Almanac, a New Gourmet Fast-Casual Concept, On Its Way to Spear Street

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Today Grub Street has the exclusive news about a sophisticated but speedy lunch option on its way to the Financial District. It's called Almanac, and it's a project of two first-time restaurateurs with a passion for food, Caleb Canning and Adrian Albino. They're aiming for an April 1 opening in the former Pasta Paradiso space at 180 Spear Street, which they're in the process of renovating. The menu will feature a mix-and-match set of vegetable and grain salads, seasonal sandwiches, and soups, all made from scratch and using high-quality local ingredients. "We wanted to bring the Bay Area philosophy of great ingredients, honest cooking, and a healthier lifestyle to the one place it's hardest to find: downtown," says Albino. "It's an area dominated by conventional delis and fast-food chains, and we wanted to provide a better option."

Some sample menu items, still in development, include a spicy roasted chicken sandwich with house-pickled onions and arugula; slow-roasted organic herb turkey breast; farro salad with summer squash and ricotta salata; and breakfast items like organic steel-cut oatmeal, and Greek yogurt with an array of toppings. Bread for the sandwiches will come from high-end local sources, and because one of the partners, Albino, is vegan, there will be consistently interesting and satisfying vegan options as well. As Canning says, "I'm not vegetarian but I find myself eating meat-free lunches all the time because they are so delicious in this city."

Eventually, they plan to add a takeout dinner component, but there won't be any beer or wine for the foreseeable future.

Currently they're still on the hunt for an experienced chef who will help refine and tailor the menu. And we should have some updates on their progress in the coming weeks.

Almanac - 180 Spear Street - Opening April 1