The recession forced some high-end San Francisco restaurants to close their doors. Now several entrepreneurial types are revitalizing the restaurant scene by focusing on quirky simpler fare and capitalizing on cheaper rents to create smaller eateries designed to appeal to the Gen-Y crowd. "The trend is for opening smaller neighborhood-focused restaurants, and the trend is away from the palaces," said Kevin Westlye, executive director of Golden Gate Restaurant Association, a trade group.

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