By Sarah Adler, San Francisco Chronicle
The 20th Street corridor of the Mission neighborhood is the city’s newest nexus of culinary and hipster chic. Its hub is Central Kitchen, the new restaurant from the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group, a collaboration between chef Thomas McNaughton, financier David Steele and restaurateur David White, whose projects also includes Flour + Water, Salumeria and the forthcoming bar Trick Dog.
“We talk about terroir in wine, and now we relate that to Central Kitchen. For us, it’s about the Mission and its sense of place,” said Steele, who, along with his business partners and 80 percent of the staff, live in the neighborhood. “Paxton Gate and Ohio Design represent the Mission, so we chose them. There are restaurants that come into the Mission, and it’s clear they don’t care. For us, we aspire to be an extension of what the Mission is today.”
One of the design challenges was providing outdoor dining suitable in both warm and inclement weather. “Our charge from the owners was to come up with the best outdoor dining space in the Bay Area, period,” said Quigley. They created a retractable roof and awning for the courtyard to provide maximum light and protect diners from San Francisco’s whimsical weather.
Hardenbergia, an evergreen vine with subtle white flowers in three locations, climbs up and over the I-beam and arbor structure, and libertia, a spiky, rust-orange grass, offsets the burnt wood siding (a Japanese technique called shou-sugi-ban).
The interior dining room is lit with two custom chandeliers fashioned from repurposed milking claws. “The end result has mechanical, industrial feel,” said McCrea, “but most people would never guess what their original purpose was.”
“We saw this as the ability for us to stretch some canvas and for (McNaughton) to paint, not to tell him what to paint,” said Steele. “From the food, to the design and curated music, we want diners to have an amazing and textured experience.”