“On that side of the park it’s going to smell like roast chicken. On this side, it’s going to smell like freshly baked cookies,” said Florence, while standing in front of the new Miller and Lux Provisions bakery, near the Powell Street cable car line.
Florence is betting on San Francisco’s economic recovery. He won the bid to open two new cafes right on the square and on Monday the doors opened.
“It’s been a steady flow of people all day. We opened at 7:30 this morning. At 7:40 there was a line out the door,” Florence said.
The team at his restaurant Miller and Lux helped launch the two Miller and Lux Provisions cafes.
One of them is a pastry shop that will serve coffee, cookies, pastries and cakes from Florence pastry chef Karla Marro.
The other cafe is a barbecue joint on the east side of the square near Stockton Street that is open late and serves organic roast chicken, roast potatoes, salads, wine and beer.
“We’ve been fans of Tyler Florence for many years and were excited when we heard this was starting,” said Rishi Chopra, a San Francisco resident who came to try the food with his sister Joy Chopra.
“I tried the devil’s cake. It was really good. The coffee was really good. It’s good to see Union Square getting lively again,” said Joy Chopra.
Tourists from out of town on Monday were thrilled to meet the celebrity chef in person.
“We walked by and I saw Tyler Florence standing outside and I thought, what the hell, you know,” said Kyle Niland of Pittsburgh, who came to get food with his wife.
“Tortellini salad and I got a pinot, and he got a beer,” said Kristina Niland, pointing to her husband’s cup.
The two cafes are part of a larger effort by the city to bring people back to the heart of the city.
On Thursday, November 9th, the big Macy’s tree is set to be illuminated.
The ice skating rink is scheduled to remain open until January.
The city plans to close Stockton Street once again this year and turn it into a temporary outdoor Winter Walk park from December 15th to 24th.
“We will have food trucks, music, a stage, Santa Claus and other activations at Winter Walk,” said Marisa Rodriguez, CEO of the Union Square Alliance.
Rodriguez says safety remains a priority.
“We are seeing police officers throughout the district. The mobile command center remains set up near the park,” said Rodriguez, “We have all of our ambassadors and the SF Travel ambassadors also welcoming people to the Plaza.”
San Francisco officials approved a three-year lease with Florence’s business, with the option of extension.
“We are all in this together to do what we can to bring San Francisco back,” Florence said.