Tyler Florence is closing in on a new restaurant in Marin County that could become the latest piece of his burgeoning Bay Area empire, he told Grub Street. The 38-year-old chef and Food Network staple is planning on three restaurants and three of his eponymous kitchenware stores to be open by mid-2010. Though he’s scheduled to shoot thirteen episodes of Tyler’s Ultimate this October, as well as a handful of specials, Florence told us he’s shifting his focus away from the Food Network and toward his local operation. We spoke with him yesterday about his expansion plans and the shelving of Bar Florence.
We’re about to sign a deal on another property… It’s in Marin County. I really can’t say much about it now, but we will hopefully have closed on it within a week. When we close [on] that, it might actually open before everything else.
What happened with Bar Florence?
It was one of those things… They’d given us an enormous package to take over the food and beverage operation at this hotel (Vertigo). They were just victims of the economic implosion like everybody else. The hotel lost its funding, and it was one of those things that just dominoed. They’re lovely people, and it’s not like the deal is off the table, but it’s definitely on the shelf at this point.
Is Wayfare on schedule?
I don’t think we’re going to hit our [opening] target of December. It looks more like the first part of 2010. It might be something more like February.
How did the concept come about? What can you tell us about the menu?
One of the partners who owns the building lives in Mill valley. We bumped into each other at the gym one morning and he said he owns the Rubicon space and would I like to take it over… What I’m doing with Wayfare is reinventing the American tavern. We’re renovating the building to look 100 years old, and studying early American tavern menus…
What’s the name of the new Napa restaurant?
That will be called Tyler Florence Rotisserie and Wine. It’s a wood-fired rotisserie grill.
We hear it’s a rotisserie.
It almost feels like a picnic place. Half of it will be beautiful rotisserie chicken and porchetta, and the other half is going to be a great big wine shop. The food itself is going to be slow-spinning, locally sourced fowl… [The opening date] could be April or May.
You’re sure doing a lot of development in the Bay Area. Why are you focusing here?
I love San Francisco. Working and shooting with the food network for 14 years now, we would shoot in SF a few times a year. I just think it’s a charming city. It’s so cosmopolitan, and the air is so fresh… If you’re a chef, there are a couple of pockets in the country where you can live and work and be in a serious scene: New York, Chicago, parts of Miami, and definitely San Francisco.
How much time do you plan to spend in the kitchen at these new restaurants?
Actually quite a bit. With the television crew in New York it makes it challenging, but we’re trying to shift the business focus to just work on restaurants 100 percent. I plan on being in all the restaurants every day… I love the food network, but for now we’re in a growth period, and my main focus is restaurants.
Tyler Florence, Lark Creek Restaurants Coming to Napa [Grub Street SF]