Balboa Cafe, the San Francisco restaurant and bar owned and operated by locally based hospitality management company The PlumpJack Group, announced the hiring of Santos Lugo as executive chef.  Chef Lugo joins the San Francisco institution’s culinary team with more than two decades of industry experience as well as a unique perspective, describing his cuisine as ‘new California fusion cuisine with Latin flare,’ to the restaurant’s menu of beloved classics.  Having led kitchens in various positions throughout the Bay Area, Chef Lugo brings a wealth of talent to his new role at Balboa Cafe.

“With his extensive experience and masterful implementation of both classic and modern culinary techniques, we’re so fortunate to have Chef Lugo join the Balboa Cafe team and lead the restaurant into a new era of dining,” says Hilary Newsom, co-president of The PlumpJack Group.  “Balboa Cafe is constantly evolving with the community and times, and Chef Lugo’s refreshing creativity and culinary perspective is a perfect fit as we enter into this new and exciting chapter.”

Originally from the Yucatan, Mexico, Lugo most recently served as executive chef at the New American gastropub Sessions at the Presidio, where his menus included fresh culinary creations to pair with the restaurant’s comprehensive beverage selection.  Prior to Sessions, Lugo held the roles of executive chef at Nourish Inc., Rebecca Jean Catering and Woodlands Cafe where he led successful teams and maintained top industry standards.  As executive sous chef at Nico Martin Presents Catering and Willowstone Catering, Lugo honed his menu development and leadership skills.

As part of his new role, Chef Lugo has revamped Balboa Cafe’s daily menus, including the introduction of the ‘Tini Garden’ bar menu which offers cocktail and wine-friendly small plates to share and enjoy in the restaurant’s outdoor parklets.  New bar and brunch menus have also been introduced to reflect Chef Lugo’s passion for working with a diverse range of flavors such as Churrasco steak with chimichurri and a melting house made truffle butter, Ceviche Amarillo with local caught Halibut and plantain chips, and a variety of daily pastas made from scratch such as Ravioli Verde – a green kale infused dough with lobster filling.  Chef Lugo plans to update menus seasonally to feature locally sourced produce in its prime.

Additionally, Balboa Cafe has recently introduced – Balboa Live – an outdoor artist series featuring live music every Tuesday evening from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. to enjoy while savoring food and beverages from the expansive outdoor parklets.  Balboa Cafe’s famed Espressotini, which has amassed an enthusiastic following, has debuted a canned version, and is sold as a cocktail-to-go to imbibe immediately or easily saved for later.

Balboa Cafe is located at 3199 Filmore Street and is safely serving outdoors and indoors at limited capacity seven days a week.  Pick-up and delivery orders can be placed via by phone at 415-921-3944, online at, or through Door Dash and Postmates.

Casual Dining, Industry News, Labor & Employees, Balboa Cafe