With the opening of Phlox Commons Kitchen & Draught House on the lobby level of Hotel Carlton, Nob Hill has a new hot spot for authentic California cuisine and local beer and wine. We checked in with the team to get the scoop on the new space.
Joie de Vivre: What’s the meaning behind the name, Phlox Commons?
Phlox Commons: Phlox are wildflowers native to the mountains of Northern California. There are a lot of “Californian” restaurants but I wanted to evoke the great nature beyond the cities that really defines the state — those distant mountains we feel disconnected from in the urbanized population centers. Commons are dining halls where people congregate. This references our location inside the Hotel Carlton, as well within the neighborhood and city at large. Travelers and neighbors can come together here for food and drink, creating a spirited sense of community.
JDV: From the food to the design aesthetic, what is your vision for the restaurant?
PC: The space recalls both a sense of travel and a sense of homey comfort. Our designer did an amazing job blending a timeless look with a modern feel. A lot of touches reflect the nature theme of Phlox Commons and are open to interpretation. For example, the wallpaper could represent seed pods, oyster shells, honeycomb, or fennel blossoms.
Our menu reflects the seasonality of California, and is meant to evoke a sense of place. I sourced about 60 beers and wines that showcase the expansive regions of California from San Diego to Humboldt.
JDV: Any favorites from the beer and wine lists?
PC: Our aim is to help pair guests with a drink they’ll love. We get some of our local beers, like Altamont and Fieldwork, direct from the producers–they’ve always got something special and new for us to share. Magnolia is another local institution I’m really proud to offer, anything they make is great.
California wine is really exciting because of the regional characteristics that transform a Pinot or a Cab; the same grape varietals find so many different expressions as you move from north to south, inland or towards the coast, or even just over a hill to the next vineyard.
JDV: How does Phlox Commons fit into the neighborhood? What is the surrounding culinary scene like?
PC: Nob Hill is an epicenter of New American dining and it was important to us that Phlox Commons differentiate itself and embrace the comfort and familiarity of American cuisine. There are so many new cafes, bakeries, and shops opening around the corner on the revitalized Larkin Street Corridor and I’m excited for Phlox Commons to contribute to the spirited neighborhood.
Phlox Commons is open for weekday breakfast (7-11am), weekend brunch (8am-12pm), and dinner nightly (5-10pm).