After a brief one-day closure, Kezar Bar & Restaurant (900 Cole St.) reopened its doors today to debut a new chef and fully revamped menu.
Changes started at the three-decade-old bar and restaurant last year, when Bacon Bacon owner Jim Angelus became a partner in the business alongside Steve Schick, Kezar's original owner.
Angelus, who lives in the neighborhood with his wife and children, said that he feels fortunate to become a part of this longtime business, just a short walk from his "day job" at the original Bacon Bacon location at Frederick and Ashbury streets.
"I love this neighborhood," he said. "I'm excited to be making some changes [to the new venture] to update it."
Kezar has been going strong for decades in Cole Valley, but Angelus said that he and Schick decided to make a few updates to reflect the current face of the neighborhood.
One of those changes was adding a kid's menu, which they did a few months ago. Another was to bring on a Point of Sale (POS) computer system, instead of having staff use old-school handwritten tickets.
Finally, Angelus had the idea to bring on a new chef: Lacie Smith, who is also his neighbor and good friend. (Last year, Smith held a plant-based burger pop-up at Bacon Bacon.)
While Smith has cooked on the line at Boulevard and Villa Taverna in San Francisco, Angelus said this is her first head chef job, and he's pleased to be a part of that.
"I have faith in her," he said. "The crew is like a family here, and I feel like they are letting me and Lacie into their family."
While Kezar's new menu retains several customer-favorite items, such as the burgers and thick-cut fries, others, like the popular potato pancakes and chicken enchiladas, have been revamped.
Smith will also introduce about 10 new menu items, including a "loaded" cauliflower appetizer. New entrees will include sea bass with crispy rice, bok choy and pineapple relish; pollo al mattone (chicken cooked under a brick); and a vegetarian "ratatouille" entrée, which Angelus describes as "a veggie lasagna without the starch."
Starting in April, Angelus plans to open Kezar on weekends for brunch. He said Schick often refers to the neighborhood as "Brunch Valley," due to popular brunch spots Zazie, Padrecito and Bambino's Ristorante.
"With spots doing so well around here, you've got to up your game," Angelus said.