David Barzelay of San Francisco’s Lazy Bear is a 2016 F&W Best New Chef
Where: Lazy Bear Restaurant, San Francisco
3416 19th St.; 415-874-9921; lazybearsf.com
Why Barzelay is amazing: Each night he creates an incredible, unconventional dinner party for guests that includes the gift of an adorable Boy Scout–style notebook. In the open kitchen, he uses avant-garde gadgets to create modern American dishes that invariably taste delicious.
Born: Tampa, FL, 1982
Résumé: Mission Street Food, San Francisco; stages at Nopa, San Francisco; McCrady’s, Charleston, South Carolina; Aldea, New York City
Quintessential dish: Charred onion broth with ham and egg yolk
Previous career: Lawyer. Barzelay was working in intellectual property litigation when he lost his job in 2009. By that time, he was into food and throwing big dinner parties, so after he lost his job, he started cooking in restaurants for fun.
How Lazy Bear got started: Barzelay launched it as an underground restaurant in the fall of 2009. "I deliberately gave the impression that it was always moving around. I started it in my apartment, then moved it to art galleries and warehouses."
The vibe at Lazy Bear: Behind the unmarked building (the sign is just a row of red dots) is a lounge straight out of a Wes Anderson movie set in your weird rich uncle’s Yosemite hunting lodge. It’s decorated with camping photos, national park memorabilia and 1970s rock-and-roll pictures. The dining room is made up of two long picnic-style tables made from slabs of Wyoming elm.
How you reserve at Lazy Bear: By buying tickets. They are $145 to $175 per person, depending on the day; beverage pairings are $85 more. (Tickets are offered a month at a time; they tend to sell out within an hour.)
Fun fact: When he was in law school, Barzelay would read food blogs on his laptop in class.
Follow @lazybearsf on Instagram.