The location of the newly renovated FOG CITY restaurant is steeped in history — one that goes back way beyond the 1985 opening of the original Fog City Diner. From feeding hungry sailors before they shipped out to serve in WWII to housing a railroad building servicing trains in San Francisco’s first railways, and acting as a docking point for ships during the Gold Rush, this site has always been an integral part of the rich tapestry of San Francisco history. With its newly renovated space, the latest incarnation of FOG CITY looks forward to adding another exciting chapter to the history of 1300 Battery Street.
Located along the Embarcadero, FOG CITY is a beautiful and historic destination for modern, eclectic San Franciscan cuisine and cocktails. The original Fog City Diner, which opened in 1985 and closed for renovations in March, has been completely re-imagined by renowned Chef Bruce Hill and its founders, Bill Higgins, and Bill Upson. Maintaining the energy and approachable spirit of the beloved original, FOG CITY offers innovative menus in a sophisticated, warm and open space created by Bay Area architect Michael Guthrie.
Bruce Hill has been cooking for San Franciscans since he arrived in the city from his hometown of Washington D.C in 1984. Starting out at groundbreaking Bay Area eateries such as Stars, Aqua, Oritalia and Waterfront Restaurant, Chef Hill then became a partner at Real Restaurants, and was a co-owner at Bix, Picco, Pizzeria Picco and Zero Zero. As both a partner and Executive Chef, Hill has garnered acclaim wherever he goes, including the Wine Spectator Rising Star Chef award at Waterfront in 1997, helping Bix earn its first three-star review from the San Francisco Chronicle in 2002, and earning Zagat’s award for Best Pizzeria at Pizzeria Picco in 2012. Innovation has always been at the forefront of Hill’s work, so much so that he developed and patented the Chef’s Press, which is now an essential culinary tool for many chefs across the country. At FOG CITY, Chef Hill was able to customize every aspect of the kitchen, and looks forward to continuing his innovation by presenting seasonally driven cuisine in an eclectic, modern way.
Born and raised in Marin County, Jim Whaley first stepped into the world of hospitality as a teenager, working as a bus boy and dishwasher at a local golf course. His interest in the industry only grew from there with its fast-paced, stay-on-your toes mentality. Whaley worked various serving and bartending positions until his first management job at a small, family-run spot in Sausalito called Café Breccia in 1997. From Café Breccia, he moved on to San Francisco’s Houston’s, where he fine-tuned his service and managing skills and also began to learn a great deal about cocktails. After Houston’s, he took a managerial role at Water Street Grille in Sausalito in 1999, implementing staff training processes and beginning his long-term education in wine. From here, Whaley worked as the general manager at Wildfox Restaurant in Novato from 2002 to 2005, developing wine education programs and learning about the financial side of the restaurant business. Whaley then began working with the Real Restaurant group in 2010, managing popular spots like Bungalow 44, Buckeye Roadhouse and Bar Bocce for three years, where he taught his teams about the importance of consistent service and cultivating lasting relationships with first-timers and regulars alike. Whaley brings over fifteen years of combined management, organizational, and leadership experience to his role as general manager at FOG CITY. Proud to work with an extraordinarily talented staff, he looks forward to helping FOG CITY evolve, from keeping the wine, beer and spirit lists current and interesting, to ensuring that everyone in the restaurant is happy and satisfied.
Javier Montano’s experience in the kitchen extends back to his days as a dishwasher when he was 16, working for Monroe’s New Mexican Food in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He quickly worked his way up to kitchen manager at another of the restaurant group’s locations. Craving more from his learning experience then what he was finding in school, he decided to move to a larger culinary hub. Montano was torn between a few major cities; so he closed his eyes, took a stab at a map and San Francisco won. With only a few potential restaurants in mind, Chef Montano moved to San Francisco in 1997 and walked into Rubicon to see if they were hiring. He started immediately, initially as a butcher, and he worked his way up to the grill. He also took a job at Acquerello at night, where he learned from chef/owner Suzette Gresham to keep things simple and understand the culture behind everything being served. Chef Montano’s travels inspired a passion for global flavors, as well as a love for the art of pairing food with cocktails and creating menus from scratch. After spending two years as executive sous chef at La Posada de Sante Fe, a major hotel resort in Santa Fe, Chef Montano moved back to the Bay Area in 2004 eager to continue expanding his culinary and leadership skills. Over the course of the next five years he worked at several high-volume establishments featuring international cuisine, such as Grand Café and Limon in San Francisco, California Bistro and Wine Bar in San Jose’s Santana Row, and Dio Deka in Los Gatos. Being so close to Silicon Valley, Montano most recently worked as a corporate chef for tech companies including Electronic Arts and Google. With a wealth of experience at his fingertips, Chef Montano looks forward to working alongside Executive Chef Bruce Hill at Fog City and once again living in his favorite city. His cooking philosophy at Fog City is to put integrity, soul and love into each dish, and his management style firmly reflects his key life principles: “Communicate expectations, be professional, drop the ego and take pride in everything you do.” Outside of the kitchen, Montano can be found biking around the city, swimming at Aquatic Park and simply taking advantage of the Bay Area’s outdoor natural gym.
The bar crafts classic and signature cocktails made with custom ice and the finest American-made spirits, featuring local distilleries. There are 16 wines on tap, which change regularly and feature small production, local wineries as well as an extensive list of wines by the bottle. The beer program at FOG CITY boasts a large artisanal beer selection, including seven beers on tap, some of which will be brewed exclusively for the restaurant.
Designed by renowned Bay Area architect Michael Guthrie in a timeless style that accentuates the building’s history, location and individuality, the atmosphere is energetic and comfortable, with abundant natural light and sweeping Bay views. An exhibition kitchen greets the guests as they walk in, and treats them to a theatrical “behind the scenes” show throughout their meal, complete with a magnificent fire element showcased in the wood-fired oven and seven-foot grill. The lively bar area is open and inviting, and features a subtle tribute to the classic Fog City Diner with its glowing onyx-hued bar, lit from underneath with LED lights.