Mission Beyond 24th: The Next Big Thing?
The Mission District is large and sprawling, and pockets of it have been gentrifying over the past couple of decades. Back in the mid-'90s, Bi-Rite Market and Slanted Door ushered in a wave of new development that created today's Valencia Corridor, and turning both that part of the Inner Mission (9c) the Mission Dolores (5m) into hotbeds of activity, and therefore driving up values. More recently, we've seen the growth of a foodie empire in another part of the Inner Mission, centered in the 20s east of Mission Street, and demand seems to be climbing in that area. But until lately, there's been little reason to cast your eye beyond 24th Street. Until now.
Chef Manny Torres Gimenez comes with serious chef cred, having previously worked at some of our most esteemed restos: SPQR, Coi and Quince. Back in 2011, Gimenez took a daring step, starting a pop-up in a tiny, utterly overlooked little restaurant on Mission just below 24th, Mr. Pollo. Bringing his fine dining sensibilities, he began to turn out a $20 tasting menu featuring produce fresh from the farmer's market daily. The highlights were the arepas, a dish from his native Venezuela. Last year, he hopped a few doors down to Roxy's Cafe, rolling out a new tasting menu and converting yet another moribund business ("a place even the flies weren't going to anymore," in his words) into a desirable dining experience. At Roxy's Gimenez is focusing on Italian fare, albeit with his own Venezuelan twist, including some gnocchi made with yuca instead of potatoes that are out of this world.
Last month, Gimenez happened to be walking past the long-troubled and often-shuttered Palace Family Steak House at Mission and Cesar Chavez. The last owner had taken the reins about a year previously, but couldn't make it work. Gimenez saw him putting the For Rent sign in the window, and nabbed the space promptly. At Palace, Gimenez will continue his tradition of affordable luxury: A $50 tasting menu of oysters, lobster, quail eggs and steak au poivre, as well as 8 oz. of Snake River Farm wagyu ribeye for $30 -- which retails for as much as five times that. He's grappling with inspections this week, but the restaurant should be open full-time by Saturday, so nab your reservations now.
If Gimenez sees potential in this part of the Inner Mission, how long until others do as well? If you're interested in getting in to what may be the next new hot hood, contact me, and I'll be happy to help you explore options living in that part of the Mission District, or anywhere else.