John Zirinsky, Ben Buchanan, Jimmy Simpson, & chef Max Snyder — Old Bus Tavern
“Getting to work with friends is awesome — we're having a good time and also learning a lot...”

From inside the shell of an old Mexican-Salvadoran restaurant, Old Bus Tavern is bringing something new to Bernal Heights. The restaurant and microbrewery has a complex makeup: one part casual fine dining, brought to you by chef Max Snyder, one part cocktail program, one part sunny and 70s throwback vibe (complete with old Volkswagen bus memorabilia), and one part microbrewery. Still, the relaxed nature of the three partners behind the concept makes the restaurant feel approachable as soon you walk in.

The restaurant feels like a true representative of the new San Francisco: chef Max Snyder picks his herbs, greens, and edible flowers from local parks in the Bernal area and the three partners — Jimmy, Ben, and John — are energetic, eager to learn, and seem like the accidental hipsters that most San Francisco hipsters are trying to be. (Did we mention they named their restaurant after a Volkswagen Westfalia bus?).

The team has a clear vision on their current and future goals and the food, beer, and cocktails are already impressing the likes of Michael Bauer, though Old Bus Tavern hasn't even celebrated its first year. Listen to the episode and discover how this team brought their home-brewed inspiration to life with a bustling neighborhood restaurant.

The three partners are relatively new to the restaurant and brewery world and keep the atmosphere light and fun. The upscale, yet playful Old Bus Tavern brings fine dining food, home brewed beer, and a rainbow-seeing dog to the table in Bernal Heights. Chef Max works in a special made kitchen station Golden beer shines in the light
Fresh flowers adorn the bright Old Bus Tavern space Old family photos surrounding the Volkswagen bus adorn the interior
Chef Max stays focused on his work and preps oysters for dinner service The beers brew inside the small Old Bus Tavern space
Beer boots! Hops and barley
A freshly poured stout settles in its glass on the bar
Flowery herbs and greens are picked by the staff and the chef in local parks and growth areas. Sunlight and glass dance on the tabletop in the late afternoon sun
The bar program at Old Bus Tavern also plays an important role in the dining experience A mint leave floats in a fresh lemon cocktail. The Old Bus Tavern team preps for dinner service
Oysters still in their shells, waiting to be shucked Oysters are served with a refreshing strawberry chutney
Fresh fennel, foraged by the chef earlier that day The fennel tops a rich pate rimmed with nuts and spritzed with a sweet honey glaze. A light onion soup, served cold, is decorated with local fennel and edible flowers. Sunlight drenches the table and fresh, light appetizers like onion cream soup, pate with fresh local herbs, and oysters with strawberries.
One of the chefs butters a pan seared steak for chef Max The pastry and vegetable station stays by the bar - greens are flame-cooked.
Chef Max prepares freshly grilled steak Pan seared steak with pickled beets — perfect for summer. The brewmaster pours some more ale from a beaker to top off a pint glass Pork belly and egg, sous vide, served with glazed carrots and a rice flat. A complete meal at Old Bus Tavern, where the food is not your average pub food. The bar fills with customers for summertime dinner service.

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