Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Food & Drinks
Published on April 25, 2024
French Bistro ChouChou Expanding to Castro, Taking Over Former Catch Restaurant Space

It didn't take long to fill one prominent restaurant space in the Castro.

French bistro ChouChou will soon open in the former Catch restaurant space at 2262 Market, which Catch vacated in March after 22 years in the Castro.

Chouchou's original Forest Hill location has been open since 2003, and last year opened a second location in Burlingame.

ChouChou will be opening at 2362 Market St. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline


Hoodline reached out to ChouChou owners Mina Habil and Etemad Eissa but did not receive a response.

Castro residents will recall the longtime, tiny French bistro Bisou across the street, which closed in 2018 after operating for 8 years; and Bisou was owned by chef-owner Nick Ronan, who was an original owner of ChouChou before leaving to open his own restaurant. (Both 'bisou' and 'chouchou' mean 'kiss' in French.)

"We’ve curated a menu that captures the essence of French cuisine, right here in the heart of the Bay Area," ChouChou's website explains. "From the moment you enter, our cozy Parisian-inspired ambiance invites you to experience the artistry of our talented chefs."

Workers have been seen inside the restaurant the past few days preparing the space for opening. An employee, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Hoodline that the restaurant would be opening in a couple of weeks.

Inside ChouChou's Forest Hill location. | Photo: Ranjan P./Yelp


The restaurant's menu includes escargot, duck leg confit Wellington, rack of lamb, boeuf bourguignon, mushroom soufflé, and crème brulée.

Additionally, the restaurant offers a three-course prix fixe menu for $65.

Public records indicate ChouChou is transferring the liquor license from Catch and its owner Sanjay Gujral.

The building was the original home of the NAMES Project, commonly referred to as the AIDS Memorial Quilt. In May 2004, the building was officially designated San Francisco Landmark 241.

In 1993, the quilt had outgrown its space in the Castro and moved to 310 Brannan St. Then in 2000, the NAMES Project Board of Directors elected to move the quilt to Atlanta, Georgia.

A panel from the AIDS Memorial Quilt on display at Catch. | Photo: Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District/Instagram


In 2019, stewardship of the AIDS Memorial Quilt was transferred from the NAMES Project Foundation to the National AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco. In 2020, the AIDS Memorial Quilt was returned to the Bay Area.

A panel of the AIDS Memorial Quilt was displayed at Catch for many years. On a recent visit by a Hoodline reporter, that same quilt section was still on display. At this time, it's unclear if the quilt panel will stay.

The building was also briefly home to San Francisco Supervisor and LGBTQ rights activist Harvey Milk's camera shop Castro Camera from 1978-79 after it was forced to move from its space at 575 Castro St by a rent increase.

The opening of ChouChou comes after a handful of new Castro businesses have opened, including seafood restaurant Fisch & Flore and Chinese restaurant Joyful Garden.

Two more restaurants are on the way including Tacos El Tucán and Bar 49, a new restaurant and bar that Hi Tops alum Colm O'Brien is opening soon in the former Bagdad Café space.

Thanks to Hoodline tipster Andrew N. 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.