Port, restaurateur join forces

Not far from the hard-to-miss bow-and-arrow artwork known as “Cupid’s Span” on the Embarcadero, two new restaurants are rising from the ground.

The new eateries on the 300 block of the Embarcadero — one for fish lovers and the other geared toward red-meat carnivores — are the latest businesses to break ground on the reborn waterfront.

EPIC, catering to those who want steak and other grilled meats, and Waterbar, specializing in fruits from the sea, are a joint effort by Pat Kuleto Restaurants, JMA Ventures LLC and the Port of San Francisco.

The port has a 40-year lease with the businesses, port spokeswoman Renee Dunn said.

Waterbar, to be built on the southern end, will feature huge aquariums playing on a water theme. It will be operated by chef Mark Franz. EPIC’s chef will be Jan Birnbaum.

“San Francisco is first and foremost a restaurant town,” said Michael Cohen, of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “This will further revitalize the waterfront and further the success from the Ferry Building to the ballpark.”

A formal groundbreaking ceremony for the project is slated for this morning. The restaurants plan to open in the fall or winter of next year.

Pat Kuleto, the man behind such restaurants as Farallon and Jardiniere, said the waterfront is the best location in The City — and maybe the world.

“It’s surrounded by businesses and accessible from every type of transportation,” Kuleto said. “It’s got billion-dollar views.”

The completed structures will look like waterfront industrial buildings, Kuleto said.

The two Rincon Park restaurants will sit at opposite ends of an outdoor piazza. There will be seating for 120 people for lunch, dinner and cocktails.

The lunch menu will offer more affordable fare than the dinner menus, Kuleto said.

“This will be a restaurant for all. It won’t be overpriced fried foods,” the developer said. “It will be fresh foods cooked by celebrity chefs. It’s not going to be a tourist destination.”

Port Commission President Ann Lazarus said the new eateries will complement the existing restaurants at the Ferry Building.

“It’s another way to draw people to the waterfront,” Lazarus said.

mcarroll@examiner.com

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