The former home to a beloved Burlingame eatery and watering hole stands to be transformed into a new dining destination under plans allowing the Twelvemonth Restaurant, Lounge and Bakery to occupy the old Steelhead Brewing Company location.
The Burlingame Planning Commission unanimously endorsed a proposal during a meeting Monday, March 22, for the new vegan restaurant to take over the building at 321 California Drive where the brewery operated until recently shuttering during the height of the pandemic.
Twelvemonth founder Bob Trahan detailed his ambitious culinary vision during the meeting.
“I think Burlingame is ready for its second Michelin star restaurant,” Trahan said. Contemporary Indian restaurant Rasa, located at 209 Park Road, has won the prestigious industry recognition previously.
Trahan, the former director of engineering at Facebook, left the tech industry and turned his attention to the restaurant world. The Hillsborough resident said he considers Burlingame his home community, and looks forward to pursuing his next adventure in his own backyard.
“I’m super excited about it,” he said of the restaurant planned to specialize in plant-based fare. “I think it is going to be amazing.”
Plans call for overhauling the once yawning space into a flexible dining area with amenities such as outside seating or private rooms and eventually opening a bakery and coffee shop to quickly accommodate guests seeking an alternative to the full restaurant experience.
Trahan anticipates the bakery could be a regional draw, noting that locals seeking vegan doughnuts would currently have to travel to San Francisco or San Jose to collect the sweet treats he expects to sell from the Burlingame site.
A key component of the concept calls for rebuilding the parking lot facing Lorton Avenue that once served guests at the brewery into a courtyard area where those visiting the restaurant can sit and enjoy their meal. There is a lounge and bar area with a more intimate setting as well.
“A visit to Burlingame’s Twelvemonth will be an extraordinary experience, a celebration of beauty, healthy sustainable living and a sense of community,” according to a planning document describing the restaurant’s vision.
And the restaurant will also feature an outdoor garden with a greenhouse, which Trahan said will yield fresh ingredients to be used in the kitchen.
“It’s going to be pretty high quality, really amazing food,” Trahan said.
Planning Commissioner Richard Terrones shared his excitement for the new restaurant, while expressing dismay over the previous tenant’s demise.
“There is some great energy being brought with this project,” Terrones said.
Steelhead Brewing Company, a pioneer in the Bay Area’s microbrewery scene, opened in Burlingame in 1995. It operated at the site until last May when it was claimed by the COVID-19 shutdown. A sibling brewery continues operating in Eugene, Oregon.
Commissioner Will Loftis shared Terrones’ opinion regarding the loss of the brewery, which was a popular haunt for local families and beer drinkers alike. But looking ahead, Loftis admired the opportunity to reimagine the space, particularly the parking lot facing Lorton Avenue.
“It was a bad parking lot but it will make a great courtyard,” he said.
Commissioner Sandy Comaroto further heaped praise on the proposal.
“I think you’ve done a great job and I can’t wait to get down there,” she said.
Meanwhile, commission Chair Audrey Tse expressed her appreciation to Trahan for starting his foray into the culinary world locally.
“Thank you for choosing to invest in Burlingame,” she said.