Boeufhaus slings gourmet sandwiches from its butcher counter during lunch before morphing into a low-lit, full-service steak joint at dinner, with entrees running up to $62 to match a serious list of curated wines from the team at Red & White wine shop. Though co-owners Ahern and Jamie Finnegan both came from traditional fine-dining backgrounds, they deliberately sought a more “convivial” concept that straddles casual and high end.
“Part of it is your philosophy, in addition to physical location and demographics, which tells you about what kind of place you’re supposed to be,” says Finnegan. “But now [opening a restaurant] is such a major investment of time and money that you also have to really maximize your opportunity.”
Ahern echoes this: “There’s a practicality to the thought of, ‘we’re here, the lights and stoves are on, and we’re prepping for dinner, so let’s hire two more people and cook lunch while we’re at it,” he says.
The shift in ambience doesn’t stop patrons from asking if they can get pastrami on rye during dinner service even though the butcher counter is dark. The same goes for Aregoni, who frequently tells confused Saigon Sisters patrons wanting banh mi to come back at lunch or go to the French Market location. But both restaurants welcome the stronger following they’ve developed as a result of customers’ familiarity with their more casual counterparts.