Much-anticipated restaurant Bellota opens in SoMa

Much-anticipated restaurant from Coqueta alum opens in SoMaMay 24, 2016,

In 2013, chef Ryan McIlwraith signed the lease at 888 Brannan St. with plans to open a Spanish-style restaurant within the year. Tomorrow night, three years of work will come to fruition: Bellota’s doors will finally open.

Former chef de cuisine at Coqueta, McIlwraith partnered with the Absinthe Group to open the 5,300-square-foot space on the ground floor of the four-story building, which houses Airbnb and Pinterest, in the design- and tech-centric SoMa neighborhood. VIEW SLIDESHOW4 photos Former chef de cuisine at Coqueta, McIlwraith partnered with the Absinthe Group to open… more

“This area has great options for food, but not as many high-end places,” McIlwraith said. “We wanted to provide that. And this is a social space, too, where you can lean over and talk to your neighborhood, which is important to the tech crowd.”

Join the conversation: Follow @SFBusinessTimes on Twitter, “Like” us on Facebook and sign up for our free email newsletters.The design community will appreciate the space, too.

Designed by Sagan Piechota Architecture in Hayes Valley, the restaurant features a fully open, copper-colored “stadium kitchen” with wrap-around seating as the restaurant’s anchor, and hand-painted tile walls, bay laurel tabletops and counters and custom-made leather upholstered seating.

The space can seat 170 in the main dining room and bar with the capacity to hold an additional 40 in the private dining room.With a full bar and dining room, Bellota will offer different experiences in the same space, whether it’s after work drinks and small plates or a long sit-down meal. The restaurant will offer tapas, but because it is so much larger than most Spanish restaurants in the city, the main focus will be larger plates.Half the kitchen is devoted to the four paellas on the menu, and meats will be grilled in the eight-foot-long wood-burning hearth and oven, or, as McIlwraith puts it, the “whole wall of fire.”

A former factory site, the space was essentially empty when McIlwraith signed the lease, which is one reason why the buildout took so long. But apart from adding the infrastructure, McIlwraith also had to renegotiate the lease last year when the building sold to TIAA-CREF for $312 million.The restaurant will serve dinner Monday through Saturday with plans to open for lunch in the coming months and brunch soon after that.

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