Once upon a time, a boy named Kenneth was born. A 4th-generation New Yorker, his favorite things were food (Angelo’s pizza, Liebman’s pastrami, the Mister Softee ice cream truck), music (guitar lessons at 8, concerts by Johnny Winter, The Rascals, and The Doors by 11), subway trips to Knick and Yankee games, skiing, and all things New York.
A few years later, 3000 miles away on the West Coast, a little girl was born named Anna, a 4th-generation Californian. Anna’s favorite things growing up were trees, flowers, her pets, swimming, riding her bike and cherry pie. Rides in the back of her Papa’s pickup with her brothers and sisters through their family tree nursery and summer BBQ’s. She was a daydreamer always drawing things and re-decorating her room with a budget of $50.00 at age 8.
Each of an independent spirit, they did their share of traveling and enjoyed many of the foods and cultures the world had to share.
Grove Music Guru, President and Co-Owner
(P.S.24, The Bronx)
Dreamer, Grove Designer and Co-Owner
(Girl Scout Troop 273, Visalia, CA)
Waggy Tail, Grove Mascot and Director of Canine Affairs
(The Presidio, San Francisco, CA)
The Road to Now
In 1995, their disparate backgrounds and common interests would intersect in San Francisco, when Ken opened his first restaurant, Zinzino, in the Marina neighborhood. Ken hired Anna, who had her own design firm in SF’s North Beach. Through this first venture together their passions would only intensify to inform every aspect of what would latter become The Groves. Anna and Ken’s life long collaboration had begun.
In 1999, Ken asked Anna to design The Grove, a small coffee shop he bought down Chestnut Street steps from his first venture. He liked the name, location and little else – but he had a vision!
The Grove – Fillmore opened in 2002 in the heart of Fillmore Street, close to where Ken (and soon Anna) lived. Fillmore shared all of the soulful aspects of its older sibling, but has an eclectic unique feel all its own. With Fillmore complete, Ken finally summoned the courage to ask Anna out. Ken and Anna were married in 2004.
From 2005-2007, the first two Groves expanded into adjacent spaces. The Grove – Yerba Buena opened in 2010 where Soma meets Union Square, a neighborhood they knew well from living there. It was designed as the “downtown” sibling without losing any of the signature elements that make a Grove. It is the largest location and often serves over a thousand guests in a day. The Grove – Hayes opened in 2011, next to where they forever loved to shop, hang out, and see concerts/events.
Beginnings at Chestnut
The Grove – Chestnut café opened in 1995 as a small coffee shop. In 2007, The Grove – Chestnut expanded into the adjacent space.
The Grove – Chestnut was successful, and the extraordinary level of creativity and execution has connected with people in a deep way. Through Kenneth and Anna’s work together on the original Grove, their passions intensified to inform every aspect of what has become The Grove—curating The Grove experience from the zillion design details that the owners collect from everywhere they go in the world, to the playlist of over 10,000 handpicked songs.
The Grove – Chestnut will leave behind many great memories for guests, of which literally thousands were long-time regulars, as well as remembering the notable celebrities that visited the location over many years. Celebrities that had frequented The Grove – Chestnut include Edward Norton, Tom Waits, Robin Williams, Sean Penn, Barry Zito, Sharon Stone, Barry Bonds, Chris Isaak, Lars Ulrich of Metallica, San Francisco Giants’, Brian “The Beard” Wilson (who sat in the same seat and ordered the same thing during the playoffs and World Series), among many others.
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For the Love of Food
"It’s such a unique restaurant. The Grove has acquired a following. Warm, woodsy decor... amazing product... comfort food... well priced.”
"The opposite of a techie vibe, like the living room we wish we had. That and the American comfort food has produced a daily out-the-door line."
"The kind of place you go just to hang out and enjoy the fact you are in San Francisco."
"A runaway success, perpetually busy, ‘San Francisco’s Living Room’."