Polk’s New Resident, Buffalo Theory, is a Beer Garden’s Dream

Stocking more than 40 craft beer taps and the familiar comfort food of home, beer master Tim Kim and executive chef Tim Luyum along with owners Quinn Wong and Gil Hoh are bringing the art of beer to Nob Hill.

“I like where craft beer has gone, and I think there is a great area where you can have this geekiness about beer and offer a lot of different varieties without being a snob,” Tim Kim said to SF’s Hoodline. “Some people might want an IPA, and some may want something lighter, like a kolsch or a pilsner. We like to offer tastings so people can choose something they want before committing to it.“

This collaboration space comes from the minds of all the owners involved, Quinn Wong first acquired the Polk Street space in 2008, with the intention of turning it into a spa. During that time, he said, “mortgage rates were really high, and he soon ran out of funds to do a buildout.” After an extensive search, he finally found a bank to help refinance the space in 2013. Thereafter, he and co-owner Gil Hoh had celebratory beers at the neighboring Bell Tower. After their “third beer,” they decided to open a restaurant together, he said. They put together a business plan, got investors, and brought on Kim to handle the beer side of things and Luym to oversee the food. 

This exciting new beer club covers both local and international breweries and a variety of styles, from saisons to sours to two beers on nitro (currently, a stout and a blood orange IPA). Forging relationships with local breweries, Buffalo Theory is sure to fit into the San Francisco bar scene well.

Consulting with chef Tim Luyum, formerly of Poleng, luyum is ecstatic to be behind the grill again, ““For me, it’s really about having fun again while cooking. Being an executive chef and business owner can sometimes take away from the actual job of cooking, because there are so many responsibilities that come along with operating your own business. So, this time, just being hired on as a chef and working with Lawrence Lee and a great team, I can really focus on the food.”

So what can you expect from this up and coming it-spot? “I’m into street foods, and I am a purist by nature,“ Luym said. "A lot of the dishes they are allowing me to make here are a reflection of myself. It’s food that I like to create, and it matches well with our beers and wine, so it’s a fun project to collaborate with.”

"Everything we do here is constantly evolving,” said Kim. He said that the beer, décor, and food are all about exploration and experimentation, so expect to see things shift a little as they settle in. In the meantime, the food and beverage selection is literally everything so take your time and explore it.

// Buffalo Theory, 1735 Polk St, Sunday-Wednesday from 4-11pm and Thursday-Saturday from 4pm-midnight. Reservations are only accepted for parties of eight or more.


Written by Anthony Rogers, photos sourced from Hoodline and Buffalo Theory — Chow down on this foodie news. It’s super delicious. If you aren’t on our newsletter yet, you may have to reconsider.

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