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Food & Drink

Michelin-starred restaurant debuts new ‘storytelling’ bar in hip San Francisco neighborhood

Two side-by-side images show a champagne bottle, oysters and small plates of food.
The Bar at Osito will highlight a curated spirits list as well as seafood towers and fondue. | Source: Courtesy Osito

Formerly homeless and addicted to drugs, Seth Stowaway might not fit the mold of a Michelin-starred chef—but that’s precisely what makes his Mission district restaurant Osito work so well. 

“I don’t love the exclusive nature of fine dining,” Stowaway said, referring to his background. “But I do love the hospitality.” 

That type of warm welcome is embodied both literally and figuratively in Stowaway’s Mission district destination Osito, known for its 100% live fire cooking and long, communal table. The team is opening an offshoot this Friday, a new concept with a simple name: The Bar at Osito.

It takes over the former fancy-yet-intimate Liliana, which Stowaway said always felt out of place in the space. Now, Osito patrons will have the option to post up in one spot for an entire evening, perhaps arriving prior to their reservation for a glass of wine and a seafood tower or lingering afterward for fondue. 

The Bar at Osito will build on the restaurant’s three principles, Stowaway said: fire, preservation and seasonality. The chef, who previously could be found in the kitchens of Mister Jiu’s and Bar Agricole, wants to present spirits as agricultural products, telling the stories behind their craft. Drinkers can expect brandy, mezcal and rhum, among others (the menu is still being finalized). 

“I want spirits that have a sense of place and time when you’re sipping them,” he said. 

That approach is mirrored in Osito’s food and also the restaurant’s interior, which includes salvaged old-growth redwood and Douglas fir, continuing the sense of warmth emanating from both the open flames and the hospitality. 

“We want people to come and feel cared for,” Stowaway said. “It’s all about finding different ways to love on people in our space.” 

Julie Zigoris can be reached at jzigoris@sfstandard.com