The City by the Bay has a vibrant multicultural scene. San Francisco has been a melting pot of cultures in the western United States, driven by its history and economy, as a central hub far west of the Mississippi. With such diversity comes a plethora of cuisines, served by restaurants that have elevated food in its greatest forms to satisfy the most artisinal of tastes.
Part of the pull of these restaurants are the environments that they provide. These environments are made possible by contractors who are as artisanal as the food. The following 15 contractors are the cream of the crop when it comes to restaurant construction in San Francisco.
Kahn & Associates
1550 Bay Street #251 San Francisco, CA 94123
Kahn & Associates is a San Francisco-based designer-builder established in 1980 by principal Howard Kahn. The firm offers quality construction, design and consulting services for high-end commercial and residential clients at affordable prices. The firm specializes in contemporary and traditional remodel and new construction, room additions, garage additions, seismic and structural upgrades, foundations and retaining walls, kitchen and bathroom remodeling and renovation, and ADA upgrades and compliance
Kahn & Associates built the Pearl at 601 19th Street. The restaurant and events place features a rooftop garden and skylights. The main floor alone has 3,500 square feet of space, and is accompanied by the 1,200 square-foot mezzanine, 4,700 square-foot rooftop terrace, and 1,400 square-foot night bar. A particular highlight of the main floor is its 31-foot reclaimed cedar ceiling.
Cannon Constructors, Inc.
6000 Shoreline Ct, Ste 206, South San Francisco, CA 94080
Founded in 1978, the Encino-based Cannon Constructors, Inc. holds steadfast to its commitment and culture to deliver great service and innovative projects to clients in the state of California. Managing principals Larry Pace, John Locascio, Michael Stieger and Michael Adler are actively involved in the daily activities in the field and the offices. In addition to the Encino headquarters, the firm has offices in San Diego and San Francisco. Although Cannon concentrates on the key areas of restoration-remodel, interior development, new construction, multi-family and medical, the company has superbly accomplished hospitality projects such as hotels and restaurants throughout California.
Cannon was responsible for building The Melt’s at 557 Howard Street. The two-story building houses the restaurant at the first floor, and its office on the second. As of 2017, new plans are in the works to convert the space into an extension of the 555 Howard condo/hotel complex.
Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders
355 11th Street, Ste 200, San Francisco, CA 94103
Dan Matarozzi and Dan Pelsinger established Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders in 1986 as a small construction company focusing on residential projects. Since then, the firm has grown exponentially, venturing into commercial construction while retaining its principal focus on residential construction.
Matarozzi Pelsinger managed the construction of Bar Agricole at 355 11th Street. The bar occupies the ground floor of the Matarozzi Pelsinger Building, the firm’s headquarters. Sustainability is the running theme of the restaurant, from its menu, to the wood hull made of reclaimed whiskey barrels staves that extends the length of the main dining hall, to the fixtures made from reclaimed oak barn beams and barrels. Bar Agricole is LEED Platinum-certified and earned the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant Design in 2011.
Northern Sun Associates
200 South Spruce Ave, Ste 9, South San Francisco, CA 94080
Northern Sun Associates is a South San Francisco-based construction firm established in 1974. The company specializes in restaurant and retail construction. Northern Sun’s services extend all over the San Francisco Bay area.
Northern Sun created the space for Monsieur Benjamin at 451 Gough Street. The restaurant and its modern aesthetics are inspired by traditional French cuisine and Parisian bistro culture. The restaurant is a proud carbon neutral restaurant through ZeroFoodprint, a non-governmental organization that strives to drive carbon emissions from restaurant operations around the world. Another Northern Sun project is a build-out at the historic Merchants Exchange Building located at 465 California Street, The Mendocino Farms restaurant. The restaurant offers breakfast, salads, and Coffee.
Terra Nova Industries
1607 Tice Valley Blvd, Walnut Creek, CA 94595
Terra Nova Industries’ CEO Ronald Taylor has been a designer-builder since 1984, and to date,more than 2,000 projects have been completed by the firm. The Walnut Creek-based design-build company currently specializes in restaurant, hotel/motel, apartment, condominium and commercial construction. Taylor himself takes personal interest in each and every project the firm, bringing with him a “player-coach” approach that enables him and the firm to be part of the initial planning, saving time and money in the process.
The Mourad at 140 New Montgomery Street is one of Terra Nova’s more recent successful restaurant projects. The restaurant envives the highest levels of artisanship in modern, Moroccan-inspired cuisine that its owner and namesake, chef Mourad Lahlou, is known for. Memories of Morocco are tastefully invoked through the numerous custom features of the restaurant, such as circulation through rooms rather than along edges, fabric ceilings, mosaic tilework, a mixture of grand and intimate spaces, perforated metal work, a patchwork of reclaimed Moroccan carpets, and twinkling lights, while maintaining a design that is definitely San Franciscan and quite respectful to its location at the old 1920 Pacific Telephone tower.
608 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA
Headquartered in Menlo Park and with offices in San Francisco and in Austin, TX, NOVO Construction has been serving California and Texas since 2000.. The firm prides itself on being a visionary in the construction industry, combining the the quality of work done with the quality of service delivered and the quality of relationships made. In addition to tenant improvements, NOVO specializes on data centers, manufacturing, cafeterias and laboratories.
Found at 101 California Street, NOVO delivered the restaurants Pabu and The Ramen Bar for well-known Japanese chefs Michael Mina and Ken Tominaga. Higher-end Pabu is an izakaya and sushi spot that boasts a 76-seat dining room, 22-seat sushi bar, and 80-seat bar and lounge. The Ramen Bar, meanwhile, is a 56-seat restaurant focusing on clear-broth ramen bowls, with donburi bowls and Japanese-inspired salads. The two spaces share an outdoor terrace overlooking 101 California’s courtyard.
275 Battery St, Ste 300, San Francisco, CA 94111
Founded in 1911, Hathaway Dinwiddie is a San Francisco-based construction company with offices in Santa Clara and Los Angeles. The firm is composed of more than 300 regular employees, a third of which are LEED Accredited Professionals. The company is experienced with a wide variety of project types that include commercial office, higher education, bio-pharmaceutical, healthcare, technology, entertainment, finance, and special use facilities. President and CEO Greg Cosko currently leads the company, which has been honored with several awards including the ENR California Contractor of the Year Award and the DBIA National Award of Merit.
One of Hathaway Dinwiddie’s notable projects was their remodel of three Michelin star restaurant Quince at 470 Pacific Avenue. The gourmet kitchen was reconfigured to work around the central high-end ovens, while the dining area was refurbished with upscale finishes and millwork.
601 California St, Ste 300, San Francisco, CA 94108
CEO Robert Fisher started Fisher Development in 1971 as a residential builder-developer. From there, Fisher expanded his business to include restaurant, retail, corporate interiors, mixed-use projects, multifamily housing, adaptive re-use of historic structures, sustainable construction, and independent schools. Fisher’s son, Alex Fisher, currently co-heads the company as President. The firm has been honored with a number of awards, including the ENR Best Projects Award, a Superior Award for Design and Imaging, and the CEA Most Improved Safety Program Award.
At 16 West Portal Avenue, Fisher transformed a two-story corner grocery into La Boulange, a newly-acquired brand of restaurants for Starbucks. The 3,300 square feet of restaurant space feature rustic wood flooring, subway-tiled walls and signature casework and fixtures. Designed by MBH Architects, the transformation from dilapidated grocery store to exquisite restaurant took only 16 weeks.
1000 Brannan St, Ste 102, San Francisco, CA 94103
Since 1950, Nibbi Brothers has been at the forefront of the construction industry, delivering some of the most technically complex, iconic structures in the San Francisco Bay Area. This family-owned firm’s keys to success have always been having the right goals in mind, the right people on staff, and the right approach in facing every challenge each project presents. Currently leading Nibbi is the third generation of the family: President Bob Nibbi and Vice President Michael Nibbi. The firm has won some of the most prestigious awards in the industry, including AIA Housing Awards, the Building Industry Conference Board Achievement Award, the AIA Design Merit Award, and the ULI Award of Excellence.
Nibbi took on the challenge of renovating the landmark Boudin Bakery at 160 Jefferson Street into a two-story 25,000 square-foot steel masterpiece. The building not only houses a fully-operational production and demonstration bakery, but also a restaurant, a cafe and museum. The bakery has the capacity to bake up to 3,000 loaves of bread daily.
Plant Construction Company
300 Newhall St, San Francisco, CA 94124
In 1947, brothers Tom, Buck and Dave Plant opened a construction company at 1168 Battery Street. The company still stands to this day as Plant Construction Company, and the brothers’ first job, the conversion of a sunken wooden barge into a duck-hunting lodge, became the foundation for the firm’s extensive work history filled to the brim with complex projects. Such history includes custom homes in the early years, naval ship repairs during the Korean War, and the residential, commercial and institutional developments of today. From Tom Plant, company leadership has since been transferred to his son, David Plant, and then to the current team of Plant veterans, headed by President and CEO Chris Rivielle, while the younger Plant remains a General Partner. The company has won numerous awards, including the SFBT Best Rehab/Renovation of the Year, the American Institute of Steel Construction National Architecture and Engineering Award, and the Building Design + Construction Reconstruction Silver Awards.
Embedded in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Plant constructed the three Michelin Star restaurant In Situ. The restaurant features exposed concrete floors, a sculptured wood ceiling canopy over fabric and art covered walls, a 3,000 square foot world class kitchen, and a 150-seat dining space for both walk-ins and reserved tables.
1508 3rd Avenue Walnut Creek, CA 94597
BALI Construction has been living up to its tagline “Building Smarter” since its inception in 2010. President Kevin Balestrieri formed the company that would become one of the fastest-growing private companies in the Bay Area today. The firm specializes in construction management and design-build services for restaurant, retail and tenant improvement markets. BALI prides itself of guaranteeing the highest quality of service, results and sustainability to each and every project. BALI’s consistently fulfilled guarantees have been rewarded with several recognitions, including being being named one of the SFBT Fastest Growing Private Companies for 4 years in a row and have been included in the Inc. 5000 in 2018.
At 400 Eddy Street, BALI delivered Black Cat, a restaurant, bar, and entertainment salon offering a refined social dining experience in the heart of the Tenderloin neighborhood. The space combines grit with glam in the city’s historic arts and entertainment district.
457 Minna St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Build Group is a San Francisco-based design-builder established in 2007. The firm is focused on various project types, including hospitality, retail, residential, commercial and institutional sectors. The company is currently comprised of over 400 employees, making it one of the fastest growing private companies in California. Build Group has been named by Engineering News Record as a Top Contractor, a Largest Commercial Contractor in the Bay Area, a Healthiest Employer, a Fastest Growing Private Company and a Best Place to work.
Build Group created the space for M.Y. China in the Westfield San Francisco Centre shopping mall at 845 Market Street. The vision of the restaurateur, television chef Martin Yan, resulted in a 181-seat, high-end, exhibition-style eating experience accentuated by custom eucalyptus woodwork, laser cut metal screens and antique Chinese furnishing. Centerpiece to this restaurant is an antique 1,800 pound bell that was imported from China.
Trainor Commercial Construction, Inc.
1925 Francisco Blvd. E Ste. 21 San Rafael, CA 94901
Based in San Rafael, Trainor Commercial Construction, Inc. is a general contractor that focuses on luxury retail, restaurants, and corporate interiors and with a portfolio spanning the United States and Canada. President Brian Trainor established the firm in 2001 with his wife Suzanne. Trainor is a third generation builder whose career started in the 1970s as a drywall framer, moving his way up to foreman, estimator, and then to project manager with his natural leadership skills. A.R.E. has honored Trainor with its Grand Prize and Design Award. The firm has also been featured in Retail Environment and Architectural Digest.
Trainor was responsible for building four Bay Area locations for the Danish chain Joe & the Juice, three within San Francisco and one in Burlingame. Forbes noted that the restaurants’ design is made to cater for “a younger hipper customer who is equally concerned about the experience as they are the food.” Trainor’s work has successfully ‘magically’ married the ambiance of the stores with the menu for a fuller customer experience.
505 Sansome St, 7th Flr, San Francisco, CA 94111
Skyline Construction is a 100% employee-owned general contractor formed in 1996 in San Francisco and with offices in Santa Clara, Oakland, Pleasanton and Walnut Creek. The firm specializes in projects of varying sizes for retail and restaurant, office, healthcare, and technology markets. Skyline Construction has received many accolades, including the SFBT Top 25 Commercial Contractor, SFBT Top 100 Fastest Growing Businesses in the Bay Area, and the Bank of America Platinum Service Award.
At 505 Howard Street, Skyline created the space for the Plaza Cafe at Foundry Square III, or simply the Foundry Cafe, from a warm office shell. The cafe features curved custom millwork booths, reclaimed teak wood walls, and a custom acrylic ceiling art installation.
Oliver and Company
1300 South 51st St, Richmond, CA 94804
Lloyd H. Oliver and Charles E. Coburn founded in 1946 a general contracting firm what would be known today as Oliver and Company. The firm has a portfolio amounting to more than 2,000 buildings across Northern California, particularly in the Bay Area. The firm is currently a builder-developer, offering pre-construction, construction, project management and development, LEED certification, non-profit real estate assistance, and property management services to a wide variety of markets. Despite all of these services, Oliver and Company is foremost a general contractor, taking pride in handling projects on its own. Oliver is also a proud founding member of Construction Employers’ Association. The firm has been honored with numerous awards and accolades, including the AIA National Honor Award, AIA San Francisco Merit Awards, the AIA San Francisco American Architecture Award, and the Golden Nugget Awards.
Oliver and Company built La Mar, a Peruvian restaurant at Pier 1½, the Embarcadero. The historic lobby of the pier within which the restaurant is housed has been preserved. The restaurant features multiple lounges, an expansive dining room and a waterfront patio overlooking Treasure Island. The entire space can be configured to accommodate a cocktail event for up to 490 people, a formal seated dinner for up to 230, or a combination of the two.