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.
Chef de Cuisine
Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Lowe’s love of cooking can be traced back to childhood summers spent in the Pacific Northwest, where he learned that great cooking comes from the heart and from a collaborative effort. After graduating from San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy in 2003, Lowe learned from some of San Francisco’s most influential chefs before landing the role of Chef de Cuisine at Bix alongside Chef Hill in 2009. It was Chef Hill who taught Lowe to really taste his food, and how to collaborate with local farmers to bring truly seasonal ingredients to the plate. Lowe looks forward to continuing his collaboration with chef Hill in the kitchen at FOG CITY, bringing modern eclectic cuisine and fresh, seasonal local flavors to the table.
Aaron Toensing brings a lifelong passion for the culinary arts and 18 years of pastry expertise to the kitchen at FOG CITY. Growing up in the Saint Croix River Valley region of Wisconsin, Toensing was always surrounded by incredible dairy. He began his gastronomic journey as an 18-year-old chef on a paddleboat on the St. Croix River, but then headed to dry land for a job on the sweet side of the kitchen at the Minneapolis Metrodome Hilton. After finding his niche as a pastry chef, Toensing moved to San Francisco, attending the California Culinary Academy to round out his education. In 2001 he began working at Bix alongside Chef Hill, where he became instrumental as both Pastry Chef and a consultant to the Chef de Cuisine. Toensing’s close relationship with Chef Hill saw them travel together to St. Louis, Missouri, to perfect their frozen custard-making skills so that Toensing could develop San Francisco’s first ever frozen custard program for FOG CITY.
Restaurants are a natural fit for Tyler Higgins — as the son of Real Restaurants and Fog City Diner founder Bill Higgins, he has been immersed in the industry since birth. Born and raised in Marin County, Calif., Tyler left to receive his Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado, Boulder. From there he headed to Chicago, where he gained valuable experience at Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab and helped open the high-profile Chicago venue Hub 51. Two years after the opening of Hub 51, Tyler returned to his beloved Bay Area, where he worked as a flex manager at various Real Restaurants properties, including the Buckeye Roadhouse, Betelnut and Picco, before landing the job of General Manager at Fog City Diner in March 2010. Tyler remained there until the restaurant closed for remodeling three years later. He is particularly excited about the re-opening of FOG CITY, as it is one of the first family restaurants he remembers from childhood, and he is excited to welcome back long-time customers and new regulars.
FOG CITY offers modern eclectic San Franciscan cuisine, with an emphasis on wood-fired meats, fresh seafood and desserts that include house-made custard and French crullers.
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.