Chef Aaron London Brings AL’s Deli to San Francisco’s Mission DistrictAuthor:Michelle Konstantinovsky
San Francisco foodies have likely noticed a cute new spot on the corner of Guerrero and 18th, featuring floor to ceiling arched windows and a playful pink exterior trim. Just opened in July, AL’s Deli is the fast-casual concept from Chef Aaron London and it’s making a distinctive contribution to the Mission’s storied food scene.
London’s menu mixes elements of Israeli street food and attributes of traditional East Coast Jewish deli fare, resulting in a selection of totally unique dishes. Diners can choose from an array of sandwiches like the Shawarma Spiced Chicken Sandwich served in pita with garlicky sauce, hummus, schug, tahini and pickles can be made into a salad for an extra dollar. There’s also a section of the menu titled “Crispy Crunchy Things,” which offers up snacks like the Potato Hot Pocket filled with avocado, grapefruit and preserved lemon or cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onion, and capers. Sides include items like The Real Deal Creamy Hummus served with cracked cucumber and lemon vinegar, or slices of house-made Malawach, a flaky, buttery pancake-like bread. And anyone looking for a last minute weeknight dinner can find everything from a Smokey Brisket entree to a frozen labneh dessert.
The wine, beverage, floral and music programs of AL’s Deli are all spearheaded by alumni of the AL’s Place team. Wine Director Justin Roberts curates a list of options available by the glass or bottle while Beverage Director Kyle Greffin serves up beers, low ABV cocktails, and non-alcoholic options. The space itself is designed to with an easy breezy vibe in mind, providing diners with a bright and airy environment that, includes London’s signature shade: “AL’s Blue.” The hue is most prominently featured in the custom painting of the 1515 Design Mag 40/8 Rotisserie set to the side of the open kitchen against a wall of Popham Design Moroccan tiles. Thanks to the work of floral director Anthony Sanchez, the space features plant life and weekly flower arrangements, and diners can credit musical director Jenn Dowdy with the daily playlists.
The restaurant’s chic aesthetic comes courtesy of ROY Hospitality Design. “Aaron approached us knowing what he wanted but also wanting to explore what fresh design ideas could come out of his exciting new Israeli meets Jewish deli concept,” says co-founder Hannah Collins. “With a well formed color palette of AL’s Place’s blue and hot pink, we decided to bring in lots of Bauhaus influence in with shapes, patterns, and design elements. Bauhaus architecture is everywhere in Israel and it seemed to work nicely with the high arches of the space and the fresh modern feel Aaron was looking to create. Bright colored tiles, lots of plants and fun funky table shapes bring the space together to feel bright, airy and like you could almost be transported to a lively cafe in Jaffa.”
AL’s Deli is located at 598 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 9pm.
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