AQ owner Matt Semmelback and his chef Mark Lieberman who seem intent on parlaying the momentum of their hot-newcomer-restaurant-of-the-year success. As we reported last month, the team plans to install Mélange, a fast casual café and marketplace in at the ODC Theater in the Mission (replacing the aborted Pronto! project by Bar Bambino) in the first half of 2013.
But closer to home, Semmelback, who will have to retire the moniker “first-time restaurateur,” has also picked up the keys to the space two doors down from AQ, where he hopes to open another daring, yet more casual sit-down restaurant with a menu designed entirely around live fire cooking. That means no stoves, no burners or sous vide circulators; just grills and a hearth. (Sounds a lot like what Joshua Skenes had hoped to do at his Saison, but never came entirely to fruition.) The still-to-be-named fire-driven SoMa spot is expected to open in the second half of 2013. Expect to hear more about both AQ spin-off projects in the coming months.