We reported last fall that AQ owner Matt Semmelhack had two new projects up his sleeve, but make that three. Today he tells the Scoop that he's inked a deal to take a huge space in the Market Square building, better known to most of you as the new home of Twitter at 10th and Market. The name for the 125-seat all-day brasserie that likely won't open until 2015: Bon Marché. It's the first big lease to be announced for the ground-floor retail spaces at the former SF Mart, and there will be more to come including a possible new cocktail spot from the Bourbon & Branch boys. And this project will follow on Semmelhack's other two upcoming ventures with chef Mark Liberman, Mélange Market at the ODC Theater and TBD, their cheekily named, fire-driven restaurant next door to AQ, due later this year.
Because this is a big project requiring a significant build-out, and construction isn't even set to start for several months, the timeline is along the lines of eighteen to 24 months, so easily well into 2015. Initial inklings of the design include "soaring" ceilings, and a possible 60-foot bar.
The menu will be brasserie-inspired, with seafood plateaus and modern twists on French classics, and beverage director Kristen Capella is looking to create "the largest sparkling wine collection in the country."
We're awaiting a statement from Semmelhack about how the deal came to be, and whether it was always his intention to become an S.F. restaurant mini-mogul in such short order.
AQ’s Matt Semmelhack and Mark Liberman to open Bon Marche in Market Square [Scoop]
Earlier: AQ’s Fire-Driven Spinoff Gets a Name: TBD
Exclusive: AQ Expanding With Two New Restaurants Next Year
New Twitter Headquarters to Get Four to Seven New Restaurants