Ryan Tate's best restaurant articles of the past year

These are my best restaurant-related stories written within the past year for the San Francisco Business Times. This list was last updated (none).

The Business Times only covers exclusive stories in its print edition, so the stories below can be considered "scoops" unless labeled otherwise.

  • Kitchens catch fire
    Red-hot Ferry Building rings up $50M food tab

    Charles PhanConceived as a magnet for finicky foodies, the Ferry Building has turned into a gold mine for Bay Area restaurateurs.

    Anchor tenant Slanted Door reports revenue of $12 million per year, thanks to tables that often host three rounds of diners at lunch and nearly as many again at dinner. Restaurant MarketBar is taking in $5 million per year; burger joint Taylor's Refresher close to $3.6 million per year. Even the building's bakery, taqueria and tiny caviar shop report they are on track to each make more than $1 million per year. Full story

    San Francisco Business Times, February 24, 2006

  • Kuleto sets new table
    Bold venture shocks S.F. restaurant vets

    Pat Kuleto and Todd ChapmanRestaurateur Pat Kuleto and his partners have just finalized an unprecedented gamble, putting down $18 million on a new restaurant project in San Francisco.

    Kuleto and his investors, including landlord JMA Ventures LLC, about two weeks ago began excavation for two large restaurants at Rincon Park, on the northeastern waterfront across from Gap Inc.'s downtown headquarters. A formal groundbreaking is scheduled next week.

    It's the biggest-ticket new restaurant launch anyone can remember, and industry players regard the project with awe. Amid fast-rising labor costs, higher food prices and shrinking profit margins, Kuleto is doubling down on a game more and more top chef-owners are walking away from entirely: the fancy San Francisco restaurant. Full story

    San Francisco Business times, September 1, 2006

  • Gary Danko plans ritzy private dining facility

    Gary Danko in new private dining spaceBuilding on the success of his eponymous restaurant, San Francisco chef Gary Danko will open a large private dining facility nearby, aiming at a slice of the lucrative market for corporate gatherings.

    The new spot will allow the noted chef to show off his cooking skills while growing a business now making between $4 million and $9 million each year. In addition to hosting small groups, it would serve as home base for a growing catering business, occasional cooking classes and premium-priced demonstration meals open to individual diners. Full story

    San Francisco Business Times, October 6, 2006

  • French cafe Left Bank to grow throughout West

    Roland PassotChef Roland Passot plans to open one of his Left Bank brasseries in suburban Las Vegas, the first of approximately 15 restaurants the company plans to roll out throughout the West. The group now has five restaurants -- all in the Bay Area. Full story

    San Francisco Business Times, November 10, 2006

  • Growing appetite for S.F.
    Restaurants setting new tables in the city

    Andrew McCormackWhen they open their newest San Francisco restaurant next year, Andrew McCormack and his partners will have accomplished what some of the city's most famous chefs cannot bring themselves to do: put money into a new restaurant within the city limits.

    McCormack's Frisson team is among a small cluster of well-capitalized restaurateurs who are betting they can overcome the escalating cost of doing business in San Francisco and turn a healthy profit. Rather than take their investment dollars out of the city and into potentially more profitable places like Silicon Valley and Las Vegas, as some high-profile competitors have done, these restaurant operators are focusing new investment inside the city.

    They hope to overcome rising costs by selling more alcohol, keeping employee headcount below the threshold for certain costly regulations, asking investors to market the restaurant to friends and training staff to better please -- and extract money from -- a higher-end clientele. Full story

    San Francisco Business Times, December 15, 2006

  • Hotels run up tab to boost restaurants
    Today's special: Hot chefs

    Jon KimballMany of San Francisco's largest hotels are upgrading their restaurants with independent chefs and adventurous food, providing restaurateurs with a much-needed influx of capital.

    In remaking their humdrum restaurants, hotels like the Argent and St. Francis are hoping to enhance their image among food-savvy travelers and locals at a time when tourism is up -- along with the price of the city's most desirable rooms. Full story

    San Francisco Business Times, December 8, 2006

  • Biofuel strikes oil in eateries
    Restaurants could put biodiesel firm in fat city

    Martin WahlMartin Wahl is a greasy businessman with a slimy operation -- and he's proud to say so.

    Fueled by a new partnership with 150 of San Francisco's oil-rich restaurateurs, Wahl's Bay Area Biofuel Inc. pumps close to 12,000 gallons of biodiesel automobile fuel each month, up from virtually none six months ago.

    At its current rate of growth, the Richmond company should be profitable by the end of the year. And that's only the beginning: Wahl estimates there is room to grow his customer base fivefold in San Francisco alone, to say nothing of the rest of the Bay Area. Full story

    San Francisco Business Times, May 26, 2006

  • San Francisco is losing its seat at foodies' table
    Economics eating away at posh restaurant openings

    Never a comfortable enterprise, opening a San Francisco restaurant has gotten even tougher over the past three years, and city tourism boosters are worried the local economy could suffer as a result.

    The meltdown of the dot-com boom occurred half a decade ago, leaving plenty of time for the restaurant sector to recover. But other challenges have crept in, including food prices growing much faster than inflation, three citywide minimum wage hikes in as many years, a new health-care spending mandate and a November ballot initiative requiring six to nine days of sick leave per year on short notice. Full story

    San Francisco Business Times, September 15, 2006

More articles

At the Business Times, I cover not only restaurants but the whole hospitality industry, plus East Bay real estate. You can see more published writing at the main articles index.