Way back in January of 1998, Absinthe opened its doors at 398 Hayes Street. That means this month the restaurant and bar celebrates its 15th anniversary — in style, naturally.
As Absinthe puts it on their website, the Hayes Valley of 1998 was very different from the neighborhood we call home today.
"At the time, [owner Bill Russell-Shapiro] took a gamble on the Hayes Valley neighborhood. Early pioneers like Patty Unterman of the Hayes Street Grill and Richard Hilkert Booksellers endured surrounding homelessness and drug problems for decades. Hayes Valley did not begin to sprout until the late '90's with the opening of businesses, like Absinthe, that braved the discouragement, and bet that the earthquake damaged freeway would stay down. He is very proud to be a part of the Hayes Valley revitalization, which has now become a haven for small local shops and cuisine."
In recognition of the 15-year milestone, Absinthe has added a number of special items to its menu. From now until January 20th, there's a Bouillabaisse with monkfish, bass, mussels, shrimp, crab, and squid. From the 22nd until February 3rd, it's offering "Le Cassoulet d'Absinthe," with duck, pork shoulder, and sausage. And for dessert, "Absinthe birthday cake." There will also be 10 different 1998-vintage wines available.
Congratulations to Bill, Manager Eric Vreede, Chef Adam Keough, and the entire Absinthe crew on fifteen great years in Hayes Valley!