Gary Danko alters palette for a casual palate

One of San Francisco’s most famous chefs will open a casual dining restaurant in Ghirardelli Square — a traditional tourists’ stronghold recently overhauled as a social hub for locals and other well-heeledCalifornians.

A Gary Danko restaurant is emerging amid the rich chocolate scents that waft on Bay breezes through the wood and brick factory-turned-timeshare building and upscale retail center near Aquatic Park.

The restaurateur owns a fine dining restaurant just hundreds of yards from his new location.

“The new venue will be a more casual food — an American-style brasserie that’s open for both lunch and dinner and will offer the locals and visitors a place to hang out,” Danko said. “I felt that this specific neighborhood lacked in this type of restaurant.”

The restaurant will specialize in burgers, steak and fries, pizzas and pasta dishes, according to Danko. Diners at Danko’s other restaurant, by contrast, can begin their meals with $125 dollops of fish eggs.

The 52-year-old said he has long dreamed of “designing a restaurant from a blank space,” and that he hopes to help turn Ghirardelli Square back into the gathering place he found when he moved to The City in 1978.

“Over the years, the square was lumped into Fisherman’s Wharf, making it an area where locals rarely come to,” Danko said. “I was drawn into the new transformation.”

An unveiling is scheduled for today, but construction will continue for months and Danko’s restaurant is expected to open in November.

Developers in 2004 began to reinvent the historic square, according to JMA Ventures principal Todd Chapman.

JMA Ventures booted T-shirt stores and other knick-knack merchants out of the square and wooed upscale Northern Californian retailers in their place, including a gourmet grocer specializing in local fare, a Cloverdale winery and a San Francisco-based cupcake company, according to Chapman.

Along with the store makeovers, the square will offer 53 new timeshare units, which are available for people willing to pay $274,000 for a one-tenth share.

The 530 residential memberships were targeted at people living within 90 miles of The City and 40 percent have been sold, according to Chapman.

jupton@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The City is seeking to enhance health care for San Francisco International Airport workers, which include more than 100 who have tested positive for COVID-19. <ins>(Courtesy photo)</ins>
Airlines, business groups fight new health insurance requirements for SFO workers

Heathy Airport Ordinance would require companies to offer family coverage or increase contributions

The Hall of Justice building at 850 Bryant St. is notorious for sewage leaks and is known to be seismically unsafe. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD speeding up Hall of Justice exit after another ‘large leak’

San Francisco police can’t get out of the decrepit Hall of Justice… Continue reading

The main entrance to Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Voting rights of seniors, disabled must be protected

Coronavirus pandemic adds new challenges for accessing the polls

The Telegraph Quartet is pictured during its SF Music Day 2020 recording session at the striking, beautifully lit and almost empty Herbst Theatre. (Courtesy Marcus Phillips)
SF Music Day goes virtual with Herbst broadcast

Performers pre-record sets in empty, iconic theater

Dr. Vincent Matthews, superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, said Tuesday that student would not be back in school before the end of this calendar year. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Superintendent: City schools will not reopen before the end of the year

San Francisco public schools won’t reopen to students for the rest of… Continue reading

Most Read