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SF Eats: French bakery to open next week in Tenderloin; boba chain plots 3 new SF locations; more

Tea and pastries at Maison Danel. | Photo: Alisa Scerrato/Hoodline
By Alisa Scerrato - Published on February 13, 2020.

Here's the latest in SF Eats. In this edition, a French bakery and tea room is readying to open in the Tenderloin, a bubble tea chain has three new San Francisco locations in the works, and a Hayes Valley Spanish restaurant is calling it quits.

Openings

Tenderloin

Maison Danel (1030 Polk St.)

Danel de Betelu and David de Betelu at Maison Danel. | Photo: Alisa Scerrato/Hoodline

French bakery, cafe and tea room Maison Danel will open its doors at 1030 Polk St. next Tuesday, February 18. 

The new eatery comes from husbands Danel and David de Betelu, who also own Cow Hollow’s Baker Street Bistro. It will serve breakfast, lunch, weekend brunch and afternoon tea, and offer an early-evening "champagne hour" featuring light bites. 

Chef Adrien Chabot, who hails from Paris, will be in charge of the pastries, which include French rarities like religieuses (layered cream puffs with chocolate or mocha pastry cream) and gateau St. Honoré (a cake made with puff pastry, cream puffs, pastry cream and caramelized sugar). More familiar options include croissants and a dozen varieties of macarons. 

The cafe will also be one of the few in SF to offer a full afternoon tea, complete with finger sandwiches, pastries, and for those looking to splash out, champagne and caviar.

Lunch options include duck confit, steak frites, and onion soup, while brunch (weekends, 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) brings croques monsieurs, steak and eggs, seasonal quiches and salads. 

“We wanted to bring an elevated salon experience to San Francisco, where one can enjoy table service without feeling rushed by people hovering about waiting to snatch the table,” Danel said in a statement.

Starting Tuesday, Maison Danel will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., six days a week (closed Mondays).

Financial District

Happy Lemon (99 Drumm St.)

Photo: Zack Lam/Courtesy of Happy Lemon

Tipster Nikki L. informed us that boba chain Happy Lemon will be opening in the former Subway space. But that's not all: it's also plotting outposts at the Salesforce Transit Center (425 Mission St.) and in Mission Bay (1320 Fourth St.)

Established in China in 1996, Happy Lemon operates on a franchise model, with more than 1,500 locations around the world. PR director and franchisee Jasmin Chin could not specify an opening date for the new locations.

Happy Lemon is best known for its "cheese tea," made with a layer of creamy, salted foam. (In 2017, Berkeleyside sampled all seven flavors at the chain's Berkeley location, declaring the classic black tea the winner.) 

In addition to the cheese tea, you'll find all the standard options: milk tea, fruit tea and smoothies, with or without boba. Some locations offer Hong Kong-style egg waffles (known at Happy Lemon as "bubble waffles") as well. 

Closings

Hayes Valley

Barcino (399 Grove St.)

Photo: Kelly Puleio/Courtesy of Barcino

After nine years and two concepts, the Absinthe Group is pulling out of 399 Grove St. The space was home to Louisiana-inspired restaurant Boxing Room for many years, but after some struggles, it reconcepted to Spanish eatery Barcino in 2017. 

As Eater SF notes, Barcino suffered a blow last year after coworking company Spacious, which used its space during the day, pulled out of San Francisco after facing pushback from the Planning Department.

It seemed like the Absinthe Group (which is also behind neighboring Absinthe and Arlequin Wine Merchant, as well as SoMa's Bellota) might hold on to it for a third concept, but Eater confirms the group is pulling out for good.

Barcino’s last day will be this Saturday, February 15. After that, the Absinthe Group will focus on its revamp of Hayes Street's former Arlequin Cafe, which will become a fast-casual eatery called Arbor.

There's no opening date for Arbor yet, but fans of Arlequin Cafe's popular back patio should be happy to hear that it will once again be open to diners.


Thanks to tipster Nikki L. If you've seen something new (or closing) in the neighborhood, text your tips and photos to (415) 200-3233, or email [email protected] If we use your info in a story, we'll give you credit.

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