Hayes Valley is about to add another restaurant to its growing culinary landscape.
Muka, the dessert and wine bar currently located at 1345 Bush Street, is in the beginning stages of making its H.V. debut at 370 Grove (currently Blue Muse).
According to Muka's owner, Jean-luc Kayigire, the new Hayes Valley location will replace its Polk Gulch spot, where the wine bar got its start. For a few months, Jean-luc will run both incarnations of his restaurant, but when the lease is up at the Muka on Bush, he will focus his efforts on the Muka on Grove.
“It was my dream to be in Hayes Valley,” he admitted to us. “Before I opened the Muka on Bush Street, I wanted to open in Hayes Valley. That was the first location I looked into, but it got complicated because I didn’t have enough money to open up the location in the neighborhood. I told myself, ‘One day when I have enough money, I will move back to Hayes Valley.’”
Jean-luc will take over ownership of his Hayes Valley dream locale in May, and plans to open the finished product to the public sometime in June.
With this fresh start, Jean-luc will freshen up Muka’s menu, but keep the same concept — a focus on dessert and wine, with the addition of some small plates like sliders and fries. Jean-luc expressed his hesitation about competing with some of the more established Hayes Valley heavyweights, such as Absinthe, but his strategy is for people to dine at these restaurants and come to Muka for vino and sweets.
“People go fill up elsewhere then come [to us] to eat simple food and enjoy a nice glass of wine or a cocktail,” he said.
Refining the menu isn't the only change Jean-luc has in store. He also plans to repaint, add new décor and tables, and rip out the carpet to unearth the hardwood floors underneath. It will resemble the existing Bush Street Muka location:
While Jean-luc prepares for his future at 370 Grove, Sidney Wong prepares to close up Blue Muse, a business he established in Hayes Valley 30 years ago. The French and New American eatery was originally opened on Gough Street in the 1980s, but moved to its current and final location five years ago.
Rest assured, Sidney won’t be gone from the neighborhood for good; he’ll just focus his time and energy on his other Hayes Valley restaurant, Sage Cafe (340 Grove).
"We're going to change the menu a little bit," Sidney mentioned. "We're going to improve it. We're so busy that we were thinking of getting some new dishes that could be handed out faster."
Sidney, who's used to running two to three restaurants at a time, is looking forward to the newfound freedom, but still remaining part of the community he knows so well.
"We still have [the Sage Cafe]," he said. "I'm going to make it easier on myself by, because running two restaurants is too much."
Sidney thinks Jean-luc and Muka will do famously with Hayes Valley's new youthful demographic.
"I told him that he’s a young, outgoing guy and that he will fit in with the community now since there's a lot of young, outgoing people here," he said.
As June approaches, we will keep you posted as Muka's move to our neck of the woods approaches.
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