The neighborhood culinary mini empire is hardly a new concept in the world of restaurant expansion. It has been around for a solid decade or so and its success is dependent on a number of factors: Is there consistency in product, service, and ambiance or three of the obvious elements that can either deem a group successful or put the first, and final, nail in the walk-in box.
Bistro Yoffi, on
According to EaterSF, “Details are still trickling in on this one, but it looks like another growing restaurant group is on its way to establishing a neighborhood mini-empire of sorts: Nate Valentine and Vintage 415 are teaming up once again with Sam Josi and Stryker Scales (Umami, Mamacita, etc.) for a new project in the Bistro Yoffi space at 2231 Chestnut Street. The two parties previously teamed up (rather successfully) down the block in Mamacita, and we’re thinking a change would be good for the (rather attractive) space, which has housed a steadily-declining Bistro Yoffi for the last six-plus years. More details are surely en route…”
Now this particular transformation is close and personal. I sold my restaurant, which occupied that space to Bistro Yoffi gang. For decades before I bought it The Chestnut Bar and Grill had occupied the space and I purchased it out of bankruptcy after The Chestnut had sold to a small group of inexperienced restaurant owners who managed to close it in less than a year.
The importance of this background is that the space has had its problems over time. Aside from a great patio, it’s in need of a complete redo that the landlord’s, I hope, have agreed to. They owe the space and the neighborhood that respect.
But aside from that, the mini empire could save this space of enormous, historic meaning and potential. If you have ever been in one of those neighborhood saloons, that appeal to characters, down on their luck bon vivant, and society swells in suits, chinos or tuxedoes, you have been inside the walls of the old Chestnut Bar and Grill. My mistake when opening it was that I didn’t call the guys at
As the new concept makes its way on
Josi did a great job with his latest property, The Blue Barn. His ability to realize a concept’s fault, as he did at the Barn, and change it before anyone walked too far away, is a tremendous and much needed quality. Nothing is more harmful to a restaurant than an owner who sinks with the ship because he is the only supporter of the concept, ambiance, food and service.
The mini empire, all within a one neighborhood works if the owners can turn on a dime, listen to the customers, offer value and overcome the jinx that some spaces just don’t work. It will be interesting to see the upcoming resurrection.