Delicious Kitchen Story/Sweet Maple Opening 5 New Locations in Bay Area
Kitchen Story’s brunch is pretty delicious, full stop. It’s got unique twists on all the American brunch classics, often with Korean infusions, sometimes with French flair, and despite a hard couple years for the industry, the owner of Sweet Maple in Lower Pac Heights and Kitchen Story in the Castro, is expanding aggressively.
Owner Hoyul Steven Choi, an immigrant from South Korea with a degree from Cal Berkeley in Micro Biology, is brazenly killing it in the brunch game. Kitchen Story & Sweet Maple in San Francisco consistently have lines down the block on weekend mornings, they’re both so popular they even have lines sometimes for brunch on weekdays.
When I eat there I make sure to arrive before 10 am, and usually, you can get a table with no wait, but if you saunter in with the crowd expect to be waiting on the sidewalk, something San Franciscans traditionally don’t mind doing. (for some strange reason:)
Why San Franciscan’s LOVE Waiting in Line:
Choi is opening 5 new restaurants in the Bay Area in the next year and hopes to eventually add at least 50 more locations nationwide.
Sweet Maple restaurants are headed to Palo Alto, Walnut Creek, Cupertino and Santa Monica, with the first Palo Alto Sweet Maple opening December 22nd. Owner Hoyul Steven Choi is also opening a combined location Kitchen Story and dessert shop U :Dessert Story, in downtown Mountain View. San Francisco’s Parkside neighborhood is getting a noodle-focused restaurant next year.
With all the empty storefronts in SF due to the pandemic (and general cost insane cost of doing business in SF) Choi is optimistic, and flexing pretty hard, “I think this is a good time for a quantum leap,” he told the SF Chronicle this week.
Choi along with his wife Jiyeon Choi, opened Taylor Street Coffee Shop in Union Square in 2002, they also have a Sweet Maple at the San Francisco airport, and Berkeley Social Club in Berkeley (their first Korean restaurant), and a Korean-American spot Surisan in Fisherman’s Wharf.
And still, Choi said to reporters this week: “I feel like there is more room for us to expand.”
The ‘Millionaire’s Bacon’ is a bit of a gimmick, but people love it so much I’ve seen them wear T-shirts with the log on it. Kitchen Story & Sweet Mapple do fun plays on brunch classics like benedicts and omelets, they also have great coffee/tea/juice/and Mimosa menus.
It reminds me of Ike Shehadeh and his first Ike’s Place location on 16th and Sanchez, right where Choi’s U :Dessert is now. Ike looked at the American deli tradition and put his own creative twists on all the sandwiches, he now has 74 locations in 6 different states.
It’s nice to see Bay Area Cuisine expanding, especially after the last 20 months.