SAN FRANCISCO - There’s a new rooftop restaurant open in San Francisco. Chotto Matte is a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine.
The owners want to help breathe new life into Union Square.
With a rooftop view and an in-house DJ, Chotto Matte gained a lot of buzz in its first week and was booked for six weeks out.
"Our friends actually got the reservations about a month ago," customer Paul Solorzano told KTVU.
The restaurant took over the top floor of the former Macy’s men’s department.
"Definitely our biggest restaurant to date," co-owner Kurt Zdesar said.
Zdesar started their first of several locations in London.
"We went to Peru in search of a real understanding of the culture, and cuisine, the ingredients, and the reasoning behind the food, but we also try to understand what the next generation of food might look like."
There’s a barbecue grill and a raw sushi bar.
KTVU tried the yellowtail Nikkei sashimi with jalapeños and cilantro creating a sweet flavor.
What’s not so sweet though, is the image Union Square is becoming known for.
With recent smash-and-grab burglaries clearing out high-end merchandise, forcing many longtime retailers to shutter stores, for lease signs hanging in empty stores are not hard to find.
It’s an image problem, Union Square Alliance is working to change.
"Coming out of the pandemic and coming out of the social justice unrest and a lot of the things that were erupting here in the square," Union Square Alliance CEO Marisa Rodriguez said. "We were hit really hard here in the square so there is this perception right now that it’s you know still a challenge."
The alliance is working to help business owners, even providing security.
Another incentive, Zdesar says he got a good deal on the lease, coming out of the pandemic.
He is hopeful he will be able to mix things up in the neighborhood.
The restaurant will stay open until 2:00 a.m., breathing new life into Union Square’s nightlife.
"Life is like a rollercoaster and whilst it’s been riding at the top, and it’s had its dip, I do believe it’s going to come back," Zdesar said. "Hopefully this will give people the confidence."
The more than 400-seat restaurant is booked for the first six weeks, but you can always walk in and get a spot at the bar.