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The Opening Wire

Carolyn Alburger | March 18, 2013 | Story Restaurants

Winter is generally a slow time for restaurant openings in San Francisco, but spring is a much different story. Just look at what's gone on in the past week: In addition to Padrecito and Hutong, there has been a whole slew of new spots opening shop:

1) Nopa got its own edition of the Mission’s Bi-Rite Market (550 Divisadero) on Wednesday of last week. You’ll notice a lot of things are the same, although the new one provides about 500 square feet of extra width, so it’ll be easier to navigate the aisles when it’s crowded. There are a few other small differences as well: The ice creamery is integrated into the market, as opposed to across the street; and cheese can be cut-to-order at the cheese counter. Another bonus: they’ve worked out a deal with the DMV, located about 300 steps away on Fell Street, to offer parking for $2 and hour from 5 to 10 p.m. every night. You can call the market to get the entrance code.

2) At the beginning of the month, Charles Phan opened a Cajun themed restaurant and bar called South dining at the new SF Jazz Center in Hayes Valley. Now, Phan’s ventures into all things New Orleans continue at Hard Water, which opened a little over a week ago, just steps away from La Mar on Pier 3. Seating here is all at a 15-seat, U-shaped bar with additional bar-style seating lining the walls and looking out the windows. Olle Lungberg, Phan’s long-time, go-to architect, designed the restaurant in his signature industrial style and is also a partner. As expected, bar manager Erik Adkins has rolled out a solid program of New Orleans-inspired classic cocktails, and the menu features an extensive raw bar, cornmeal-crusted alligator, and fried chicken.

3) Last week, I dropped into the new Jewish deli Shorty Goldstein’s (126 Sutter Street) with some San Francisco colleagues. Along the lines of Wise Sons, Shorty’s has had a line out the door since day one, and the menu is very much that of a Bay Area (as opposed to New York) deli. Think local, organic ingredients, and everything made in house (just about the only thing that isn’t created in the deli’s tiny kitchen is the bread). We tried the tongue sandwich, latkes, and—of course— the pastrami, which definitely falls on the smokier side of things. My predicted sleeper order is the chicken matzo ball soup, which, despite a less than perfect matzoh ball (too mushy), has a wonderful grandma-style chicken broth.

4) Our city’s chocolate infatuation (See: Chocolate Lab, Dandelion Chocolate) continues with the re-opening of Charles Chocolates (535 Florida Street) in the Mission. GrubStreet has details on all of the products in the retail case.

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