagine having barbecue sauce all over your hands,” Beattie says. “Do you really want a drink in a tiny coupé glass?”
With top talent putting quality, seasonal ingredients to good use and an order-at-the-counter, meat-by-the-pound scheme, Hi Lo is an exercise in extremes that might balance out just right. As Youkilis explains, “It’s going to be casual and fun, but we’re serious about the food.”
Hi Lo BBQ, 3416 19th Street, 415-874-9921
This article was published in 7x7's March issue. Click here to subscribe.