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Mar 26, 2007 09:58 PM

How to eat like a Beat at lunch this Saturday?

Saturday 3/31 will be the formal dedication of newly repaved and plaqued Jack Kerouac Alley (from Columbus to Grant Ave. next to City Lights Books). It'll most likely be a gathering of the Tribes, and I'm expecting that there will be something in the air that will sharpen the appetite.

So what's an old Beatnik to do for lunch? Certainly can't grab a 30 cent Poor Boy from the long gone Italian deli on Green Street to wash down with a poorboy of cheap Burgundy, nor got to a Monday night $1.00 spaghetti feed at the equally long gone Tower Cafe. Ditto the Basque Hotel for a splurge, or Universal Cafe or Sun Tai Sam Yuen for cheap Chinese. Not the Jackson Cafe for Chinese or a Western meal to rub shoulders (or knock elbows) with Lenny and Honey Bruce (they're long gone, too). U.S. Restaurant? Not the same. Little Joe's, Columbus Cafe, Mike's Pool Hall? Ancient History. Sam Wo? Nah, that's for 2:00 AM, and Edsel is with the angels. Plenty of good espresso (what's a latte?) but nary even a decent bagel, Co-existence or otherwise.

So, all you oldtimers (and that means you, Sharuf) give me some inspiration. Chew up a few peyote buttons and conjure up an inspiration for reliving a Beatnik lunch. I'll even lift my $1.00 price cap.

What would Jack do?

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  1. Such a great request i wish I had the perfect place.. maybe Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe for a espresso or sandwich, 15.99 priceless?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Lori SF

      Mario's was not really contemporary with the Beat Generation. I was thinking of Caffe Trieste, which was. Anybody remember what the Trieste had for food in those days?

      1. re: Gary Soup

        well thankfully I am just not old enough for this discussion, so I am excusing myself. LOL

    2. Curley's ... even though it wasn't open at the time. Of course you are stopping by Cafe Trieste, no?

      Wow, you met Lenny Bruce? My hero. I have all his albums ... I mean ALL including the stuff based on his life.

      3 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        He often ate at the Jackson Cafe. That was the site of the "You betta off!" story Herb Caen loved so much.

        You could also catch him at Clown Alley around 2:00 AM on Saturday night, which was frequented by a lot of entertainers with the munchies after closing time.

        1. re: Gary Soup

          Is Clown Alley closed or are they in the middle of revamping? I know someone frou-frou bought them but I don't remember if they were going to close down a while.

          1. re: rworange

            I haven't checked lately, but I assume they've finished because they were working on it several weeks (or even months) ago.

      2. Green Valley and Capp's Corner are still halfway old-school North Beach.

        1. Gary -- hi there fellow old-timer.

          I lived in North Beach & T-graph hill off and on from 1959 to 1964. Walked back and forth to work down Grant Avenue. Got some attention from the beatnik guys in the bars as I passed by.

          Don't know if these places still exist, but for a nostalgia lunch I'd go to that deli on Francisco that made those humongous sandwiches and then go to one of the two wine stores that sold cheap wine to the local folks to have with dinner and get a jug of dago red. Sit in the park with my feast and listen to the old guys rattling away in Italian to each other.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Sharuf

            Yeah, Freddie's! Italian combo on a Dutch crunch, who'da thought of that? It's still there. It seems to fly under the Chowhound radar, but the Yelpsters are all over it, bless ther little bike messenger hearts. I'll have to start making excuses for being in grab-and-go mode around Stockton and Francisco, but Freddie's won't go under unless Kirkland bus yard, the Postal Facility on the old Venetian Bakery site and Francisco Middle School suddenly disappear.

            1. re: Gary Soup

              Damn I miss dutch crunch rolls.. can't find them here in Louisville, KY

              1. re: Gary Soup

                Hey, hey, hey ... Freddies .... 2002 ... before Yelp was a gleam in anyone's eye

                And a recent rec amoung many on the board

            2. Jack would drink his dinner at Vesuvio's, then bum some money off a tourist at City Lights next door.

              Me, I'd do the same, but sneak in some takeout chow mein or a pork bow to tamp down the alcohol.