SoMa is about to get a little more Latin flavor on January 15th, with the opening of new restaurant and live music venue Calle 11/Del Encanto (1501 Folsom St.) The new project comes from Leticia Luna, the former owner of the Mission's Roccapulco, and executive chef Christopher Caraballo.
Part Puerto Rican eatery, part nightclub, the vibrantly painted former Paradise Lounge will offer three stories, each with a different feel (and equipped with its own bar).
The first floor will have a large dance space, with space for live bands and salsa dancing. Upstairs, visitors will find a jazz club-inspired space with a grand piano, and on the third floor, an outdoor seating area with fire pits, a lounge area, and VIP seating.
The result is "a one-stop place for food and entertainment," Caraballo said. "Instead of having to drive somewhere else to relax after dinner, you can just stay here."
Diners won't have to miss the show, either: all the music from the ground floor will be patched in to the TVs on the second and third floors, "so you can enjoy the show everywhere in the space."
The plan is for Calle 11/Del Encanto to be open for dinner on Thursdays (4-10pm), adding live music and salsa dancing to the mix on Fridays and Saturdays (4pm-midnight). Sundays will feature brunch (10am-4pm), and then dinner service from 5-10pm.
Cabarallo, a native Puerto Rican and the former chef of Borinquen Soul in Oakland, said he was most excited about the brunch menu. “We’re gonna have traditional breakfast items, as well as the food I used to enjoy at my grandmother's house in Puerto Rico."
That includes chicken soup (which he says is a great hangover cure), and his mother's rice recipe. "I'm happy to be able to compliment my mom's cooking here," he said.
As for drinks, the focus will be on rum, with cocktails like mojitos and rum slushies, along with bottled beer.
Luna, who was born and raised in San Francisco, has a long history in SoMa, where her parents ran a deli at 7th and Harrison beginning in 1979.
However, she experienced some pushback from the local leather community when she took over the Paradise Lounge two and half years ago, as the building used to be the home of the iconic leather bar Febe's, which ran from 1966–1986.
To pay tribute, Luna decided to install a "leather" booth dedicated to the history of the neighborhood's leather culture, as well as a plaque acknowledging Febe's.
"I wanted to make sure to honor the heritage of the leather community," she said.
On Thursday night, Caraballo and Luna held a soft opening of Calle 11/Del Encanto, which they said went well. "We didn't eve have our outside lights on, and it was packed," said Luna.
A few of the neighborhood's other bar and restaurant owners dropped by, and "they were excited for us," Caraballo said. "It’s nice to feel welcome to the neighborhood."
For now, Calle 11/Del Encanto is gearing up for its first service: brunch on Sunday, January 15th.
"It's a place for everyone—different ages, different demographics," said Luna. "We want it to be a relaxing space where people can sit back and enjoy themselves."
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