Earlier this year Grub Street broke the news about two new restaurant spaces coming available in the historic Telephone & Telegraph Building at 140 New Montgomery. The 1925 Art Deco high-rise designed by Timothy Pflueger has been undergoing a major retrofit and renovation at the hands of Ferry Building developer Wilson Meany Sullivan, and as the Scoop reports today, one of two spaces off the downstairs lobby is going to be occupied by Mourad Lahlou, chef-owner of Aziza. Lahlou made known last year that he hoped to open a restaurant closer to downtown, and had earlier been circling around 500 Jackson Street, which is now becoming Roka Akor.
Lahlou is still deciding whether the new 6,000-square-foot restaurant will be a relocated Aziza, or whether he might go with the name Mourad, or something else. You can expect, though, more of Lahlou’s unique takes on Moroccan cuisine, and he says there will be no tasting menu — perhaps in deference to the tasting menu fatigue Pete Wells griped about this week. There will be upwards of 100 seats, maybe as many as 200, with a mezzanine and courtyard element as well. Prominent local restaurant architect Olle Lundberg will do the design.
The opening date is looking to be in the fall of 2013, so still a ways out. As for the fate of the existing Aziza space at Geary and 22nd, that is still TBD, and Lahlou is toying with the idea of turning it into a different concept — a Moroccan-Jewish restaurant is one idea.
And we floated the rumor last month that Bar Agricole was dancing around the other, smaller space at 140 New Montgomery, but apparently that deal is still not inked, and anything could still happen there.