Starbucks Evenings are Bringing Wine and Beer to San Francisco

Imagine if your go-to morning coffee stop transformed into a relaxing place to enjoy drinks and appetizers in the evening. That’s the reality in cities like Seattle, Chicago and Los Angeles, where “Starbucks Evenings” has been rolling out at select Starbucks stores since 2010. The program adds beer, wine and small, tapas-like plates, like truffle macaroni and cheese and parmesan crusted chicken skewers, to the regular Starbucks menu after 4pm. So far only 40 of over 11,000 Starbucks stores in the U.S. participate in Starbucks Evenings, but the company has plans to introduce the program nationwide within the next few years, according to Chief Operating Officer, Troy Alstead. Hoodline recently reported that the Starbucks Evenings will be coming to at least two San Francisco locations as soon as this summer. The Starbucks at 9th & Irving recently completed a major renovation, and has been hinting at the new program on its Facebook page, mentioning plans to introduce a “doggie day” and board game night, in addition to other activities. The location at Fisherman’s Wharf has already applied for a beer and wine license, and similar applications have been filed for Starbucks stores across the state, including Napa, San Mateo, Santa …

Make Your Reservations Now for the Return of The French Laundry

Napa Valley’s famous three-Michelin-starred restaurant, The French Laundry, mysteriously closed its doors just before Christmas to being a lengthy renovation process. The old kitchen has already been completely demolished, and the staff have been temporarily employed at a new pop-up called Ad Lib at the Silverado Resort & Spa. Chef and Restauranteur, Thomas Keller, told Inside Scoop that The French Laundry will finally re-open on April 7, but with a temporary shipping container kitchen, which will keep the restaurant running until the massive renovations are complete. Ad Lib will continue to operate through October to accommodate Silverado’s Frys.com golf tournament. Keller has recruited Chef Michael Sandoval, formerly of Bouchon, to take over at Ad Lib once The French Laundry returns. According to their website, The French Laundry’s historic building was constructed by a Scottish stonemason in 1900 and originally used as a saloon. Later it was converted into a residence, and then a French steam laundry in the 1920s (hence the restaurant’s name). In 1978, Mayor Don Schmitt renovated the building into a restaurant with the help of his wife, Sally. Keller discovered the space in the early 1990s and purchased it in 1994. The much-celebrated French restaurant with tasting …

Lazy Bear: An Elegant Dinner Party Every Night

Once the San Francisco Bay area’s best kept culinary secret, Lazy Bear is now the hottest ticket in the Mission District. What began as a series of underground dinner parties in 2009 became a legitimate dining establishment in August of 2014. Far from a traditional restaurant setting, Lazy Bear offers a “communal dining experience,” where diners sit together at long tables, all enjoying the same tasting menu of about 12 courses plus extras. Twice per night, 40 lucky ticket-holders file into the chic gastropub-style venue for an exclusive dinner party like no other. The festivities begin in the cozy upstairs mezzanine, where diners lounge on couches, enjoying drinks and snacks. Dinner is served downstairs at two communal tables. Each course is explained in detail before a team of waiters quickly pass around plates at designated times. Lazy Bear’s FAQ explains that the dinner party setting means that the pacing of the meal may be different from what diners expect, and that the course explanations “might interrupt your conversation a bit.” Lazy Bear’s communal style dining is designed to foster a more social, energetic atmosphere, where guests share stories while enjoying the modern American menu. Purchasing tickets in advance makes dining less …

Branding Lessons from Vanderpump Rules

Believe it or not, small business owners could learn a lot from the popular reality television program Vanderpump Rules on Bravo. I recently had the opportunity to dine there, and hadn’t realized the degree of care that the co-owner, Lisa Vanderpump, put into the maintenance and care of her own personal brand at the restaurant Sur. Here are a few take-aways that entrepreneurs should keep in mind about managing their own personal brand: • Be Congruent – I had not yet seen the television program when I dined at Sur; afterwards I realized how much effort was put into making sure that every single aspect of service was congruent with the others. All of the staff were extremely attractive, the surroundings were absolutely impeccable, the cuisine itself was the varietals and current specials hot in New York and Paris. In other words, every aspect of the presentation of Sur screams high-end, and this lets them charge a premium. • Be Consistent – Another thing Lisa takes extreme care to do is to present herself consistently. This means that whenever you visit Sur, you are always going to get the same style and experience. This means that when people discuss your …