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Feb-13-2012

Chomp N’ Swig opens for business on Clement near 17th


Albert (L) and David, co-owners of the new Chomp N’ Swig cafe on Clement

On Saturday during a neighborhood stroll, I was pleased to see the doors had re-opened at 1541 Clement Street. Cafe Mereb closed a few weeks ago, but newcomer Chomp N’ Swig has breathed fresh life into the small space.

Friendly owners David and Albert are new to the restaurant business. David was behind the bar when I arrived and Albert was busy making espressos and grilled cheese sandwiches.

They did a great job of transforming the run-down cafe space; it’s amazing what paint and new furniture can do. Now there’s a bar you can step up to, a fun mural on the wall, and high, communal dining tables. There’s also two screens in the cafe, with plans to show the big games of the day. “We’re getting our cable installed next week,” David said.

Chomp N’ Swig has only been open a week but neighbors are already popping in to check out the new establishment. The menu is small to start featuring $5.50 – $6.50 sandwiches like spicy beef, grilled cheese and “BBQ Chomp” filled with slow-cooked pork shoulder topped with slaw on a brioche roll. Sides dishes are hummus and pita, bean salad or potato chips.

The cafe is definitely targeting the beer and sandwich crowd. Beers on tap include Blue Moon, Sierra Nevada, and Pabst Blue Ribbon (see the full beer menu). Happy hours take place every weeknight from 3pm until 7pm, and on Fridays and Saturdays, they’re planning a “reverse happy hour” from 7pm until 11pm. Also available at the bar are Soju cocktails, a liquor with a taste comparable to vodka that can be mixed with other beverages.

David said their cooking is fairly restricted due to a limited kitchen (and stringent city codes), so they’re focused on serving slow-cooked foods and easy prep items. “We plan to add to the menu as we go,” David said. Bread pudding will be their first dessert item.

The cafe opens early at 7am, offering coffee and pastries for now. David says they are targeting a weekend brunch menu as well.

I didn’t have a chance to sample any menu items while I was in there. But one diner left a thumbs up review on the cafe’s Facebook page: “Just had a PBR and the spicy beef sandwich. Yum! Friend had the Moho sandwich. Double Yum. Definitely coming back here. Cool neighborhood vibe. Just what the doctor ordered.”

I told David that when we posted about their planned opening here on the blog, one commenter was less than thrilled with their “vivid” name. “Oh no!” he said, laughing. You can blame the name on Albert’s wife – she came up with it. It could have been worse – “Chug & Chomp” was another contender.

Chomp N’ Swig is located at 1541 Clement Street and is open daily from 7am until 9pm, late until 11pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Stop in and welcome them to the neighborhood!

Sarah B.

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8:30 am | Posted under Business, Food | 22 comments
  1. kayvaan said (02/13/12; 10:26 am):

    I looked in over the weekend. Despite the gross name the place has a very inviting vibe. I’ll try it out and post a review soon.

  2. Mycrobe said (02/13/12; 10:56 am):

    This is exactly what our neighborhood needs! I’m looking forward to checking it out!

  3. kayvaan said (02/13/12; 11:01 am):

    BTW – this right next to Hot Sauce & Panko makes for a pretty good combo. I hope HS&P can up their game in terms of customer service. They’re

  4. Tom said (02/13/12; 12:31 pm):

    I look forward to checking it out but I definitely question the name.

  5. Richmond Wow said (02/13/12; 12:31 pm):

    Very much looking forward to discovering the new place and joining the beer and sandwich crowd! Welcome to the neighborhood.

  6. David said (02/13/12; 1:46 pm):

    What’s in a name, as long as the food’s good? :)

    I look forward to stopping in soon!

  7. J said (02/13/12; 3:42 pm):

    So now there is SF Brewcraft, Hot Sauce and Panko, and now this place right next to each other? Is this the beginning of a new little retail area opening up there? I hope so…

  8. Administrator said (02/13/12; 5:19 pm):

    @J – Ha, you could have quite the progressive party moving from place to place :)

    Sarah B.

  9. BC said (02/13/12; 5:42 pm):

    ate here recently..and enjoyed. tried two sandwiches out. delicious. Good vibe. Hope to see our little hood keep growing. This place is my new haunt. treat yourself. :)

  10. Fay Nissenbaum said (02/13/12; 10:58 pm):

    “They did a great job of transforming the run-down cafe space…” Point of correction: The Cafe Mareb people worked hard to dress up their space – definitely not “run-down” as the writer would have us believe. This is cursed location for food establishments. longtime residents know this was the home of Spectrum Computer shop for years until they moved up to 12th&Clement. Both this space and the one opposite Tia Margarita seem doomed to fail. I wish the owners luck but let’s be realistic not full of hype; some of the planted comments gush suspiciously like friends of the new owners.

  11. Chomp N' Swig said (02/13/12; 11:13 pm):

    Thanks for all the great comments! It’s great to hear real feed back from our customers and neighbors.
    Hope to see you all soon!
    Cheers,
    Chomp N’ Swig

  12. kayvaan said (02/14/12; 12:07 pm):

    Fay – I agree, Cafe Mereb was not run-down. It was also very inviting. I disagree with the “run-down” characterization too.

    On the other hand, I have no problem with hype and gushing for a new business that’s trying to improve our ‘hood. More power to them. Let’s give new businesses like this the benefit of the doubt at least before we write them off as “cursed”.

  13. Kelly Wilkinson said (02/14/12; 12:10 pm):

    The restaurant looks like it’s in a great location, and you really can’t go wrong with sandwiches and beer. We are looking forward to checking it out and wish the owners great success!! And for Fay Nissenbaum’s comment, way to show your support for small businesses… Do you need a hug?

  14. Jill Blevins said (02/14/12; 12:24 pm):

    Walking by, it looks like a place that should be located in a busier area. You can say what you like about Cafe Mereb, but no way would I ever set foot in that place. It felt like I might be invading someone’s private space. Not inviting at all. This place is decorated well, looks like a clean, inviting establishment, and as if more than family members belong inside.

    That said, I’m not sure I’ll ever visit so somebody else go and Yelp/let this blog know if it’s good. It’s just not close enough for me to walk, and not a destination enough to drive.

  15. Savage said (02/14/12; 1:36 pm):

    It is true that particular location has not been kind to new businesses. The parking is very tough so it might discourage people from other districts to get there. It seems as only that beer place can survive on that block.
    But I will def be trying this place and give my support. It seems like a cool place looking at the decor and the food sounds descent too. Hope they stay in business for a long time.

  16. kayvaan said (02/14/12; 2:04 pm):

    I would say the right business can do fine. Look at Panko. I would argue right now they are TOO successful :)

  17. Sean P said (02/15/12; 6:17 am):

    Tried to check it out on a Tuesday at 7:30pm, but sandwiches were sold out (except for grilled cheese)… disheartening for a beer place with only 4 on tap (one of which is PBR? I hope that fad ends soon). Might stop in after a few weeks, when they get a rhythm going (if I remember about it).

  18. Kerry said (02/17/12; 4:51 pm):

    I went last night and liked the place. It’s across the street, so I hope it stays in business! I’m also somewhat disappointed with only 4 taps (PBR, Blue Moon, Sam Adams, and Sierra Nevada, if I remember correctly), but they have a lot of really great bottles, which should keep me coming back. The sandwiches are selling out because they’re offering a Scoutmob deal that lots of people are using.

  19. Joe J. said (02/21/12; 2:57 pm):

    Swung by on Sunday afternoon while running errands and tried the place out for lunch. Had the BBQ Chomp (pulled pork with cole slaw on brioche). Quite good. I’ll definitely have it again. Only looked like a couple of beers on tap, but lots to choose from in the bottle. The owners seem to be into beer, so I expect a good rotation of new and interesting selections. Friendly vibe (as mentioned above) and I wish them well. All in all, a good addition to the neighborhood. Oh, did I mention bacon butter? It was an option for grilled cheese (I think).

  20. Cheryl said (02/24/12; 12:26 pm):

    Personally, I love the name, and can’t wait to check this place out! Would be nice to have an outside table or two, if permits allow.

  21. Billy said (02/28/12; 8:21 pm):

    This place is looks to be one step away from being a great little wine type bar along with what they are already doing which is awesome. I liked their selection when I went by. As to the name….the Marina has Tipsy Pig, Irving has Chug Pub and now we have Chomp and Swig….thats what the new business naming crews are up to these days…these guys are hitting it out of the park. Parking is not that bad–Ross, Walgreens and Tia’s do just fine in the hood with customers getting parking. I stopped by for coffee and lunch and was impressed with the nice attitude and good energy. Finally the mid richmond on the Presidio side of Geary has a place with hip design and fun food and beers like other neighborhoods in the City that rock! Who needs to go across town now?

  22. kayvaan said (03/5/12; 10:38 am):

    I stopped in on Friday. I had the Moho Pork sandwich. It was very good and reasonably priced. Guy behind the counter was super friendly.

    It seems the place is more focused on beer than food, which is fine but not my cup of tea as I don’t really drink anymore. But beer lovers might really love it.

    But still, a nice vibe. Looking forward to trying everything on the menu. Shouldn’t take long. ;)

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