Mayor Breed, Chef Florence celebrate new cafes in Union Square Plaza

The two new cafes, Miller & Lux Provisions, is part of a larger effort to revitalize Union Square and the Downtown area

SAN FRANCISCO — Mayor London N. Breed on Tuesday, November 7 joined Tyler Florence, city leaders and community to celebrate the opening of the renowned chef’s new café concepts. Miller & Lux Provisions, two new artisanal cafes now located in Union Square Plaza, offer residents, visitors, and workers a unique dining experience in one of Downtown San Francisco’s most recognizable locations.

The new cafés are part of Florence’s restaurant group, The Greater Organization, and aim to offer a “picnic in the park” experience in the plaza. The cafes offer daily indoor and outdoor dining and are operating under a three-year lease with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, which oversees Union Square Plaza. The agreement was approved by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission in September.

“Union Square is an iconic part of our city and we are excited to partner with Chef Tyler Florence to help take this space to a new level for our visitors and residents,” said Mayor Breed. “The city is making good progress on our Downtown recovery efforts, but we know through private-public partnerships, we can get a lot more done. We are grateful to businesses like Miller & Lux who are doubling down on their commitment to San Francisco’s comeback and our future. The new cafes in Union Square will breathe life into the plaza and help continue to promote San Francisco as a world-class food destination.”

The café on the Stockton Street side of Union Square offers an all-day brunch menu, including savory dishes like organic rotisserie chicken and vegetable-filled side-dishes, while the café on the Powell Street side features barista-crafted coffee and fresh pastries such as croissants and pain au chocolat from chef Karla Marro, who has led the pastry program at Michelin starred restaurants including Acquerello in San Francisco and Daniel in New York. The Patisserie will offer breakfast service starting daily at 7:30 a.m. and the rotisserie café will open at 11:30 a.m. daily.

Florence is best known for his appearances on The Food Network over the last 27 years. Locally, he’s known for running three successful restaurants: Miller and Lux at Chase Center, Wayfare Tavern in Financial District, and Tyler Florence’s Fresh at San Francisco International Airport.

“We are so excited for this opportunity to become more involved with Union Square and the revitalization of downtown San Francisco,” said Chef Florence. “Miller & Lux Provisions is going to usher in a new era of casual, contemporary American dining. Right here in the plaza, it will feel like an exquisite picnic. We’re not only looking forward to the holidays, but being part of the long-term transformation of this beautiful and historic space.”

Back in April, the Recreation and Park Department issued a request for proposals that would bring in new restaurants to Union Square, ensuring that it remains a vibrant and attractive space for residents and visitors alike.

“Delicious food and great public spaces go hand in hand,” said Phil Ginsburg, Rec and Park general manager. “Union Square is among San Francisco’s most iconic plazas and the site of cultural celebrations, live music, movie nights and so many other great events. It is exciting to have new, creative and irresistible food options in its heart.”

The cafes advance Mayor Breed’s Roadmap to San Francisco’s Future, a comprehensive plan to reinvigorate Downtown and solidify San Francisco’s reputation as a thriving global destination, The plan calls for increased attractions and activities in public spaces like Union Square that boost foot traffic and support area businesses along with a host of other initiatives including programs to fill vacant ground floor spaces, reforms to the city’s zoning and tax laws to attract new businesses, and significant investments in public safety and cleaner streets.

Over the last 15 months, 27 new businesses have opened and signed deals in the Union Square area and visitor activity increased 15.67% from January to September 2023 in comparison to the same time period in 2022.

“We want to make Downtown a place of experience – for residents and for visitors – and that means we need to foster those that will draw people into the area,” said Sarah Dennis Phillips, executive director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “We are excited to welcome these new cafes that will provide a marquee attraction in the heart of Union Square just in time for the holiday season, encouraging more people to shop and dine Downtown in support of our local economy.”

The new establishments opened their doors in time for Union Square’s busy holiday season, which includes the arrival of the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink and the traditional Macy’s Great Tree. The launches are a welcome addition to the area as the city looks for opportunities to activate downtown spaces and revitalize the neighborhood with new and appealing attractions that will keep people coming back.

For decades, Union Square has been known as an international destination for quality retail shopping, luxury hotels, world-class cultural institutions, vibrant public spaces, and exceptional dining. In addition, visitors from across the globe are drawn to the many events held in the square, including the Union Square in Bloom event in May that brings oversized floral displays to the area; American Tulip Day, which draws 35,000 visitors each year; and the Union Square in Bloom Summer Music Series, which brings as many as 1,000 people weekly. Other annual events include the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink, which kicked off earlier this month; the SFSPCA Holiday Windows at Macy’s, the Macy’s Great Tree; and the Bill Graham Menorah.

Also, Outside Lands producer Another Planet Entertainment has committed to bringing free outdoor concerts to downtown public spaces, including Union Square, for three consecutive years starting in 2024.

Aside from the annual events and new activations, the city has prioritized security in the area through public safety investments at the square and its underground garage, including improved lighting, increased police patrols, park ranger outreach, and additional ambassadors to oversee additional security tasks, janitorial duties, and customer service.

(SF Mayor’s Office Release)

 

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