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San Francisco

Mission's 'Mealmade' Rebrands As Paleo Restaurant 'Kitava'

No need to hunt down a wooly mammoth in Golden Gate Park; San Francisco's first fully paleo restaurant is coming to a former McDonald's in the Mission.

Jeff Nobbs, formerly of Mealmade at 2011 Mission St. (and 16th), has joined forces with Bryan Tublin to create Kitava.

The co-owners met two years ago when they were in the early stages of creating companies to provide healthy food options. As Nobbs built the delivery service Mealmade, keeping most of the McDonald's décor intact, Tublin built a catering business called Simmer.

"We developed a close business and personal relationship, and often discussed collaborating one day," said Tublin. "Earlier this year we recognized how aligned our visions and food philosophies were, and felt the time was right to combine our complementary businesses."

Kitava will be the first restaurant in the city focused on paleo, gluten-free, and veggie-centric meals from the ground up.

Once renovations are completed later this fall, possibly as early as November, Kitava will be a fast-casual eatery with a menu that offers bowls, salads, small plates, sweets, and drinks (including housemade bone broth).

Kitava will also feature old Mealmade favorites, such as the General Tso's chicken and Monterey calamari, as well as newer items like the Cuban bowl and zoodles (zucchini noodles) & meatballs.

Tublin said that the concept was inspired by traditional cuisines around the world, and they're trying to honor these culinary cultures in a healthy way through the eclectic menu. (Kitava is a Pacific island where researcher Staffan Lindeberg studied the nutritional benefits of the native diet.)

The restaurant will offer kombucha and broth from day one, followed shortly by coffee and tea options. Nobbs and Tublin also plan on eventually offering gluten-free beer, biodynamic wine and cider once they've obtained an ABC license.

The two owners have also begun renovating the interior dining room to make it more friendly than an old fast-food joint. They are still open for business —their kitchen is fully operational, and they're currently servicing catering and delivery clients out of the space.

"We want Kitava to elicit a warming, welcoming, and approachable environment, so we'll be swapping out the old McDonald's stools and tables and adding some greenery and artwork," said Tublin. "The floors, ceiling, and walls will also be given some extra love before we finish."

The old McDonald's decor that remained when Mealmade opened. | Photo: Alisa Scerrato/Hoodline

After the renovations, Tublin said the spot will have seating for roughly 40 in a semi-communal setting. There will be a few tables and banquette seating where groups ranging in size from two to six can dine together, as well as a table that seats eight.

When opening Kitava, the primary objective was to nourish people through healthy food that's sourced consciously.

"Making truly healthy food more accessible is how we hope to have a positive impact on people's lives," he said.

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