Beloved Bay Area restaurant Chow reopens in the East Bay

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Chow, the family-run Bay Area comfort food restaurant group that closed its last restaurant in 2019, is making a comeback.

On August 10, chef-owner Tony Gulisano will unveil his reimagined concept at a spacious San Ramon location that includes a full bar and take-out market featuring chef-prepared dishes. The 6,000 square foot restaurant will be located in 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 kitchen Gulisano introduced for the first time in San Francisco in 1997.

Chow Lafayette opened in 2001 with an innovative take-out food market. The new Chow in San Ramon will build on this concept, with more options for the home cook. (Karl Mondon/Contra Costa Times)

Gulisano and his staff, including many members of the original Chow, such as general manager Luis Siviria, will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner starting at 7 a.m. daily, with weekend brunch at from 8 a.m. Look for seasonal dishes, including homemade Monterey Fish Company seafood. pastas and stews, and plenty of vegetarian options.

For the first time, Chow will have a full liquor license, allowing them to offer craft cocktails and a new “late night canteen menu” of Asian and Mexican-inspired bites. Gulisano is excited about it.

“We plan to go as late as the San Ramon kids want,” he said in an exclusive interview on Tuesday. He also talked about the ups and downs of Chow running; of the opening of the Lafayette location in La Fiesta Square in 2001 and how innovative its market in a restaurant was for its time. In addition to Lafayette and the two San Francisco locations, Gulisano also had Chow restaurants in Danville and Oakland.

Park Chow, which had been in operation in the Inner Sunset for 20 years, closed in 2018, followed by the Danville location, the Oakland location, and in 2019 Lafayette and the original Chow on Church St.

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 been there and learned and I wish I could apply that to this passion I have for feeding people. I’m grateful to be able to have a second run.

After years of preparation, the new iteration of Chow will continue its legacy as an all-day family restaurant, but with many of the modern amenities people have come to expect in their neighborhood gathering space: vegetarian and vegan options; a robust delivery, restaurant and take-out program; a large terrace with 50 seats; and a market geared towards home cooking, with everything from vacuum-sealed proteins and homemade sauces to essentials, like dairy products and organic fruits and vegetables.

Gulisano, who drew the preliminary designs for the new Chow himself, says he designed it to be social and festive.

“I want it to be full of fun and laughs, with accessible and inviting food, a lively bar and a great little market,” he says. “And I feel very lucky to be welcomed into the downtown restaurant community.”

Stay tuned for updates.

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