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CultureFood & DrinkGood Taste: Made from scratch? New brunch spot offers...

Good Taste: Made from scratch? New brunch spot offers novelty in pre-packaged era

Early to Rise gets back to basics—don't skip the tangerine pudding and apple butter French toast.

You’re reading Good Taste, a menu for eating well in the Bay Area. This week, a longtime pop-up takes the next step.

No one will say it’s an easy prospect, but it’s still possible for a pop-up food concept to grow into a permanent restaurant in San Francisco. We were invited to eat at Early To Rise (1801 McAllister, SF) on the second day after it grand opened on Feb. 29; it had already been softly open for a week, and already appeared to be popular in the neighborhood. The sign out front promises “scratch-made brunch” and pretty much everything that can be created in-house is, including bagels, English muffins, butter, cream cheese, hot sauce, charcuterie, challah bread, and donuts (both sugar-rolled and “daily deluxe” options).

Photo by Brianna Danner

Touting making food from scratch may sound a little bit funny at first, but if you’ve ever walked through the aisles of the wholesale Restaurant Depot (or Costco, really), you may start to understand how much a majority of restaurants rely on pre-prepared foods. How many fries have you had that look exactly the same? How many Kirkland boxes are hiding in the back of your favorite wing spot? It’s an appreciative touch here that shortcuts are avoided.

Tri-tip and eggs. Photo by Dave Bazzano

Our visit was evidence that it’s a good place to try if you’re craving savory staples, like Eggs Benedict or steak and eggs in a red wine stew, or something sweet and adventurous, such as the tangerine pudding with almond cookies or the apple butter French toast with roasted hazelnuts and caramel apple syrup that I held back from simply drinking. I’ll return on my own dime to try more items, probably starting with the blueberry-ricotta pancakes and the samusa potato pancake.

Early To Rise isn’t an overnight success story. Chef Andrew McCormack sat with us for a few minutes, pointed out his dad, who flew in from Portugal to experience his son’s first restaurant, and explained that Early To Rise was a pop-up for the past eight years. He cooked at Spruce when he started Early To Rise, and has also worked at Quince and Jean-Georges in New York City, but his own restaurant isn’t fancy, just skilled. He and Chef de Cuisine Cesar Perez will be there to greet you.

The dining room at Early To Rise. Photo by Brianna Danner

1801 McAllister was previously home to Automat, which now pops up Thursdays-Saturdays at 3560 Taraval in SF, and Green Chile Kitchen, whose chef/owner Trevor Logan now operates House of Better in Calistoga. Early To Rise’s relatively open layout and booths make for a much more comfortable dining experience than prior tenants, and it’s a welcome addition to the city. Open Thursdays through Mondays from 8am to 2pm (3pm on Saturdays), so you don’t have to wait for the weekend to engage in some brunch behavior.

Tamara is the publisher of California Eating and the founder of the new online Music Book Club.

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