The Mansion on Sutter, a new hotel in the historic Payne Mansion in Lower Pacific Heights, is poised to open this October. Its on-site restaurant, 1881, will debut even sooner, likely within the next two weeks.
As we reported in April, entrepreneur Bernard Rosenson and his son have taken over the 15-room property at 1409 Sutter St. between Franklin and Gough streets, which was once one of the city's most expensive Airbnb listings. It's currently being restored to its original glory, with paint, accents, and antique furniture replicating that of the late 1800s.
New restaurant 1881, named for the year the building was constructed, will feature what the owners are billing as California and French-inspired cuisine, as well as an extensive wine program and craft cocktails.
1881 has a strong French background: Rosenson, the mansion's new owner, originally hails from Paris, while 1881's chef Jean-Paul Peluffo and restaurant general manager Pierre Dony come from Nice.
Previously, Peluffo was in charge of culinary operations for the 2001 G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy; for nearly 10 years he served as executive chef at Le Bistro in Walnut Creek, and most recently, oversaw a menu revamp at San Francisco's Le Colonial. He's also participated in several Food Network shows, such as Guy's Grocery Games and Cutthroat Kitchen.
“I have been associated with many enterprises over the years, and none have had the high standards that are in place at 1881," Peluffo said in a statement. "The vision being realized here places the restaurant at the forefront of what is possible with respect to Bay Area fine dining.”
At 1881, the menu will be divided into courses: "To Begin," "From the Garden," "From the Ocean," "From the Farm," and "To Finish." Guests will be able to curate their own menu from each of the course offerings.
Expect to see dishes like a duck confit roll with mango and cilantro salsa, diver-harvested scallops with turmeric leek fondue and kefir lime beurre blanc, Wagyu New York steak with black truffle jus and porcini chips, and banana three ways with ginger bread and butterscotch cream for dessert.
The mansion has seen many iterations over the years, but it began as a home for Theodore Payne and his wife Mary, who is said to have inherited a fortune from her uncle William S. O'Brien to help finance its construction.
O'Brien made his wealth via mining stocks and operating silver mines on the Comstock Lode with partners James Graham Fair, James C. Flood, and John William Mackay as the Consolidated Virginia Mining Company.
Later, the home served as a restaurant, hotel, office space, a YMCA and most recently, a private club.
A representative for Mansion on Sutter said that designer Timothy Quillen is focusing on preserving the historic integrity of the building, which will include ceiling and floor finishes with "historic materials and colors," Victorian and Art Nouveau accessories and furniture, and a collection of 19th- and 20th-century artwork.
1881's dining room can accommodate 90 guests, six at bar seating and 14 on an outdoor patio.
The restaurant will be open nightly from 5:30–10 p.m., with weekend brunch service and high tea to be added once things are up and running.
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