Al's Place is a neighborhood restaurant in the Mission district of San Francisco from chef-owner Aaron London. We offer a seasonal, ingredient-driven menu, that highlights the produce of Northern California.
Al's Place has no dress code. We want to create a fun, relaxed and exciting place for people to come together and enjoy food in company of family and friends!
Aaron London - Chef/Owner
Hailing from West Sonoma County, Aaron London has been banging around the kitchen since he could reach the pots and pans. Constantly cooking for neighbors and family as a youth, the obsession with all things culinary carved his inevitable path to “chefdom.” With experience in top-tier Michelin starred restaurants such as L’ Astrance, Daniel, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the AL’s Place cuisine touts our fearless leader’s expansive palate and boundless capacity to explore and create. When pressed to pick one dish most representative of himself, he references the menu’s ‘eat-with-your-hands’ baby lettuces with herbed avocado and pistachio, explaining how they showcase his connection to the garden, as well as “taking something common and making it really special.” Tattooed and tactical, gregarious yet precise, the heartbeat and mastermind behind AL’s Place never ceases to tease and awaken San Francisco’s unsuspecting eaters.
Diana Peschel - General Manager
A true native Californian, Diana has roots in both Southern and Northern California. Growing up in San Diego and Humboldt Counties spawned an early affinity for the open waters and wilderness. Being the daughter of a Filipina immigrant who loved to cook and entertain; exposure to a variety of delicious and cultural foods has been a part of her life from the very beginning. Thus Diana developed a passion early on for all things culinary and hospitality related. After many years in the hospitality industry, she has devoted a majority of her career to the restaurant community here in San Francisco. Having worked at restaurants such as Citizen Cake, Zuni Café, Incanto and Gary Danko; she has been a part of the constantly evolving and innovative dining landscape that prevails in San Francisco. As a natural born leader with an eye for detail, she has successfully opened multiple restaurants. Most recently opening and managing at The Progress as AGM/Operations. As a dish on the menu, Diana envisions herself as the sunchoke curry with citrus jewels and black lime dusted cod. “It’s such a unique dish, prepared and plated with such delicacy. The flavors and textures dance the line between great acidity and velvety richness.”
Elliot Engel - Music Director
Starting life out in Plainfield, Wisconsin, Elliot Engel snagged his first restaurant job running food and bussing tables at age 15. After a decision involving blue hair dye and a small conservative town, Elliot decided it was always helpful for one to “stop, look, and listen.” And this ingrained inclination would play a key role in his path to AL’s Place Music Director. Constantly traveling to music festivals and far-off lands, Elliot channels his experiential awareness into the eclectic jams and groovy vibes that pulse throughout each service. New school, old school, somewhere in between, the music pairings at AL’s keep guests bouncing and staff smiling. As an AL’s Place dish, this playlist dynamo finds himself most similar to the sun choke curry with citrus jewels and black-lime yellowtail: “It’s a dynamic dish that melds flavors from around the world, and I love that it expands on a general formula in creative and different ways each season.” Sounds incredible…but as the title of the Wednesday mix commands, just shut up and play the hits.
Julie Mackay - AGM
A wild Washingtonian at heart, Julie has called San Francisco home since 2009. With nearly fifteen years front of house experience, she’s worn every hat from hostess to food runner to server to manager. After hopping around the fine dining pool in places such as Michael Mina and Quince, she found a true home in Aaron London’s cozy blue-painted nook on 26th and Valencia. A former English teacher and avid lover of words, she’s always there to keep the staff’s food and wine descriptions eloquent and on point. Her daily “5 Minutes of Wine Time” allow staff to discuss and fine-tune knowledge on specific bottles and producers. If she were to find solidarity with one menu item, it would be the roasted beets with borscht-spiced seeds and burrata. “You think you know how the components taste and what you’re going to get, but you have NO idea. The flavors come at your palate in the most perfect storm.”
Justin Roberts - Wine Director
Growing up in the South Bay, Justin Roberts stayed a busy and competitive child, trying his hand at everything from soccer to guitar. At the age of 24, backed with experience at several different liquor companies and a culinary arts degree, he started as a barback and food runner at Aqua. It was there he took on his first wine gig: receiving, sorting and organizing shipments. Or as he likes to joke, working as the “cellar rat.” During his early twenties he developed an infatuation with obscure grape varieties and boutique producers. As the guru of oenology at AL’s, Justin has managed to sculpt a list that’s both approachable and worthy of admiration from even the most particular of vintners. Whether your craving an Austrian Rotgipfler or Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, he’s got you covered. As a dish on the menu, Justin would consider himself the steak tartare with pickled kohlrabi and black mandarin oil. As he says, “It reads simple enough. But there are layers on layers of flavors and textures as you begin to explore.” We’ll take two.
Kyle Greffin - Bar Director
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Kyle found himself sandwiched between two sisters and transplanted in California by the age of 7. Introduced to the world of hospitality through a country club job in Orange County, he gleaned an infectious capacity to whittle out a smile from even the shyest of patrons. After venturing north and settling down in San Francisco, Kyle helped craft beverage programs for places ranging from major international hotel chains to smaller local spots like the Castro’s Starbelly. Whether biking across the peninsula or concocting the coolest vermouth-based drinks in town, he’s always on the move; waxing poetic on “the importance of hand-cut ice cubes” and “the citrusy nose of Motueka hops.” And much to Liz Subauste’s chagrin, his awkward behind the bar dancing (aka “noodling”) has become an AL’s Place staple. As a dish on the menu, Kyle sees himself as the brassicas with apple-dashi yuzu vinaigrette and mushroom relish. As he concisely puts it, “They’re a little spicy and a little sweet.” It’s all about that balance.
Blue Dane Garden
A biodynamically run operation located in Grass Valley, Blue Dane Garden is run by married duo Rose and Dakota Becker. Chef Aaron has been working with Rose Becker for years, back when they were at Ubuntu in Napa Valley.
Blue Dane grows produce exclusively for AL’s Place, and we source the majority of our produce from them. Despite the two hour driving distance, Rose and Dakota take turns making weekly produce runs to AL’s. The key and unique component here revolves around the fact that all produce is delivered still potted in soil, and kept as such in our basement grow area until right before every service.
Some of the most special and noteable items on the menu from Blue Dane include our radishes, sweet herbs, and baby lettuces.