cas-sa-va : the starchy tuberous root of a tropical tree, used as food in tropical countries but requiring careful preparation to remove traces of cyanide from the flesh
Cassava is also a restaurant, located in the Richmond District of San Francisco. Owned and operated by a local-based couple, the close-knit team at this unique eatery aims to change the game of Japanese-inspired cuisine, and the restaurant structure that facilitates their culinary art.
With Ioroi’s background in beverage and hospitality driving the nuts and bolts of the operation, she affectionately says of her husband, “he is the soul of the food of the restaurant.” She means this sincerely. Husband Kris Toliao pulls from as fresh, small-batch produce as possible, capitalizing on the couple’s connections to Sonoma County and the famers and wine growers there. In this way, the couple fuses their Asian background with the California-fresh approach to food.
“The frustration we see is with our Asian background. In Japanese and Chinese culture, food is medicine,” Yuka explained. “We are not operating under that idea, but we want to make sure we’re not using as much salt, fat, and butter in our food.” To maintain this goal, Cassava sources from a closely-knit circle of growers from around San Francisco and Marin.
“We prefer food where we know who made it and who bought it,” Yuka added. “We only buy from people we know, we trust, and who we’ve seen create or grow the product itself.”
While the food is the mainstay, the culture of Cassava is something for which the founders want the restaurant to be equally known.
Isabella Welch is a graduate of UCLA with a degree in history. Her writing has been featured in history journals, travel blogs, arts & culture magazines, and more. Director of Editorial & Creative Development at Bob Cut Mag, lover of stories and tinto de verano, she’s usually found wandering the Headlands.