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A ‘curio’ is an unusual, rare, or intriguing object. Located in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, Curio is at the center of the community, reflecting the free-spirited, artistic culture that defines this neighborhood. From the design to the drinks and food, there is a unconventional style that reflects the vibe of the people who make up the bohemian community.

Drawing inspiration from The Chapel’s past life as a mortuary, we explore the mystical, curious elements of life and time. Art installations include a multiplicity of clocks, victorian dioramas, vintage light fixtures, figurative paintings, and electric neon signs, creating an eclectic and mystical vibe throughout the variety of spaces.

Illustration of Death
Illustration of the Devil

The Team

Mario Tolentino


Born and raised in San Francisco, Chef Mario Tolentino attended the California Culinary Academy to sharpen the cooking skills he had already begun to hone at a young age. After graduation, he spent more than a decade traveling and working with high-caliber chefs in award-winning kitchens. He applied his experience working under these notable chefs, and for one and two Michelin star-rated restaurants, to win an episode of Food Network’s Chopped in 2010.

After stints in New York City, where he worked as the Executive Chef of Juliet Supperclub and partnered with LDV, a New York City-based hospitality group, Mario returned to his hometown to revamp the well-known and beloved Betelnut. Most recently, he was the Culinary Director at The Market on Market in San Francisco’s rejuvenated and dynamic Mid-Market district. At Curio, he brings his expertise in Californian farm-to-table, modern American, and Southern low country cuisine, as well as his mastery of seafood and meat butchery, to his dinner and brunch menus at Curio. When he’s not in the kitchen, Mario enjoys, art, immersive travel, table tennis, and disc golf.

Jack Knowles


Jack Knowles’ philosophy when it comes to restaurants is that people don’t come together to eat, they eat to come together. His goal is to translate that sense of community into his spaces; most recently, with Curio at The Chapel. The way he sees it, in the restaurant world, everyone’s a guest. Due to his Queens, New York upbringing, Jack has a special affinity for night, and with that comes an appreciation for nightlife. He finds that there is a certain mystery and excitement that comes alive after the sun goes down.

After spending more than 20 years investing in, building, and designing properties; Jack broke into the hospitality industry when he teamed up with his restaurant tenants to help them develop their concepts. In 2009, Jack purchased a building that was previously home to an old mortuary school. He completely reworked and redesigned the building into what is now The Chapel: a live music venue in the heart of San Francisco's Mission District. Jack is intrigued by design, and enjoyed collaborating with artist Michael Brennan to create the space for Curio at The Chapel.

In addition to The Chapel, Jack owns À Côté, a small plates restaurant in Oakland’s charming Rockridge neighborhood. Because of the live music component at The Chapel, Jack listens to music all day, every day. His interests span across genres, allowing him to relate to many of the musicians that play there. Some of his favorites are Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, and Van Morrison, but he’s a jazz fan, too. Namely, classic tenor sax including artists such as Sonny Stitt, Cannonball Adderley, Ornette Coleman and Coleman Hawkins, to name a few.

When he isn’t working, Jack enjoys hanging out and traveling with his partner, Trish. He also aims to ride a bike at least 200 days a year. He enjoys urban bike riding on his specialized hybrid bike in the East Bay, around neighborhoods, or through Golden Gate Park.

Michael Brennan


Michael has been recognized nationally for his restaurant designs including Esquire Magazine, for George Morrone's Tartare restaurant, one of the top restaurants of 2004; Bon Appetit Magazine for his work on Hotel Rex, San Francisco Magazine, and DFL (Design For Living) which Michael was recognized for his Tartare design. His repertoire includes more than 40 restaurant projects in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Napa, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. His mural commissions include extraordinary work in the Oakland Arena, Metreon in San Francisco, and the Park La Brae in Los Angeles. He sees Curio as an art project, unlike many of the other restaurants and nightclubs he’s designed in recent years, because of how much of his artistic identity he incorporated into the design. The Johnny Cash song, “My Grandfather’s Clock,” was his primary inspiration for the design of Curio. The lyrics speak to the poignant idea that the clock and the singer are experiencing life and time together.