Acclaimed Liholiho Team Opens New Asian Diaspora Inspired SF Restaurant

San Francisco’s favorite Liholiho Yacht Club is preparing to close its temporary Mission District pop-up and reopen as a different restaurant with an exciting new menu and an ambitious mission.

The Good Good Culture Club will open on January 11 at 3560 18th St. It will be distinct from Liholiho in several ways. The kitchen won’t be run by owner Ravi Kapur, but by co-chefs Kevin Keovanphang and Brett Shaw, who cook up dishes inspired by the Asian diaspora like taro leaf salad and adobo spiced baby back ribs.

The restaurant will be open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. five days a week, with the shorter hours intended to create a healthier work-life balance for employees, Kapur said. Good Good will be a tip-free restaurant, with a 20% service charge split evenly among workers. Additionally, customers will be ordering from QR codes to free up server time, in part in response to the ongoing labor shortage.

The original Sutter Street space in Liholiho is still under construction and will not reopen until next year.

The new restaurant will be a casual place, Liholiho’s “liveliest and most exuberant cousin”, Kapur said. The menu, with many small, sharing-oriented bites, reflects Keovanphang’s Loatian heritage, but also has Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and Bay Area influences. The sashimi will be served with a tomatillo ponzu sauce, for example, while crispy pig’s ears are mixed with a homemade ploy, a sweet Thai chili sauce. Liholiho fans will recognize the basis of some dishes, like the steamed poppy seed buns, filled at the original restaurant with beef tongue, but here with smoked beef belly rendang instead. . A fried Cornish hen, on the other hand, will be glazed in achiote and honey instead of Liholiho’s combination of cashews and tamari. For dessert, there’s the Lao-style halo with fresh jackfruit and ube ice cream, as well as pandan bibingkas (Filipino coconut rice cakes).

The drinks program will be overseen by Janice Bailon, Liholiho’s bar manager, although this menu is still in preparation.

Good Good Culture Club is the effort of founders Kapur and Jeff Hanak to address long-standing issues in the restaurant industry, from wage inequalities to mental health, concerns that have attracted renewed attention during the pandemic. Like many Bay Area restaurateurs, they took the opportunity of Liholiho’s forced shutdown to retool the entire business.

The new business will join a growing wave of local restaurants ditching tips (a service charge has also been implemented in Liholiho’s pop-up), but also points to another still emerging trend of restaurateurs trying to make their business more fair and just workplaces. Oakland’s Daytrip, for example, was able to recruit staff amid the job crisis due to what employees said was an unusual level of transparency over wages and benefits. Restaurants like Daytrip, however, are still in the early stages of testing these new models.

“Even before the pandemic, we were like, ‘We have to look at how we operate. “Maybe we need to change our model… to ensure sustainability and longevity,” Kapur said. “Now is the time to focus on the next thing, on what lies ahead, without trying to rebuild something. as it was. “

The 18th Street space is already colorful and airy with a sunny, plant-filled roof, but restorers plan to add more pops of bright color, pops of neon, and new artwork, including murals by local artists.

Kapur, whose name has been synonymous with Liholiho since opening in 2015, has voluntarily stepped back from the Good Good menu to encourage the growth of other employees. Liholiho’s Hawaii-inspired dishes, like homemade spam with kimchi fried rice and tuna poke, were an immediate hit in the Bay Area and garnered national media attention.

Liholiho’s last day at 18th Street will be December 31st.

Good Good Culture Club. Opening on January 11, 2022. 5 pm-9pm Tuesday to Saturday. 3560 18th St., San Francisco.

Elena Kadvany is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @ekadvany

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