Michael Chiarello, perpetual reality competition show runner-up (to Geoffrey Zakarian on Next Iron Chef Season 4 and Rick Bayless on Top Chef Masters Season 1), is opening a second California restaurant a safe distance away (both conceptually and geographically) from his Bottega Ristorante in Napa Valley.
He’s planning a 75-seat Spanish restaurant on San Francisco’s Pier 5, with a lease signed in the ex-LaFitte space. The new venture is scheduled to open Spring 2013, in what might be the quickest lease-to-opening turnover we’ve ever heard. Is that even possible? Has he seen an episode of Life After Top Chef? Well, we suppose he knows what he’s doing.
As for the switch from Italian to Spanish, we have his Barcelona-transplanted daughter and his close personal friendship with Jose Andres to thank. He also noted that San Francisco is not wanting for more Italian restaurants, but that he does sense a gap in the Spanish market.
Chiarello plans to capitalize on the waterfront location of the restaurant and hopes to invoke a tapas vibe with a stand-up bar and lots of small plates.
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