Exclusive: Heyday, a New Downtown Lunch Spot, Opens Monday on Spear Street

A selection of dishes by Scheiblauer, including a farro salad with asparagus and Meyer lemon, and a focaccia bread salad with wild rocket, oyster mushrooms, and mint.

We broke the news in January about a new, all-organic breakfast and lunch place coming to the former Pasta Paradiso space at 180 Spear Street (at Howard), due to open April 1. And unlike so many projects, the place is right on schedule to open Monday with one small hitch — it's no longer called Almanac, but will be called, instead, Heyday. "We did that to avoid any hard feelings with the Almanac Beer guys," says owner Caleb Canning, noting that the new name is more fun anyway. The chef at Heyday is Jeremy Scheiblauer, who's spent the last few years in the kitchen at Chez Panisse Café — his last day of work was actually the day after the March 8 fire, which made for kind of an emotional goodbye.

As Canning tells us, several of Scheiblauer's Chez Panisse pals have been using some of their time off to lend him some support with menu creation and such, and as was the plan from the start, the focus is on fast-casual morning and afternoon options, with a focus on seasonal, organic soups, salads, and made-to-order sandwiches, all with the best local ingredients possible.

"Around this area, in the three to four blocks around Heyday, it's pretty much impossible to get food made from scratch in a fast environment like this, so we're trying to fill a void," says Canning.

You can expect Acme bread on all the sandwiches, Starter Bakery pastries in the a.m., and plenty of solid options for vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free folks. And given his Chez Panisse cred, Scheiblauer will bring a heavy Cal-Med sensibility to things, with fresh and seasonal dishes like the Acme focaccia bread salad with wild rocket, roasted spring onions, oyster mushrooms and mint, pictured above; and a farro salad with asparagus and Meyer lemon. In the mornings there will be oatmeal with various toppings, including cocoa nibs and house-made dried cherry granola; and at the eventual early dinner service, there is roasted Mary's chicken with a choice of sides.

Within a few weeks they'll be adding take-out dinner, but for now, while they work out the kinks for the daytime worker crowd, they'll be shutting the doors at 3 p.m.

Heyday - 180 Spear Street between Mission and Howard - Opening April 1, and opening hours will be Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eventual hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., starting in a few weeks.

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