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What's cooking in SoMa

Dinner at the Root, pizza too.

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Main Street south of Interstate 630 calls itself SoMa, and there's a cohesiveness and young vibe to its development: Early on, there was the Bernice Garden, which showcases sculpture, at the southeast corner of Daisy Gatson Bates (14th Street) and Main; the Green Corner Store at the northwest corner of 15th and Main; the Root Cafe at the southwest corner of 15th and Main; and Esse, the purse museum. Last year, two new businesses opened in the area; this year, watch for an expanded Root, thanks to its $150,000 Chase grant announced Wednesday, Jan. 21, and a new pizza parlor.

Piro Brick Oven and Barroom, 1318 Main St., is the brainchild of The Fold's Bart Barlogie, who says the new venture will serve 12 different Neapolitan pizzas in a family atmosphere. You'll be able to wash down the 12-inch pies with 20 draft beers and four wines on tap. Barlogie says he hopes Piro will be a neighborhood favorite; he plans to open sometime in February.

Former Hillcrest favorite Clement and Sweet Home Furnishing, 1324 Main St., is now part of the SoMa vibe, offering all manner of antiques from funky to French. Like 1318 Main St., this building is owned by Cassie Toro, who removed the old façade from the former Lenderman Paint store and the future antique store to discover Art Deco glass tiles over the corner-positioned entrance.

Moxy Mercantile, 1419 Main St., is a great place that combines funky vintage collectibles, new decorative items and other stuff — like pillows stuffed to look like poodles, 3-foot-long wings, cute lunch boxes, knee socks, bar stools, lamps, rubber ducky tub mats, soaps, jewelry — in a storefront between Boulevard Bread Co. (next to the Bernice Garden) and the StudioMAIN architecture and design collaborative (next to the Green Corner Market). In other words, the 1400 block of Main on the east side of the street is utterly transformed since Anita Davis bought the corner where the Bernice Garden is now located in 2007.

The Root Cafe, 1500 Main St., opened by Jack and Corri Sundell in 2009 after three years of dogged planning, has stuck to its locavore promise, from the hamburgers to the beer. It's gained acclaim from beyond our borders, thanks to a feature in Southern Living, its $25,000 prize for winning HLN TV's "Growing America: A Journey to Success" last December, and its $150,000 Mission Main Street Grant awarded by Chase bank Wednesday. Chase chose 20 winners in the national grant program for small businesses. Here's what it means for Root lovers: an expanded dining area and dinners Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, when a small menu and a special of the evening will be served. The kitchen will get an add-on as well that will allow The Root to open a bakery and offer baking workshops as well. Jack Sundell says he hopes you'll be adding The Root to your date-night eating "possibly this year."

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