SOMA Eats: A Chic Culinary Destination Opens In San FranciscoAuthor:Allison McCarthy
What was once a sweat-drenched Funky Door yoga studio is now a chic rustic-modern eatery on Second Street. The historic building underwent an extensive transformation and was reborn at the beginning of December as SOMA Eats, a bustling downtown breakfast, lunch, and happy hour destination with an in-house bottle shop.
Owners Shirley Azzghayer and Oussama Mannaa, whose backgrounds are in the wine and spirits retail space, envisioned a concept that was part casual restaurant and part liquor library after noticing a lack of such establishments in the market.
The food menu reflects the owners’ heritages (Lebanese and Palestinian) and is inspired by old family recipes. Each dish has a unique Middle Eastern touch—the deviled egg salad and turkey meatloaf sandwiches have a mildly spicy kick with Pappadew peppers. And the bottle shop is stocked with a wide selection of wine, beer, and liquor, including rare bottles of whiskey.
The eatery’s turquoise-and-copper color palette was influenced by the patina of a rusting copper menu that Azzghayer and Mannaa had seen long ago. To achieve the look, the couple commissioned Abueg Morris Architects (Nopalito and Verbena). Preserving the history of the building was important to the couple, so they worked with Abueg Morris to keep the original wooden columns, ceiling beams, and back wall of exposed brick.
The wood behind the bar and brick in the front are new, but are made to mimic the native infrastructure. Custom light fixtures are a collaboration between the owners and architect. The owners turned to Fireclay Tile for the vibrant turquoise Moroccan tiles featured on the bar, a nice change of pace to the Heath subway tile that has become so trendy. The reclaimed wood tables, liquor library, wine shelves, and bar—in addition to the copper-top standing bar at the bottle shop—are all custom made by Menlo Hardwoods.
The gorgeous space, with its globally-inflected menu and in-house bottle shop, is a welcome addition to an area that continues to shape itself as a design-centric destination.
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