First Course: Greek Goes Modern in Hayes Valley


Originally published on Remodelista

San Francisco’s Hayes Valley has a new spot inspired by the simple, rustic cuisine of the Greek islands. Charles Bililies, an alum of Thomas Keller and Michael Mina ventures (most recently RN74), has been ruminating over Souvla for a long while. After a decade of working in restaurants, Bililies took a recent trip to Greece where he undertook all manners of painstaking research for Souvla, eating and drinking included.

A few seats will be outdoors next to the olive trees.

He eventually landed on a restaurant concept named for the traditional meat-roasting method that forms the cornerstone of the Souvla menu. (Their version of a “souvla,” or rotisserie, is a gigantic Rotisol French roaster: “the Ferrari of roasters,” according to marketing manager Jen Pelka.)

Bililies designed the space in partnership with Brian Ford of Metropolis Design. He chose oak flooring for his wood countertop surfaces for its durability (top photo). Copper edging and copper tabletops were custom made by Berkeley metalworker Chris Mast and pre-aged. Vertical surfaces sport Carrara marble penny tile and custom copper edging.

Greek hospitality is in Bililies’ blood: his grandfather ran a Greek diner in Boston 50 years ago. Antiques from that restaurant now line the walls of Souvla: above, a copper stock pot, a traditional coffee pot, and a string of Greek prayer beads.

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