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SoMa Wining & Dining: In Situ, Wine Down SF Now Open; Oro Raising Funds To Upgrade Mint Plaza Patio

Something new to eat and drink is always in the works South of Market. This week, we have a peek inside two newcomers: In Situ, at the newly-expanded SFMOMA, and Wine Down SF, just down the street at Third and Folsom. We've also got some details on Oro's search for investors, to help bring comfortable outdoor seating to Mint Plaza year-round.

Now Open: In Situ, SFMOMA's Culinary Museum

The lounge at In Situ, featuring a painting called 'Break This Heart' by Rosana Castrillo Díaz. Photo: Eric Wolfinger/SFMOMA

Last fall, SFMOMA announced that when the newly expanded museum reopened, it would be home to In Situ—a culinary museum of sorts, showcasing recreations of iconic dishes from high-profile chefs scattered around the world. With Benu's Michelin-starred chef Corey Lee at the helm, the restaurant is now open on the museum's ground-floor.


As Inside Scoop reported this week, Lee has collaborated with 80 different chefs from around the globe to recreate their dishes, and the rotating menu will feature 15 dishes at a time. The current menu features one hometown favorite, Mission Street Food's Apocalypse Burger, as well as dishes from New York, Brazil, Denmark and France.

Hours are 11am-4pm daily, but will be expanded to 9pm in the future. Reservations for the dining room can be made up to a month in advance, while the lounge (pictured above) is open for walk-ins.

Wine Down SF Now Pouring At Third & Folsom

Wine Down SF owners Sarah Garand (left) and Jaime Hiraishi (right).
Photo: Brittany Hopkins/Hoodline

SoMa's newest wine bar, Wine Down SF, is now softly open at 685 Folsom St.

As we previously reported, wine connoisseurs Sarah Garand and Jaime Hiraishi left their jobs at a local nonprofit to build the type of wine bar they've always wanted to relax at after work. After a couple of years learning the ropes and building out their space, they debuted this week with a selection of local wines and beers on tap, and bites like empanadas, pretzels, cheese and charcuterie to pair.

A full house at the newly opened Wine Down SF.
Photo: Brittany Hopkins/Hoodline

Hours are currently 4-10pm Monday through Wednesday, and 4-11pm Thursday through Saturday. Happy hour, offering $1 off glasses of wine and beer and $5 off carafes and pitchers, runs from 4-6:30pm each day.

To help christen the space, join Wine Down SF this Saturday evening for a grand opening celebration—with happy hour running all night long.

Oro Launches Crowdfunding Campaign For Weatherized Outdoor Patio

Mint Plaza. Photo: Brittany Hopkins/Hoodline

Nine months after debuting at 8 Mint Plaza, upscale restaurant Oro is planning a few improvements. To make them happen, they're seeking investors through a new crowdfunding platform called EquityEats.

As al fresco dining options around the neighborhood are limited, Oro co-owner Timothy Felkner explained that the plan is to use the funds to build an outdoor patio that can be used year-round. While the restaurant's current Mint Plaza patio setup is "nice in nice weather," it's rarely used during dinne,r as heat rises away too quickly to keep patrons warm.

While a design for the upgraded patio hasn't been solidified yet, Felkner says the patio at the Corner Store on Masonic at Geary is a good example of what they're seeking. Its flexible walls can be closed off when it's windy or rainy, but completely opened up when the weather permits.

The Corner Store's outdoor patio, circa 2013. Photo: Kevin Y./Yelp

Felkner and team are also planning to use some of the funds to expand the restaurant's wine program. Diners have been enjoying their selection of higher-end wines, Felkner said, and to make them even more accessible, they're planning to invest in a dispenser that will allow them to pour wine by the glass without air seeping into the bottles.  

The bar at Oro. Photo: Oro/Facebook

Unlike crowdfunding platforms that impose an all-or-nothing fundraising goal, EquityEats is more open ended. Anyone can invest $500 to $10,000 into the campaign, and restaurants can raise a total of $50,000 to $1,000,000. In return, investors receive yearly credit in the form of food, and, depending on the amount they've contributed, cash returns. Oro will receive all that is raised through the campaign, minus a "minuscule percentage" that goes to EquityEats, which is just beginning its West Coast expansion.

Up to 10 percent of the funds raised will also be donated to Episcopal Community Service's Conquering Homelessness through Employment in Food Services (CHEFS) program—one of the reasons they decided to work with EquityEats to raise money for these projects, Felkner noted.

More details on Oro's crowdfunding campaign are available here. Investors are also encouraged to keep an eye on Oro's Facebook page for details on an upcoming investor preview event.

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