Alibi V.12 No.39 • Sept 25-Oct 1, 2003 

Food Article

With Keith Roessler of Zinc Wine Bar and Bistro

Several of the players that made Seasons (Mountain and San Felipe) so popular have banded together to do their own thing with Zinc, a restaurant and wine bar that opens this weekend at 3009 Central, in the former Fred's Bread and Bagel location next to the Lobo Theater.

Your new restaurant and wine bar in Nob Hill is called Zinc. Is it safe to assume that the bar is topped with zinc?

It sure is. I'm staring at it right now—that's been one of the big stresses at my month. But it's really nice, framed with kind of a darker stained [wood], following the tradition of the old bistros in France. It's contemporary but rustic.

Tell me about the food.

It's contemporary American with a French flair. We have bistro classics like steak frites. We have a big French rotisserie that we brought from Canada. That'll be a focal point [of the restaurant]. We'll have a lot of roasted and sliced meats and you know we're using local and organic meats as much as possible. We'll have chalk boards and they'll change throughout the night as the meats come off the rotisserie.

Chris Pope is the chef?

Yes, we've worked together for six years, almost seven. He's one of the partners in the restaurant with me and my twin brother [Kevin]. We could have taken on a loan and had more ownership but we wanted to do it in a more collaborative way. ... Our other partners are Lynn Devejian, ... our architect Lee Gamelsky and his wife Sue—she helped with all the colors which is a good thing because I'm color blind—the contractor Bob Ruth and his wife Judy. So they have a much bigger vested interest than just building it. We also have some investors, the folks from Seasons and some friends.

Your building has space downstairs, too, doesn't it?

It does. We wanted to expand it and we found out that this building actually supports the Lobo theater so we had to completely renovate to try and get more space down there. We're doing a cellar wine bar and eventually we'll have live blues music. There's a separate kitchen down there so it can be it's own entity. ... It'll be a busy late-night kind of place.

Will that be open right away or will you need more time for it?

It's going to be tight, but we should be open on time. We have that grand opening on Saturday, then we're taking Sunday off to do a bunch of tastings. We'll be open starting with dinner on Monday. Lunch will start on Wednesday.

Will you be open for brunch?

We're going to do a big Sunday brunch with live music in the loft. ...When this place was Fred's they had a really good feel in here and I understand they used to have live music up there.

They did. I remember that.

I never saw it myself but I understand it was very popular. We'll have live music during Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We'll do dinner every day except Sunday and lunch Monday through Friday.

How much will it cost to eat at Zinc?

Most of our [dinner] entrees will between $14 and $20, there's one that's $22 and one that's a little less. Lunch [costs] between $8 and $14.

The grand opening, held on Saturday, Sept. 27, will be a benefit for Cuidando Los Ninos, an organization that supports homeless children and families. Tickets cost $75. Call 843-6899 for more information. For restaurant reservations call 254-9462.