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.
Daniel Evers - Chef De Cuisine
A Bay Area native, Daniel fell in love with produce at a young age, spending invaluable time digging around his mother’s garden. A decade and one French Culinary Institute degree later, he debuted as an intern at Craft, NY. After years in the busy, New York fine-dining scene that took him all the way to double Michelin-starred Marea, Daniel feels he has honed an indelible sense of efficacy and effective delegation in the kitchen. A quickly rising leader in the kitchen, he never sacrifices organization or high standards, no matter how many guests may walk through the door. He finds the lightly cured trout with bashed cucumbers, crispy potato and miso bagna cauda to be the menu item most reflective of himself. “It is both aggressively flavored and well-balanced, many interesting, strong components that come together to form something clean and delicious.” Enough said.
Liz Subauste - GM
GM and Partner at AL’s Place, Liz grew up in Lima, Peru, where summers filled with “cold drinks and fresh seafood” fostered an innate love for the culinary world. From the humble roots of helper at her mother’s country club concession stand, to a degree in Culinary Arts and Hospitality, Liz has morphed into a consulting titan and force to be reckoned with in the industry. With the opening and structuring of notables such as NYC’s Toro, as well as SF’s own AL’s Place and Mr. Jiu’s under her belt, her quick wit and “how can we improve” attitude keep the front of house wheels constantly churning and hungry for new terrain. The menu item Liz most identifies with are the brine-pickled french fries with smoked apple sauce. In her words, they are “different but familiar…fun and wacky.” Always cool, calm and collected, this precocious Peruvian not only casts the glue that binds the house together, but perhaps more importantly, orchestrates the boomies responsible for our Instagram fame.
Julie Mackay - Manager
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.
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.