‘Thin Man’ inspires Fog City’s new Bix – San Francisco restaurant
‘Thin Man’ inspires Fog City’s new Bix By Alan Liddle
SAN FRANCISCO — Bix, the newest restaurant by the creators of the Fog City Diner, was designed for “anyone who ever watched a ‘Thin Man’ movie and said, ‘God, I wish I was born back then,'” managing partner Doug Biederbeck said.
Biederbeck, himself part of the target market, is confident that many kindred spirits share his desire for a contemporized taste of the affluence enjoyed by circa ’30s celluloid detectives Nick and Nora Charles. The Charles, as portrayed by William Powell and Myrna Loy, along with their temperamental but loyal dog, Asta, solved at least one case while they enjoyed the high life in old San Francisco.
Bix will seat 100 for lunch and dinner and is to open on Gold Street in early June. It is owned by Biederbeck, Bill Higgins, Cindy Pawlcyn, and Bill Upson and is named after one of Biederbeck’s distant relatives, Dixieland jazz trumpeter Leon Bismarck “Bix” Beiderbecke.
Biederbeck wants Bix to be as coolly seductive as a fluttering saxophone rift or gravel-voiced torch singer’s lament.
“It won’t be a ‘theme’ restaurant,” he declared, accenting “theme” in a manner indicating that for him the term carries a certain heavy-handedness.
No. If Bix materializes as Biederbeck has envisioned it, the restaurant will whisper, not shout, of its ties to the speakeasies and supper clubs of days gone by.
To create a clientele willing to regularly venture down Gold Street, an alley off Montgomery Street in the city’s historic Jackson Square area, Biederbeck said the restaurant will make “great service” its hallmark.
Also to be intrical parts of the new concept, he said:
An elegant two-level dining room awash with amber hues, some to come from a giant tinted skylight overhead. Biederbeck said the finished space will invite patrons to dress up, but he stressed that people in all attire, from tuxedos to tennis clothes, would be welcome.
“Classic” fare, such as consommes, steak tartare, and Lobster a la Americaine; entrees for two, including roast pheasant; and libations from the martini, sour, and julep family.
A pianist and singer who will perform nightly.
Gordon Drysdale, formerly chef at Ravel in the Los Angeles Sheraton Grand, will oversee the kitchen at Bix.
Biederbeck, who himself is nicknamed “Bix,” said many of the new restaurant’s menu items will be inspired by food “from the great hotels of the ’30s and ‘ 40s.”
Bix’s average ticket, Biederbeck said, is expected to fall in the $20-to-$30 range.
Unlike most of the other restaurants owned by Higgins, Upson, and Pawlcyn, including the Fog City Diner, Rio Grill, and Mustards, Bix will “stay away from the grill” and rely most heavily on other methods of preparation, including roasting and sauteeing, Biederbeck indicated.
Because Biederbeck will be busy with the new restaurant, Joe Peck, a manager at the Fog City Diner from day one, will assume the top spot there.
Biederbeck said developing Bix would cost his partners and him about $500,000.
Photo: Partner Doug Biederbeck inside unfinished Bix.
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