by Justin Phillips
Only a few days out from the debut of his second Alta CA, this one set within the Minnesota Street Project (1275 Minnesota St.), Daniel Patterson was mentally scouring a checklist while staying focused on one goal — re-creating an experience.
Opening a restaurant is nothing new for Patterson — since his influential fine-dining destination, Coi, emerged in 2006, he’s launched a half-dozen restaurants in San Francisco and Oakland, including Aster, Alfred’s, Haven, Plum Bar and Mid-Market’s popular Alta CA. But he never duplicated a concept.
The trend, intentional or not, ended last year when Patterson and Los Angeles chef Roy Choi opened Locol — a community-focused fast-food joint — in both Oakland and the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts. A third location under the Locol brand, a bakery, opened last month in West Oakland.
Now, it’s Alta CA’s turn to replicate.
On Tuesday, May 23, Patterson will open an outpost of Alta within the Minnesota Street Project, the art gallery space in the Dogpatch neighborhood.
But more is on the way: a third Alta CA is in the works on the ground floor of San Francisco’s forthcoming Yotel hotel, which is under construction inside the historic Grant Building (1095 Market St.), just a half mile from the flagship restaurant.
Since opening in 2013 at 1420 Market St., Alta’s casually modern food and aesthetics — open metal shelves that display knickknacks; cylinder-shape lights that hang from the ceiling — have made it a popular stop in the Mid-Market neighborhood, especially for its throngs of Millennial tech workers.
“Alta was designed to be a community-focused restaurant that fits into — and becomes part of — the rhythm of a neighborhood,” Patterson said. “The experience at Alta is fun, casual and friendly, and it’s a restaurant that can find fresh life in new areas, particularly when it’s located within a destination that further inspires that experience.”
Visually, the Minnesota Project’s Alta will be an amalgamation of design sensibilities found in its predecessor, and in the aesthetics of the minimalist gallery spaces next door.
Artist Catherine Wagner, a Minnesota Street Project studio resident who also created artwork for Coi and Plum Bar, has her work featured heavily in the new Alta.
The 45-seat space will be open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with Patterson contributing in a creative capacity only. Matt Brimer, most recently the chef at sister restaurant Haven, has the reins in the kitchen.
“The Minnesota Street Project is poised to be a social and cultural hub within Dogpatch, and we envision this new Alta as a gathering place for all-day dining within that context,” Patterson said.
As for the third Alta, set a few Market Street blocks from the original, details are still emerging. The Yotel hotel project comes via Synapse Development Group in New York; Patterson and his team will be the food and beverage partners for the hotel.
Alta has been working closely with the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), a national restaurant worker advocacy group, on addressing racial equity in the industry. The Minnesota Street Project location will be the first of the Altas to participate in the group’s racial equity pilot program from its inception. The Yotel project will do the same once it opens.
“It’s a place where everyone can feel comfortable,” Patterson said. “That vibe has always been there, and that is the thing that made me want to replicate it.”