Napa chef, Lady Gaga fan, and familiar face on the Food Network Michael Chiarello has inked a deal for his first San Francisco restaurant, as the Chron is reporting. He's taking the former Lafitte space at Pier 5, vacant since April, with its views and vaulted ceiling, and he'll be opening a Spanish-inspired restaurant and bar. He hinted to us last year that he wanted to do something non-Italian in San Francisco one of these days, and after an extended search he's found a pretty plum spot.
He plans to retool the space and put the bar in a glass enclosure outdoors, in the pavilion area to the the left of the entrance that had been used for overflow seating (something Lafitte, ahem, rarely needed), saying it will be a great place to have a drink while looking out at the Bay. Also, he's adding a wood-burning oven, and the dining room will get more seats. The menu, as a press release tells us, will be built around Chiarello's "interpretations" of regional dishes from Madrid, Catalonia, the Basque Country and elsewhere, and he's taking inspiration from popular restaurants in other cities like Casa Mono in New York and Jose Andres's Jaleo in D.C. Look for the unnamed restaurant to open by spring.