Weird Fish, closed since April 1, will have a new chef and possibly fewer fish when it reopens.

Weird Fish, one of the Mission’s quirky-yet-popular restaurants owned by Timothy Holt and Peter Hood has been mysteriously “closed for repairs” since April 1.

But that’s not the whole story. Following a decline in customer satisfaction, Weird Fish’s future is being negotiated: the ownership and the menu.

“The partners have decided they’re splitting ways,” said Naomi Brilliant, co-owner Timothy Holt’s girlfriend.

The couple live on Brilliant’s Roshambo Farms in Healdsburg, which provided most of Weird Fish’s veggies.

“I think Timothy’s going to end up with the restaurant,” she said.

But in an email to Mission Loc@l, Holt wrote, “I have taken a break from the restaurant to plant farmland I live on,” referring to Roshambo Farms.

This is just the latest confusion about the popular seafood restaurant, opened in 2006 by Holt and Hood on Mission Street at 18th.

On April 2 this year, a post on Weird Fish’s Facebook page read that co-owner Hood, not Holt, would be solely “taking over” the restaurant, which would be closed for “the next few weeks.”

It would not be the first time Holt left a restaurant he started with Hood. The pair started the Corner restaurant just two doors down from Weird Fish in early 2009. Later the same year, Holt left the Corner.

With the change, Holt brought executive chef Alex Jackson from the Corner to Weird Fish, leading to a truly San Francisco-style controversy as Weird Fish’s menu changed radically. Popular vegan options such as a fish and chips alternative disappeared.

Jackson left the restaurant in April 2010, according to Holt, but discontent among some customers has remained. A recent Yelp review sums up their sentiment: “I miss the old Weird Fish.”

“We are changing the menu, and getting back to our roots,” the April 2 post said.

On April 22, another Facebook post offered hope: “I believe we are turning a corner, and will be open in a few weeks.”

But in his May 3 email to Mission Loc@l, Holt said that he’s “not quite sure when we’ll reopen.”

Holt declined to comment on his partnership with Hood, but said that when the restaurant reopens, it will have a new chef.

What other changes can customers expect? “I am internally torn with the sustainability of seafood, so I will have to see what we can do with locally caught products,” said Holt. “Honestly, most fish need a break.”

Until these dilemmas are sorted out, a Bull Dog bike lock holds shut the gate to Weird Fish.

UPDATE, 5/9/11:  In an e-mail to Mission Loc@l, restaurant manager Vince Rodrigues said that Timothy Holt will be taking sole ownership of Weird Fish.  This has been confirmed by Holt.

J.J. Barrow

J.J. Barrow began reporting for Mission Local in 2010. She once rode the 49 Van Ness-Mission for six hours straight while the rest of the city tuned in to the World Series — until revelry ended the...

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15 Comments

  1. I used to go to Weird Fish all the time since it was a place my wife and I could get something both veggie and non-veggie and both be really happy.

    Then they changed the menu and got rid of the fried tofu option, the vegan option was meh and we didn’t really see a need to go back.

  2. The salads were fresh and delicious. Fish tasted great. Even had my pretty waitress buy me an Anchor Steam one time, which i greatly appreciated. I never saw a bad side to them and they are missed.

  3. I brought friends all the time for the vegetarian Buffalo Girls, and then they were gone. Bring ’em back!

  4. we gave up going to weird fish because of the total unpredictability of whether it was going to be open for brunch or not and the total unpredictability of the menu in the evenings. which _sucks_ cause the buffalo boys/gals and the fish and chips were some of the best food in SF and i loved spending my money in the neighborhood and on sustainable local food 🙁

    also : we miss you alex the waitress you are awesome ! 🙁

  5. While the fish dishes were tasty, the vegan options were more of a rare treat and the restaurant would be better off if it returned to those roots. I truly missed the fried tofu po’boy sandwich after it was discontinued and ordered it off the menu more than once. My husband and I ate breakfast at Weird Fish almost weekly in the beginning, and usually ate the veggie options. We quit going when the menu changed.

    Bring back the sustainable, meatless Weird Fish!

  6. Does anyone know who the original chef was at Weird Fish? I’ve been searching around but can’t find a name, even in early reviews.

  7. In fact we are closed for repairs and a bit of remodeling, and the relaunch is in the works.

    Timothy Holt is in fact taking over sole ownership of Weird Fish. We’re currently interviewing new chefs, and returning back to the menu that put this restaurant on the map and in the hearts of our progressive Mission community.

    There in fact was a short stint where the menu direction had shifted from the old favorites to a more specialized ‘farm to table’ options. This was highly inspired by Timothy’s focus on Roshambo Farms with Naomi Brilliant. Well, it’s safe to say that our mission locals and loyal diners were surprised by the change. Well, no more surprises. We’re getting back on track and bringing back the old menu.

    Timothy will continue to focus the majority of his time on the farm, and will be delivering farm fresh ingredients a few days during the week. I will be on-site as manager and keeping the menu on track. So the regulars can expect the return of affordable veggie and pescatarian options, delicious wine selections, and a few local beers on tap. We’ll also be adding some seasonal sides – fresh from the farm.

    Hopefully folks will understand the previous menu changes were less about business motivation and more a continuation of a passionate dream. The truth is, we will bring this business back with the dishes people love. Then once back in balance, we’ll open another – totally separate restaurant – for those diners who are craving food as edible art. In the meantime, we’re solidifying our plans on paper and navigating this weathered ship into friendlier waters. Full circle!

    I’ll keep you posted as the relaunch gets closer.

    Sincerely,
    Vince • Manager Weird Fish

    1. thanks for the detailed explanation Vince !

      looking forward to coming back when you reopen, best of luck with everything.

  8. I loved the old Weird Fish, but I REALLY loved the farm-to-table Weird Fish that just closed. The food was among the best in the city. None of my friends realized that the menu had changed when I raved about it and then they never got a chance to check it out.

    I wish they had asked us to spread the word rather than just closing the doors.

    1. As mentioned above, we’re going back to our roots with the return of old favorites from the original menu. And! We will also be preparing farm to table seasonal sides. A sort of greatest hits of our menu development over the years.

      The principles we stand by are local and sustainable. Timothy and Naomi are working hard everyday on RoShamBo farms – and will be delivering fresh veggies and farm eggs.

      Local also includes artists! We’re currently working with Romanowski, local artist and DJ extraordinaire. Not only will we feature a permanent installation of Romans art as a border for our new DJ booth, he will also be curating a designated wall featuring local artists.

      The art wall will change every two months. We’ll have opening and closing parties with local beers, wine and paired appetizers. For these events the dining area will be cleared of tables, to make room for some elbo bumping and booty shaking.

      It’s all in the works, and we’re looking to relaunch on June 21st. We’ll be posting some updates on weirdfishsf.com and in the window at Weird Fish, and circulating a flier very soon.

      Much love and looking forward to sharing all this goodness with you, Vince

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