This year’s Michelin Guide was filled with many of the same big names in the Bay Area restaurant scene, but a few newbies broke through to earn their first Michelin Star. That includes the ever-popular SPQR and Executive Chef Matthew Accarrino.

We got a chance to talk to Accarrino at this week’s Michelin Guide launch party. He said when he received the call, it was a pretty amazing moment. “I worked at so many great restaurants and with so many talented chefs. And to be rewarded with a Michelin Star is a true honor. It’s a culmination of all the hard work and dedication from the SPQR team.”

Ironically, Accarrino received the call on Tuesday, the same night as the launch party for his new book with SPQR wine director and co-owner Shelley Lindgren. “When I got the call, I told them, you know I’m having a launch party for my book later right? And they knew.” Pretty impressive day to say the least.

Although the goal of earning a Michelin Star has been reached, Accarrino said he and his team at SPQR will not be resting on their laurels. “The goal now is to not to just try and maintain the star. It’s about evolving, refining your style, your message, the story of the restaurant and the food. For us, being a smaller, neighborhood restaurant, there will always be challenges. But my inspirations continue to evolve and that will always keep us moving forward.”

Now “part of the club,” Accarrino said he’s glad it finally happened so his other chef friends “will stop giving him shit.” He expects SPQR to get busier with the new recognition but hopes those who want to try the Italian-inspired menu won’t be discouraged.

Gracious and humble, we could really tell how much Accarrino appreciated the recognition of being in the class of Michelin-starred chefs with his peers. And he has the makings of being able to hold onto that star for years to come.

SPQR is located at 1911 Fillmore Street in San Francisco.