According to a sign in the window, and confirmation by owner Harold Baum, the longtime white tablecloth joint Clement Street Bar & Grill will soon close. Whether you're a regular or seeking the intimacy of a curtained booth for the first time, you have about a month to stop by the Grill before it changes hands.
The restaurant slated to replace it—Heritage—will be run by Cameron Lewark, a California-born culinary standout. Lewark’s CV includes more than 20 years in the kitchen of Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, most recently at the Maui Four Seasons location, which he helped open in 2001. According to Baum, joining Lewark to manage the bar and front-of-house will be Chris Raulli, the owner of Polk Street’s Lush Lounge.
Baum, who opened the Clement Street Bar & Grill in 1983, said that Lewark, coming from Spago, will “have to downscale a little bit.”
“They want to keep it neighborhood friendly,” he said.
At the age of 13, Baum started working in the Richmond at his family’s Joe’s Ice Cream. He's looking forward to retiring after a stint in property management followed by 34 years at the Grill.
“I’m getting too old for this business,” he said. “I’m 67 now.”
Baum's partner and the leader of the Grill's kitchen, Hal Phu, is also retiring.
We weren’t able to reach Lewark for comment, but Baum said that the Grill’s successor will “rebrand the place” but run the “same style restaurant—Californian American.”
If Heritage proves at all similar to the gourmand’s fantasy of Wolfgang Puck’s conception, then Inner Richmond residents can expect a dining experience distinct from the traditional dinner spots and holes-in-the-wall that define Clement's culinary scene.
We’ll keep our ears to the ground and update you further when more information emerges.
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