More into farm-fresh than slow-smoked, San Francisco isn't much of a BBQ town. Aiming to change that, a slew of Southern expats in the local restaurant industry will be stepping up to the picnic plate in the coming months. Take Elizabeth Wells, for example. A native of Montgomery, Alabama who's lived in San Francisco for about ten years now, her craving for "the true flavors of the SouthEast" has not abated. In October, Wells will be opening Southpaw, a Memphis-style BBQ restaurant with an on-site brewery and a fun tagline: "Put a little south in your mouth." Around the corner, the restaurant vets behind Hog & Rocks and Maverick will be opening a Hofbrauhaus-style, counter-service spot inspired by the classic "meat and three" restaurants of the South. And the Marina's got something hot in the slow-cooker too. More on what's in store after the hop.
Southpaw, 2170 Mission Street
'Cue Style: Memphis-born chef David King has helped spread the BBQ gospel to the far reaches of Bangkok and Copenhagen. Now he's working on the Bay Area with a menu mostly inspired by the Memphis-style bbq he was raised on, although Wells insists the Alabama white sauce of her youth must be included. Also in the works: a rooftop garden for extra-fresh seasoning capabilities.
The Hooch: Bar manager Edward Calhoun comes to Southpaw by way of the James Beard Award-winning Herbsaint in New Orleans and, more recently, 25 Lusk here in SF. He'll be heading up a bar program fixed on classic Southern-style cocktails, and American wines, many of them from the South. Ten beers will be available on draft. Some will even be brewed on-site.
Other Particulars: Huge slabs of fallen Claro Walnut form one of the central talking points, a live edge bar. The brewing area is lined with old subway tiles, as skylights overhead and large sliding glass windows allow tons of Mission sunlight to stream into the space.
TBA BBQ Restaurant From the Hog & Rocks Team, 3416 19th Street
'Cue Style: The esteemed Scott Youkilis is working on a menu of Texas-style BBQ infused with local ingredients. This will be a counter-service "meat and three" affair, selling meat by-the-pound with your choice of three sides from a long list of options listed on a chalkboard. Youkilis says breads will be made in-house, and might range from cornbread to classic dinner rolls to hand-formed tortillas.
The Hooch: Co-owner Eric Rubin, who's also part-owner of the locally made Tres Agaves tequila label, will curate a nice stable of "things that come from barrels:" tequilas, whiskeys and such.. Expect ample beer on tap, making gallon pitchers of beer a reality.
Other Particulars: According to Inside Scoop, the boys have brought a 7,000 pound smoker up from Texas. Youkilis also has a deal in place to source a rare crossbreed of pig from Texas: part Red Wattle, part Duroc, for a prized ratio of fat to meat.
ETA: Winter, possibly early Spring of 2012
Cedar Hill, 3242 Scott Street
'Cue Style: Chef-owner and Texas native Jon Rietz has cooked at Restaurant August in New Orleans and Memphis Minnie's, here in SF. He's also working on the build-your-own plate format, but he's looking to span the South with his fare. Everything from fried chicken to gumbo to grillades and grits is fair game. Most ingredients will be locally sourced, but chef is also working with small producers in the South to keep things "as authentic as possible."
The Hooch: Cedar Hill will offer a small, well-priced list of American beer and wine, much of it from the South. They'll also hace two wines on tap along with iconic southern sodas and sweet tea.
Other Particulars: The name "Cedar Hill" recognizes Rietz's childhood family farm in Anderson, Texas. His remodel of the old Noodle Theory space has what he describes as an "industrial farmhouse feel." New sliding glass doors and patio seating create a notable connection to the sidewalk. Further modernization comes from a newly opened-up kitchen and metal-topped bar.
ETA: early October