For those new to the city, it may come as news that Fog City Diner on the Embarcadero was once the hot new restaurant in town. The idea of doing upscale food in a diner was seen as wacky and inspired in 1985, and this was back in the days before Loma Prieta while the Embarcadero Freeway still cast a big shadow on this part of town. It was where chef Cindy Pawlcyn made her name, putting out globally influenced small plates, it was replicated in Atlanta and Las Vegas, and became a veritable landmark despite some less-than-stellar reviews in recent years — Michael Bauer’s last update gave the place a sorry one and a half stars, and in 2009 he wrote, “It’s become a tourist trap, with all the stereotypes that implies.” Well, today the Scoop brings word that after almost 30 years, Fog City Diner is going to get a major overhaul in the next few months, and will ultimately reopen as, simply, Fog City.
Owner Bill Higgins — who’s since gone on to open Buckeye Roadhouse, Picco, Bar Bocce, and others — says that the time has come to lose the whole diner aesthetic, and the restaurant will close on March 15 to begin a total renovation. The designer is Michael Guthrie, and there will be a totally new menu and concept from Bruce Hill, with whom Higgins has partnered on Bix, Picco, and Zero Zero.
There will be a large new bar, and some “interesting” custom kitchen equipment, but beyond that Higgins is remaining tight lipped. It’s unclear when the restaurant will be reborn as Fog City, but they are surely trying to make it happen before the height of tourist season. Stay tuned.