It was two days before RH was to welcome more than 1,000 guests to its new showroom at San Francisco’s Pier 70 for a March opening party, and CEO Gary Friedman was eating French toast in the building’s glass-enclosed Palm Court restaurant.
He was not pleased.
“Over-cooked on the outside and squishy on the inside,” said Friedman, who built the luxury home furnishing company formerly known as Restoration Hardware into a global luxury brand.
It would not be the last time Friedman would try the toast, or everything else on the menu. He said he would test all of the items 10 times before opening day.
“You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression,” he added. “Especially in a town like San Francisco.”
That first impression was pushed back a couple months as Friedman tweaked the menu. The showroom will finally open on Thursday, more than six years after plans were first announced.
“People ask, ‘When are we going to open Gary?’ I say, ‘When we are ready,’” Friedman said in March. “We had to commit to a party but I don’t like to commit to an opening, especially with a new restaurant concept, until we have executed the menu over and over.”
Furniture from RH Contemporary is seen on display at RH San Francisco, The Gallery at the Historic Bethlehem Steel Building in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, April 18, 2022. Restoration Hardware has taken over the historic building in the developing Pier 70 neighborhood and converted it into a showroom with an atrium restaurant, rooftop patios and wine bar.
Laura Morton / Special to The Chronicle
RH has opened deluxe galleries with restaurants in more than a dozen cities, including New York, Chicago, West Palm Beach, Dallas and Yountville in Napa. The San Francisco restoration of a historic Bethlehem Steel building at Pier 70 is perhaps the most ambitious.
Back in 2016, the 80,000 square-foot 1917 classical revival building, had been vacant for decades and over the years had been looted of some of its architectural ornamentation. Graffiti covered some of the wood-paneled and marble-clad surfaces.
Furniture from RH Contemporary is seen on display at RH San Francisco, The Gallery at the Historic Bethlehem Steel Building in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, April 18, 2022. Restoration Hardware has taken over the historic building in the developing Pier 70 …….