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Clown Alley reborn as Pickles this week

Back in the 1980's when I was young, poor and worked in the area, I was a fan of Clown Alley on Columbus. It wasn't particularly great food but it worked. That space has had its ups and downs...actually mostly downs...over the years.

When I went to the Bund Chowdown a couple of weeks ago, I noticed the space was under construction.....well, this week its reopening as Pickles with a Myth alum as the chef. The interior looked pretty fancy and there's heaters & a sliding roof on the patio. What's odd is that when I checked on Yelp, apparently its been a place called Pickles in the past and seemed to have closed.

The menu is apparently still burgers hot dogs and other American comfort food although slightly fancified.

Anyway, I may wander by some time next week to check it out and see what they've done to the old Clown Alley. If anyone else makes it there, let us know how it is.

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Pickles Restaurant
42 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94111

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  1. Clown Alley was bought by (now former) Myth owner Tom Duffy and changed its name to Pickles almost two years ago.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/405381

    8 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I looked into it further.

      Apparently Pickles closed for renovation so tomorrow is the "re-opening" with a new chef and updated menu.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        It was a re-born Clown Alley too. The place spent the beginning of the .com era as Sophie's Cookhouse and then Spaghetteria, neither of which seemed to do very well in that space. It came back somewhere around 1999, just in time for the age of post-irony which it clearly was not cut out for.

        1. re: Chuckles the Clone

          Here's my old and unfruitful post looking for the 'cue master of Sophie's Cookhouse.
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/24354

          Pickles rebirth was featured in Daily Candy today.
          http://www.dailycandy.com/san_francis...

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            So the frozen custard rumor is back as well.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              The frozen custard is the only part that holds my attention!

            2. re: Melanie Wong

              The cue weekends at Sophie's Cookhouse were indeed memorable. Sadly the only way to experience that cue is at private events these days as the culprits, my brother and I, were just dilettantes avoiding our day jobs. My brother's thoughts on the theory of cue and other culinary matters are found at his mainly abandoned website www.gastronomer.com .

              1. re: ravaglia

                What a treat to get a reply to my 2003 post about the magical 'cue weekends of 1997!

                A bit later I heard from a mutual friend and lapsed chowhound, Rafe Mazzeo, that the Brothers Ravaglia were behind this. But so nice to hear from you directly.

                I'll be a judge at Saturday's BBQ contest in Morgan Hill,
                http://mhnobullbbq.com/
                While it's too late to sign up for that competition, I hope to see Team Ravaglia at a future bbq event.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Glad that Rafe passed the word on to you. While we have missed the Morgan Hill event, I will take this as a inspiration to get ourselves out and back into the world for some future event.

                  Hope the event treated you well.

        2. We made a trip to Pickles today, based on the Daily Candy report, but at lunchtime the doors were locked, and no one answered the phone at dinnertime, so I'm assuming that they didn't open this week as usual.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cyberroo

            They opened Wednesday. Per the Chron it's lunch only until April 1. Maybe no weekends either?

            1. I walked by the space last night, it's quite vacant and still for lease.