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New Bar & Grill to Replace Old El Balazo

Firehouse No. 37 plans to move into The Marketplace shopping center in June or July.

Firehouse No. 37, a bar-and-grill restaurant with a novel firehouse theme, is set to open this summer in San Ramon’s Marketplace shopping center.

The new restaurant moves into El Balazo’s old space, which has been vacant since the Mexican restaurant .

Danville resident Dan Hawkins says his restaurant will offer roughly 40 beers on tap and an expansive menu of "gastropub" fare (gourmet pub grub) plus many speciality dishes (thin-crust pizza, Dry Boat Pacific Seabass with mushroom risotto and Callebaut bittersweet chocolate molten center cake, to name a few.) Hawkins is not new to the restaurant business: He also owns Luigi’s Pizzeria in San Francisco and co-owns Basil Leaf Café in Danville.

Although not a sports bar, Firehouse No. 37 will cater to sports fans by sprinkling six flat-screen televisions in the bar and lounge area. The eatery will also feature indoor seating for up to 300 diners plus more seating in two patio areas. Adults can mingle in the separated bar and lounge area. (Get a preview of the new layout in the attached PDF.)

While Firehouse No. 37’s large lounge area should lure plenty of adults, families will find a family-friendly atmosphere in the main dining room where kids get their own menu and can enjoy the subtle firehouse theme woven throughout the restaurant. An antique hand-pulled fire hose cart will greet visitors in the main entrance and old-fashioned fire extinguishers will decorate the lounge area.

Where did the name Firehouse No. 37 come from? Hawkins says he came up with the name and restaurant concept accidentally. “One day while I was driving home I saw an old fire truck for sale on the side of the road,” says Hawkins, who once wanted to be a firefighter. “It got me thinking about creating a firefighter-themed restaurant.” And the No. 37? Hawkins says that happens to be San Ramon’s latitude and, he discovered later, the number of one of San Ramon’s fire stations.

Hawkins hopes to include firefighters in more than just the theme of his new eatery. He plans to reach out to local fire stations, inviting them to use Firehouse No. 37 as a hub for their philanthropic and fundraising events.

The new restaurant will open near The Hop Yard, another bar and grill located just a few doors down in the same shopping center. But Hawkins sees enough of a difference between the two restaurants to allow the two to coexist.

“We'll be similar to a gastropub," says Hawkins. "Our menu will be more eclectic and varied than a traditional brew pub or bar and grill. The menu will be built on a `farm to table' concept that supports local growers and vendors when possible.”

When Hawkins opens his new restaurant in June or July, it will join a large variety of other eateries in The Marketplace, which has become a dining destination for many residents.

More than a dozen food-focused businesses now fill the center with a range of diverse options including Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipino, Thai, Greek, Indian, Japanese, American and Italian restaurants as well as places to grab a morning donut or lunch sandwich. You can see the complete list of The Marketplace restaurants at the center's website.

Teri leathley July 29, 2012 at 07:13 PM
When is firehouse 37 opening?
Jim July 30, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Not a sports bar? 6 flatscreens in the lounge area showing sports = sports bar atmosphere. You can say it doesn't, but that's the vibe it invariably creates. They also say it's going to be family friendly and feature a kids menu. Disconnect? I'm tired of restaurants that try to be all things to all people all of the time. It creates fragmented service and inconsistency in food quality. And then what? They go out of business. Define yourself. No wonder restaurants fail so frequently. Pick a concept. Have great, consistent, fresh food and friendly, professional service. Have a true identity instead of being a sports lounge/family restaurant/gastropub. What's the cuisine? When I hear "varied and eclectic" that usually means Americana/Italian/Mexican/Asian-fusion...all in one. Uggh! Cool sounding concept in an area that desperately needs some great new restaurants and bars.
Barbara August 03, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Jim, didn't your parents teach you to give things a try before judging them? I am so pleased that this restaurant is moving into a space that has been empty for too long. Let's be supportive and not try to knock them down before they open.
Michael August 27, 2012 at 08:52 AM
It's open and quite the hit in town! The reason for the so called disconnect Jim is Firehouse 37 occupies nearly 8,000 sq ft of space. The large restaurant is perfect for families with children and the bar is large enought for those who are looking to have some beer and a great time. Any bar will become a sports bar when local teams are playing- that is our culture as Americans whether you agree or not. This restaurant and bar is going to be the hottest ticket in town. As a new place opening up- there are bumps in the road to be expected but the future ahead for Firehouse 37 looks very promising and successful! Cheers!
Just a SR Dad August 28, 2012 at 12:19 AM
As a family that loves sports, it is just the right type of place for San Ramon. This city is sports crazy, supports the local teams (SJSU, Stanford, CAL, Giants, A's, 49ers and Raiders.) Perfect! Also, they are considering a late-evening close & sunday brunch... This could be our 'local' hang out pretty soon. We did stop by last week. Pizzas are BIG (share between two adults or three of your younger ones.) Good selection, so far like everything. Have to go back to check out the rest of the menu. As for TVs... They actually could use more outside of the bar area (where most families will be) so that we can keep up on the game(s).

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