Duna, which is Hungarian for the Danube River, is a restaurant the city needs. The majority of innovation in San Francisco is confined to the tech space, while the San Francisco restaurant scene has less room for risk-taking due to prohibitively expensive rents -- a tough obstacle for an industry with notoriously low margins. Many have been sticking to what they know will work: endless riffs on the New American, small plates theme.
Burns and Balla have seen other concepts that don’t fit that particular mold fail. Before opening Duna, the space housed Motze, the duo’s short-lived Japanese concept. They forged on, turning to a menu inspired by Balla’s Hungarian roots. But he is quick to point out that anyone coming in looking for “replicas of dishes exactly as they exist in Hungary” will be disappointed.