Northside SF  

October '09

The Tablehopper:
Yet another pizza place opens while Italian stalwart, Antica Trattoria, leaves

By Marcia Gagliardi

Tony Gemignani of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana has opened his latest pet project, Tony’s Coal-Fired Pizza & Slice House (1556 Stockton Street, 415-835-9888) in the former Palermo Delicatessen/La Spiaggia location. It’s a tiny space with mostly take-out items, but it has quite the list o’ options: coal-fired pizzas (yup, the only ones in NorCal – an original 15-inch tomato pie is $15, and a white pie with clam and garlic will be available on Fridays and Saturdays for $23), there’s New York-style pizza by the slice ($3.50 for plain cheese), Sicilian by the square ($3 for cheese), and Romana pizza by the meter (¼ meter is $8), which you can customize with three ingredients.

And I haven’t even gotten to the sandwiches: there will be Chicago-style Italian beef sandwiches, seven kinds in all, with beef that has been slow roasted with rosemary, garlic and oregano in the coal-fired oven. Or you can get a calzone or a stromboli, and there will be baked ziti in the winter. And then there are the New York deli-style sandwiches, ranging from capicollo grinders to a chicken parm wedge to pastrami on rye. You can also order your own combo, with meats sliced on an Italian hand-cranked slicer – and the pastrami, corned beef and rosemary turkey are all made in-house. Last, there are chocolate egg cream sodas (using Fox’s U Bet and Seltzer Sisters soda) and Gino’s Italian ices (lemon or cherry). Open Wednesday through Sunday 12 p.m.–11 p.m.

Back in March, I heard word that Ruggero Gadaldi was potentially selling his Russian Hill restaurant, Antica Trattoria (2400 Polk Street, 415-928-5797). After months of waiting for an official update, he called to let me know the restaurant is now in escrow, and if the deal goes through, the potential new owners are Klaus and Albert Rainer of Downtown’s Cafe Metropol. (Since the ABC is moving slowly these days, it could be at least another 60 days before Gadaldi decides to close up shop.)

Gadaldi is sad to think of ending his 15-year run at the restaurant, since he was one of the few in San Francisco at that time to focus on regional Italian cuisine, and it helped to establish him in the local dining scene. He said it was becoming difficult to dedicate the time he wants at his other establishments (hotspots Beretta and Delarosa, and Pesce, also on Polk) because Antica was set up to really demand his full attention. As far as what the Rainers have in store, Gadaldi tells me they want to focus on Alpine cuisine, with a variety of beers. The working name is Leopold’s (subject to change), and a communal table and casual atmosphere are what’s to come.

At last, it has been revealed what is going into the former Plumpjack Cafe space: Luce’s chef, Dominique Crenn will open her own project, Atelier Crenn (3127 Fillmore Street) this December. Crenn will offer a modern French prix-fixe menu (three courses for $55, five for $65, and a tasting menu for $95) that will allow diners to pick and choose dishes. Reportedly Nancy Nielsen is designing the space in a European sensibility, with 40 seats in the dining room and 20 in the private dining room. Crenn will stay on at Luce during the transition.

The Bacchus Management Group’s latest restaurant, Café des Amis (2000 Union Street, 415-563-7700) started its weekend brunch service (10 a.m.–3 p.m.), with items like a croque-madame, duck confit hash, and buckwheat crêpes with brûléed bananas.

Marcia Gagliardi also writes a popular weekly e-column about the S.F. dining scene; subscribe for free at where you can also find her new book. Got a hot tip? E-mail

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