PRESIDIO OF SAN FRANCISCO (May 18, 2014)
- Continuing the Presidio's culinary evolution, the Presidio Trust and celebrated Bay Area chef Traci Des Jardins, in partnership with Bon Appétit Management Company, will open a new park restaurant - The Commissary - on May 20.
This is the first destination restaurant offered by the Presidio Trust and is the extension of a larger food program launched in December 2013 with Presidio Foods Catering, which supports celebrations and meetings hosted in park venues. The food program, which will grow in coming months and years, will ultimately welcome visitors with a range of options -- including full service restaurants, casual eateries, and picnic items to help visitors enjoy a day in the park.
The Commissary is the premier restaurant in the program, and will feature a menu that showcases Spain's influence on Northern California, San Francisco, and the Presidio.
"We are thrilled to work with this amazing culinary team," said Craig Middleton, Presidio Trust Executive Director. "The Commissary is a perfect addition to the growing array of activities available to our park visitors today and in the future."
Chef Des Jardins has been a force in the San Francisco food scene for more than two decades. She runs a diverse group of restaurants, including: the French-California Jardinière, Mijita in the Ferry Building and AT&T Park, and Public House in AT&T Park. She is a dedicated philanthropist, sitting on the board of the local non-profit La Cocina, and has been a longtime supporter of the farm to table movement and sustainability. She has won numerous awards from national and local magazines and the James Beard Foundation.
San Francisco chef Robbie Lewis, an associate and friend of chef Des Jardins for more than 20 years, will oversee the kitchen as culinary director. The two began working together at Rubicon in 1993. Lewis also worked at Boulevard, 42 Degrees, The Village Pub, and finally Jardinière--where Lewis was the executive chef for five years. Reylon Agustin is executive chef, assisting Lewis with day-to-day operations. Agustin first worked with Des Jardins and Lewis at Jardinière in 2003, went on to open Manzanita as the chef de cuisine for Des Jardins at the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe, and has returned to his family in the Bay Area to work on this exciting project.
"We look forward to creating great experiences for Presidio visitors, residents, and employees," said Des Jardins. "We are inspired by the stunning beauty and rich history of the Presidio, and the many cultures that have influenced this special place."
The 112-seat restaurant's menu will be driven by sustainable, locally-sourced ingredients and influenced by Des Jardins' signature style. Dishes will feature organic produce when possible, humanely raised meat, certified cage-free shell eggs, and seafood that meets Monterey Bay Seafood Watch guidelines. Menu items will change regularly based on seasonality and availability. Select items that will be available on the opening menu include:
Sweet Pea and Ham Croquetas
Celery, Red Onion and Mint Salad with tuna conserva, arbequina olives
Striped Bass, with clams, toasted almond-garlic picada
Roasted Chicken, liver toast, sherry, marcona almonds, dates
Strawberry, Raspberry, Goat Milk Sherbet, with wild fennel honey
"All of our ingredients are sourced from local farmers and artisans when possible, and each dish is thoughtfully created to entertain the senses with an array of colors, flavors, and aromas," said Lewis, "Dining at The Commissary combined with visiting the Presidio will truly be a unique experience."
The Commissary will offer coffee and light breakfast service as well as dine-in and dine-out lunch options. In the evening, the space will transform into a lively full-service bistro. The restaurant will feature traditional, communal, and bar seating; dining on the shaded front porch; or "front row" seating surrounding an open kitchen where guests can watch the chefs in action.
Mirroring the food, the wine and cocktails will also be locally sourced from winemakers, distilleries, and brewers with an emphasis on Spain and the Presidio in the form of seasonal sangria and Spanish wine varietals grown in Northern California. The full bar will include classic cocktails alongside an array of original recipes, developed by Des Jardins and general manager Malcolm Brownson.
The Commissary will also feature a mercantile with artisan goods, from batch jams to local cheeses, as well as bottles of wine.
The Commissary is located on the Main Post in the heart of the Presidio, and is fittingly housed in the former mess hall of an iconic streetscape known as the Montgomery Street Barracks. Built in 1895 and known colloquially as "infantry row," the barracks are adjacent to the beautiful Main Parade Ground.
The Commissary is an example of adaptive reuse of historic structures that the Trust is known for. The restaurant reflects the authentic character of the Presidio by incorporating materials saved from sites around the former post, including lighting fixtures reclaimed from a historic Army gymnasium and table tops made from a 125 year-old Douglas fir that was salvaged from a Presidio building removed to make way for the new Presidio Parkway. Natural light floods the space and accents its clean and minimal look.
"The restaurant design is simple, American feeling, and paired down using the original details and layout of the building," said Des Jardins.
A private dining area, enclosed by a sliding barn door with glass panels, will be available for groups of up to 20. Premium semi-private space will also be available in the open kitchen.
The Commissary restaurant is the first destination restaurant offered by the Presidio Foods program, an initiative launched by the Presidio Trust in late 2013 to welcome and serve park visitors. The Presidio Trust, in partnership with Chef Traci Des Jardins and Bon Appétit Management Company, developed the 112-seat Commissary restaurant in the former mess hall of the barracks at 101 Montgomery Street to feature Spanish influenced California cuisine. It is open 7-days a week, with coffee and light breakfast service, dine-in and dine-out lunch options, full-service dinner, and a bar. Visit www.thecomissarysf.com for reservations.
About the Presidio Trust
The Presidio Trust, a federal agency, is an innovation in the management of a treasured American place. The Trust was created to save the Presidio and transform it for a new national purpose. The Trust's vision is that the Presidio will be forever a public place: vital to the Bay Area, important to all Americans, and recognized for achieving broad benefits for the nation. Today, the Presidio welcomes visitors, is home to a vibrant community of residents and tenants, and inspires greater good through programs that draw on its history and natural resources. The Presidio Trust serves the public with events, lodging, venues, and recreational opportunities. To learn more, visit www.presidio.gov.
About Chef Traci Des Jardins
Chef Traci Des Jardins has been part of the San Francisco food community for 22 years and has opened many great San Francisco restaurants. She currently runs a diverse group of restaurants, from her iconic French-California Jardinière, to her beloved Mijita in the Ferry Building and AT&T Park serving casual Mexican food and Public House in AT&T Park which serves classic American fare. She is a dedicated philanthropist, sitting on the board of the local non-profit La Cocina, and has been a longtime supporter of the farm to table movement and sustainability. She has won numerous awards from national and local magazines and the James Beard Foundation.
About Bon Appétit Management Company
Bon Appétit Management Company (www.bamco.com) is an on-site restaurant company offering full food-service management to corporations, universities, and specialty venues in 32 states, including eBay, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Getty Center. All Bon Appétit food is cooked from scratch, from stocks to sauces and soups. A pioneer in environmentally sound sourcing policies, Bon Appétit has developed programs addressing local purchasing, the overuse of antibiotics, sustainable seafood, the food and climate change connection, humanely raised meat and eggs, and farmworker welfare. It has received numerous awards for its work, from organizations including the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the James Beard Foundation, Chefs Collaborative, Natural Resources Defense Council, Seafood Choices Alliance, The Humane Society of the United States and Food Alliance.