Popular Italian eatery Servino Ristorante will move back to its original home on lower Ark Row next spring, paving the way for an organic farm-to-table retail-and-restaurant chain to take its place on lower Main Street.
In an exclusive announcement to The Ark, landlord ACV Argo Tiburon LP said Oct. 1 that Malibu Farm — which has eight locations across Southern California, Hawaii, New York, Miami, Mexico and Tokyo — will open at Servino’s longtime home at 9 Main St. in 2021 or 2022 after renovations and a redesign of the two-story building.
ACV Argo also confirmed it has submitted to Tiburon its development plans for the former Shark’s Deli site at the corner of Tiburon Boulevard and Beach Road, a planned indoor-outdoor bistro concept that would pay tribute to the site’s history as a former Mobil service station with “retro-garage doors, a large outdoor trellis-covered dining patio and a recreational lawn area.”
Shark’s has been closed since 2014, and recently its parking lot has been used as a staging area for the landlord’s downtown construction projects.
The ACV Argo restaurant projects would join two already in the works.
The first is the ongoing renovation of the old Guaymas Mexican restaurant site at 5 Main St. for a new project from Michelin-star celebrity chef Michael Mina, which is now slated to open in the first quarter of 2021.
It so far is unnamed but internally has been referred to as Bungalow Kitchen and publicly described as a “Bohemian” “beatnik poets bungalow.” The references have caused speculation the restaurant may be connected to a concept from DJ and businessman Brent Bolthouse, who previously teamed up with Mina for three restaurants called The Bungalow across Southern California that feature similar styling as the planned Tiburon restaurant.
The Mina Group and Bolthouse have not responded to requests for comment on whether they’re expanding their collaboration to Tiburon.
Mina lives in Nicasio and his restaurant company, the Mina Group, owns 40 restaurants in the U.S., including eight in San Francisco, such as Michael Mina, Mina Family Kitchen, International Smoke and Trailblazer Tavern.
“I have always loved Tiburon, and this is my home turf,” Mina said in the Oct. 1 ACV Argo release.
The second is the nearby former New Morning Cafe site on downtown Tiburon Boulevard, which will become a mixed-use 2½-story building with a restaurant space on the ground floor and condo space above.
ACV Argo did not provide a timeline on when that project would be completed.
The Servino family — which will keep Caffe Acri at 1 Main St. and expand its menu there to include dinner service and signature dishes — has had its namesake Italian restaurant on lower Main Street since 1992, but it will move back to its original location on lower Ark Row in spring.
It first opened in 1978 at the 114 Main St. site, which most recently was home to Don Antonio Trattoria. Don Antonio’s closed in late March, an early victim of the coronavirus pandemic, though its Larkspur location remains open.
“We have been fortunate to enjoy the amazing Tiburon waterfront for 21 years. We now look forward to returning to our roots,” manager Natale Servino said in a press release Oct. 1. Servino and brother Vittorio operate the restaurant on behalf of their founder parents, Angelo and Kathryn. “Our family and our team have received an immeasurable amount of support from our community and we are very excited to continue to serve our neighbors.”
Malibu Farm is a retail-and-restaurant complex owned by chef Helene Henderson and her husband, John Stockwell. It opened its first location on the Malibu Pier in 2014.
The front half of the lower level will be devoted to retail, according to SG Ellison, president of A&C Ventures, the Sonoma-based parent company of landlord ACV Argo. The existing bar would be moved to the back, where it would share space with tables. The upper level also will have dining tables.
“To have a location on the San Francisco Bay overlooking Angel Island and the city is a dream,” Anderson said in the ACV Argo release.
ACV Argo has not found an operator for the new bistro planned for 1600 Tiburon Blvd., in the space formerly occupied by Shark’s.
“This corner location has amazing potential, and we want to make it an inviting place for families to gather on a regular basis,” Ellison said.
A&C Ventures Founder and Chief Executive Officer David Grieve said the new changes were “aimed at further elevating Tiburon as a top shopping and culinary destination” and at “enhancing the downtown Tiburon landscape for generations to come.”
Grieve is also the owner of Grieve Family Vineyards, which recently received approval to open a tasting room — Squalo Vino, Italian for shark wine — at another ACV Argo site on 34 Main St.
ACV Argo is also the owner of the Tiburon Playhouse movie theater building at 40 Main St., which the company is planning to redevelop for other use. Theater owner David Corkill has been in talks with ACV Argo since at least April but announced publicly in mid-September he would not renew the theater’s lease. Ellison said ACV Argo in the meantime has spoken with other Bay Area theater owners who have not expressed interest in taking over the site.
Deirdre McCrohan has reported on Tiburon local government and community issues for more than 30 years. Reach her at 415-944-4634.