SF Food Industry Pro Andrew Freeman Shares His Haute Secrets

Andrew Freeman poses with his dogs
Andrew Freeman poses with his dogs

Photo Credit: Hardy Wilson

When it comes to the San Francisco restaurant industry, Andrew Freeman knows everyone. The owner of a namesake public relations and marketing firm, Andrew Freeman & Co., Freeman is a man about town who is constantly running from restaurant to charity event and back again. He’s helped put on Eat Drink SF, the city’s only all encompassing food festival, and is gearing up to eat his way through the 9th annual event, which takes place next weekend, August 24-27 at Fort Mason. He’s also an active leader in the LBGTQ community and devoted dad to two adorable yorkies. Since we are huge fans of the outgoing hospitality pro, we wanted to learn more about his life here in the beautiful city by the Bay. Here, in his own words, he shares his guide to SF.

Where were you born: The beautiful cosmopolitan spot, Passaic, New Jersey

How long in San Francisco: 20 years this year!

Neighborhood: Currently living in SOMA.

Occupation: Owner of AF&Co.—a restaurant and hospitality PR, marketing and consulting agency.

Favorite restaurant: Wow, that is like choosing my favorite kid, but if I have to pick it would be Perbacco. Next up would be my go to spot—Zuni Café.

Best sushi: ICHI Sushi for sure and I do love a night out at Sushi Ran in Sausalito.

Best Italian: Perbacco, Barbacco and I also love Poggio in Sausalito. For a big night Acquarello is absolutely amazing.

Pastry chef Lori Baker's six layer cake (made of red velvet, devils food, chocolate mousse, tiramisu, raspberry jam, and raspberry buttercream) was recently on the menu at Bluestem Brasserie.
Pastry chef Lori Baker’s six layer cake (made of red velvet, devils food, chocolate mousse, tiramisu, raspberry jam, and raspberry buttercream) was recently on the menu at Bluestem Brasserie.

Best dessert: Any of Lori Baker’s desserts that she makes at Bluestem Brasserie. I also love cookies. Hot Cookie in the Castro is one of my favorites and of course there is Salt & Straw, my new favorite spot for ice cream. I will kill for their chocolate gooey brownie and I love their monthly rotating flavors too.

Best place for a romantic date: Rooh – I love the sexy vibe of the dining room and if you are lucky you can nab one of the booths. Runners up would be Black Cat (the downstairs room is so sexy and it comes with jazz and great food/drinks) and Feinstein’s at The Hotel Nikko for a great show and bites. Another fun date would burgers at Gott’s Roadside and then a walk through the Ferry Building.

Best Sunday brunch: My new favorite is Finn Town. It’s like the gay Cheers and the food is really delicious.

Best place for a power business meeting: E&O Kitchen and Bar – love the location and you can have something light or indulge a bit. Plus, it’s really convenient for a downtown meeting. I also love lunch at One Market. It’s iconic and you feel very powerful when you are dining there—deals will be done for sure.

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? The Alise SF. I love the location (close to Union Square) and the vibe of the hotel. My runners up are The Warwick and The Intercontinental. Parc 55 also has great services and amazing views.

Favorite shopping venue/boutique: For me it’s Westfield—I am a Bloomindale’s/Nordstrom guy. I also use a custom tailor/shopping service Tom James for suits and jackets. I love them. For my yorkie kids Daisy and Tulip it’s Best in Show in the Castro. We have been shopping there for years.

Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches: I love David Yurman, so I tend to shop at department stores, but a great find in a boutique in SOHO or Palm Springs (the design district) is also awesome. I am always on the lookout for unique items. Every few years it’s a splurge at Bulgari.

Best spa: Castro Day Spa. My office kids me that I should have stock there. They do great facials and I’ve been going there for almost 20 years. I also love Kabuki (men’s days) and The Nob Hill Spa. For my girls, it’s San Francisco Pet Groomers. They have been getting their hair done there for 12 years.

Last year's performance at the Richmond Ermet AID Foundation's gala
Last year’s performance at the Richmond Ermet AID Foundation’s gala

Favorite charity event: People call me a bit of a charity overachiever, so I have three favorites that I am passionate about. Dress for Success San Francisco, their gala was on July 19. The Richmond Ermet AID Foundation, their gala and show is coming up on August 20. I am a proud new board member of CUESA and their big event is Sunday Supper in October.

Favorite cultural event: Eat Drink SF and Gay Pride—there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. Also Beach Blanket Babylon is an SF institution.

Favorite cultural institution: The DeYoung and The Orpheum Theater. I love going to see shows. Name a show and I will sing you every song!

Best steakhouse: Epic Steak and House of Prime Rib

Best pizza: Pausa in San Mateo, Poggio in Sausalito, and I love Nizario’s.

Best lunch: Barcha or Bluestem Brasserie. At my desk, it’s a salad from Focaccia.

Best gym/athletic facility: I am a yoga guy and my favorite studio is Yoga Tree Castro. I love the classes with Mark Morford. His Sunday morning class is like going to church. My gym is SF Fitness.

Best massage: Kabuki and Always Tan and Body in the Castro.

Best limousine/driving service: Despite some of the recent issues which I know they are fixing, I am still dedicated to Uber.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum
The Contemporary Jewish Museum

Best museum/exhibit: I enjoy going to the Contemporary Jewish Museum and love all their exhibits (and some great Matzo Ball Soup at Wise Sons). The Summer of Love exhibit at the DeYoung right now is amazing.

Describe your city in three words: Vibrant, delicious and fun. Bonus word: wonderful.

Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: My favorite run is along the Embarcadero. You discover the magic and beauty of this city over and over again. The steps to Coit Tower and the views from there are extraordinary. A ride over the Golden Gate still takes my breath away.

All-around favorite spot in San Francisco: The Castro (love the neighborhood feel) and I love Golden Gate Park. Next up is the Ferry Building—especially on Saturdays for the Farmer’s Market. Great produce and better networking.

Best aspect of San Francisco: How inclusive it is and how much everyone is obsessed with food, wine, and cocktails. And of course, the physical beauty of our great city.