Chow, the family-centric Bay Area comfort food restaurant group that closed its last eatery in 2019, is making a splashy comeback.
On Aug. 10, chef-owner Tony Gulisano will unveil his re-imagined concept in a spacious San Ramon location that includes a full bar and a grab-and-go market featuring chef-prepared foods. The 6,000-square-foot restaurant will be located on the lower northwest corner of City Center Bishop Ranch, near The Slanted Door, at 6000 Bollinger Canyon Road, Suite 1100, and will feature the same global scratch-cooking Gulisano first introduced to San Francisco in 1997.
Gulisano and his staff, including many from the original Chow, like general manager Luis Siviria, will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7 a.m. daily, with weekend brunch starting at 8 a.m. Look for seasonal fare, including seafood from Monterey Fish Company, housemade pastas and ragus, and lots of veggie-forward dishes.
For the first time, Chow will have a full liquor license, allowing them to offer craft cocktails and a new “late-night cantina menu” of Asian- and Mexican-inspired bites. Gulisano’s excited about that.
“We plan to go as late as the kids in San Ramon want,” he said in an exclusive interview on Tuesday. He also spoke about the highs and lows of running Chow; of opening the Lafayette location at La Fiesta Square in 2001 and how innovative its market-in-a-restaurant was for its time. In addition to Lafayette and the two locations in San Francisco, Gulisano also had Chow restaurants in Danville and Oakland.
Park Chow, which had been in business in the Inner Sunset for 20 years, closed in 2018, followed by the Danville location, the Oakland one, and, in 2019, Lafayette and the original Chow on Church Street.
Gulisano says the reasons for the closures are complicated and part of running a business.
“It’s hard to explain the finality of Chow,” he says. “The restaurant business is tricky. There were things I needed to learn about having hundreds of employees. I feel like I’ve gone through that and learned and would love to be able to apply that to this passion I have for feeding people. I feel grateful to be able to have a second run.”
Years in the making, the new iteration of Chow will continue its legacy as a family-centric, all-day restaurant, but with many of the modern amenities people now expect in their neighborhood gathering space: Vegetarian and vegan options; a robust delivery, catering and to-go program; a large 50-seat patio; and a market geared toward the home cook, with everything from vaccum-sealed proteins and homemade sauces to essentials, like dairy and organic fruits and vegetables.
Gulisano, who sketched the preliminary drawings himself for the new Chow, says he designed it to be social and celebratory.
“I want it to be full of fun and laughter, with accessible, inviting food, a lively bar and a great little market,” he says. “And I feel very fortunate to be welcomed into the City Center’s community of restaurants.”
Stay tuned for updates.