Meet SoMa's Brickhouse Cafe, Serving Loyal Regulars For 15 Years

Brickhouse Cafe has been in SoMa since before there were even many residents in the area, and owners Kim Kobasic and Fred Reeves have nurtured it into a neighborhood favorite that's now celebrating 15 years in business.

The funky, eclectic decor—with its cow skulls, branches, mounted fish and funny signs—is a contrast to so many sleek, chic, modern SoMa spots nowadays. But it reveals the owners' down-to-earth personalities and do-it-yourself attitude. "It had to do with us not having any money to start with," Kobasic says. Much of the decor was donated by friends and family. "I think a lot of people do appreciate that it’s comfortable," she adds. "It has become a home away from home for a lot of people."

Their customers range from couples and families to tech types and hipsters, Kobasic says. Their proximity to AT&T Park means they get plenty of pre-game baseball fans, too, but they're not a big after-game party spot, even though they have a full bar. The get primarily locals in the evenings and on weekends, and have a loyal crowd of regulars.

Many come for the excellent wild salmon, which Reeves catches himself. "A buddy owns a boat, and I’m the deck boss and he’s the skipper," Reeves says. "It’s called the Potential. When we go out, we’re out for about five to six weeks at a time.” They pull in about 150,000 pounds per season, most of which is sold to market, but Reeves keeps aside about 5,000 pounds for the restaurant.

Photo: Brickhouse Cafe

At the start of the season, when they're still testing out the boat, Reeves sends freshly-caught salmon to Kobasic for some lucky customers. "He’ll send me the super fresh stuff right off the boat,” she says. "I go pick it up 12 hours later and serve it right up." The rest of the catch is flash-frozen in salt water within 12 hours, so it tastes fresh all year. But don't dally—they usually run out around April.

Another Brickhouse specialty is American Wagyu beef from the Bar R cattle ranch in eastern Washington, which Reeves' dad, Jerry Reeves, owns. He was the head of the animal science department at Washington State University, and one of only a handful of farmers who can claim to produce American Wagyu. "He was a pioneer in bringing American Wagyu to the public in the early 1980s," Kobasic says.

Photo: Brickhouse Cafe

In addition to the salmon and Wagyu burger, Brickhouse is known for its brunch and specialties like the fried-chicken sandwich. Chef Diego Poot is "amazing at executing our whims," Kobasic says. All meat is roasted on-site, and a popular happy hour from 3–7pm Monday–Saturday features pulled pork nachos and a pitcher of beer for $23, among other deals.

Photo: Brickhouse Cafe

Brickhouse began in 1998 as a video store with a coffee shop in front, Reeves tells us. He and a childhood friend opened it after the previous occupant, clothing store Jeremys, moved near South Park. The mirrors behind the bar are from the old dressing rooms.

While they ran the video store, they saved their money to build out a restaurant. They got their permit on Feb. 1st, 2000, and their liquor license in 2001. They mostly catered to a commuter crowd, Kobasic recalls. "Very few people lived around here," she says. "It was really sketchy at night at that time."

Snooping around in some city data, we noticed a couple of other business names recently filed at the same address as Brickhouse Cafe. Kobasic and Reeves say they have plans for a couple of side businesses that will be related to the industry, but it's too soon to talk about that. "It will not affect the Brickhouse," Kobasic promises.

In addition to running the restaurant, Kobasic is extremely involved in the South Beach Mission Bay Business Association, which promotes and advocates for member businesses and works with the city to build a stronger community. She and Reeves also just got married on Aug. 24th, after being together for 17 years, so give them a hearty congratulations the next time you see them.

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Meet soma s brickhouse cafe serving loyal regulars for 15 years