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Help Identifying SF Restaurant

Kenji Mar 20, 2009 09:32 AM

Hi, I'm attempting to identify an SF restaurant. My information is from 1999 or 2000, so it's of course possible some things have changed -- and that the restaurant may no longer be in business. What I have isn't a great deal of information, but I think it should be sufficient for some solid guesses. In any event, some ten years ago, the restaurant had the following features:

-- It was "down the street" from a rock and roll motel (which was in turn around the corner from the O'Farrell Theater)

-- It was "fairly swanky"

-- The chef was "fairly young" and in his second or third chef's job

-- The restaurant had an "overwhelming initial rush of business"

-- The restaurant's crew was large

Thanks in advance for any help.

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  1. c
    carfeng RE: Kenji Mar 20, 2009 09:44 AM

    Do you know what kind of food it is/was?

    The "rock and roll motel" sounds like the Phoenix Hotel.

    1. Paul H RE: Kenji Mar 20, 2009 10:15 AM

      The OFarrell Theater is at Polk and OFarrell

      Bambuddha Lounge is IN the Phoenix Hotel (not motel).

      As a wild guess, which doesn't fit many of the clues other than the hipster vibe of the question, how about the now defunct "DOT" restaurant in the Miyako Hotel, owned by Nick Graham, the boxer shorts magnate.

      1. Robert Lauriston RE: Kenji Mar 20, 2009 10:31 AM

        Phoenix Hotel for sure.

        Miss Pearl's Jam House, chef Joey Altman?

        4 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          Paul H RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 20, 2009 11:22 AM

          Miss Pearl's Jam House was in the Phoenix Hotel where Bambuddha Lounge is now, correct?

          1. re: Paul H
            Robert Lauriston RE: Paul H Mar 20, 2009 11:30 AM

            Yeah. Closed in '96? Reopened in Jack London Square last year.

            Miss Pearl's Jam House
            10 Washington St, Oakland, CA

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              Paul H RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 20, 2009 11:39 AM

              The OP is talking about a place that was evidently open in 2000.

              1. re: Paul H
                Robert Lauriston RE: Paul H Mar 20, 2009 11:53 AM

                Oh, right. In 1999-2000 that would have been Backflip.

        2. Eugene Park RE: Kenji Mar 20, 2009 11:44 AM

          Trying to think of somewhere on Van Ness/Civic Center area that might fit the description......

          1. w
            weem RE: Kenji Mar 20, 2009 12:45 PM

            Stars, perhaps? Chef Jeremiah Tower, closed in 1999.

            1 Reply
            1. re: weem
              mick RE: weem Mar 20, 2009 02:10 PM

              Stars is my guess as well

            2. Paul H RE: wolfe Mar 20, 2009 02:32 PM

              Better obit link (Chron)

              But what was the address of Stars?

              10 Replies
              1. re: Paul H
                weem RE: Paul H Mar 20, 2009 02:41 PM

                If memory serves, it was on Golden Gate at Van Ness, across Van Ness from Opera Plaza, about two or three blocks from the Phoenix Motel, and a few blocks down from the O'Farrell Theater.

                1. re: Paul H
                  weem RE: Paul H Mar 20, 2009 03:43 PM

                  I just strolled by while running errands. The location I'm thinking of is 555 Golden Gate between Van Ness and Polk, mid-way down the block behind the Chevy's. It currently appears to be vacant.

                  1. re: weem
                    wolfe RE: weem Mar 20, 2009 03:54 PM


                    1. re: wolfe
                      mick RE: wolfe Mar 20, 2009 05:29 PM

                      I thought it was on Redwood Alley, No?

                      1. re: mick
                        Sarah RE: mick Mar 20, 2009 05:34 PM

                        That's the alley where you try to score a parking space (ha!) and go in through the back entrance.

                        1. re: Sarah
                          mick RE: Sarah Mar 20, 2009 10:16 PM

                          Oh Sarah, yes its all coming back to me!

                        2. re: mick
                          Robert Lauriston RE: mick Mar 21, 2009 10:23 AM

                          Stars' entrance was on Redwood. 555 Golden Gate was Stars Cafe and then JT Bistro, but it closed in 1997.

                          Jeremiah Tower was 56 when he sold Stars in 1998 and it closed in 1999, so I don't think it fits the description above.

                    2. re: Paul H
                      bbulkow RE: Paul H Mar 20, 2009 10:24 PM

                      Didn't know there was a stars palo alto - anyone know what space it was in?

                      1. re: bbulkow
                        ML8000 RE: bbulkow Mar 20, 2009 11:11 PM

                        What's now in the Spago spot?

                        1. re: ML8000
                          Wendy_san RE: ML8000 Mar 21, 2009 10:00 AM

                          I don't think there is any new restaurant in the Spago spot.

                    3. k
                      Kenji RE: Kenji Mar 21, 2009 07:54 AM

                      My sincere thanks for all the replies; I'll explore each possibility that was named.

                      I'm not sure what style of cooking the restaurant in question was known for.

                      Just in case this will narrow things down, the kitchen of this restaurant featured "a hot new line of Jade ranges, gleaming counters, an ice cream machine and pasta maker."

                      Thanks again, everyone.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Kenji
                        Paul H RE: Kenji Mar 21, 2009 11:10 AM

                        So, is this some sort of Internet scavenger hunt?

                      2. Chuckles the Clone RE: Kenji Mar 21, 2009 11:13 AM

                        If they're placing the Phoenix "around the corner" from the O'Farrell, then Belon
                        with chef Paul Arenstam at 25 Mason (currently Farmer Brown's) is/was arguably
                        "down the street". It seems to fit your other requirements.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Chuckles the Clone
                          Paul H RE: Chuckles the Clone Mar 21, 2009 11:28 AM

                          Belon, at 25 Mason St. (at Turk) opened in 2000 and closed in 2001. But, don't you think 25 Mason is quite a ways from the Phoenix Hotel and the OFarrel theater? Paul Arenstam appears to be at Americano now.

                          1. re: Chuckles the Clone
                            Kenji RE: Chuckles the Clone Mar 23, 2009 03:59 PM

                            Yes -- Belon matches perfectly with every known feature of the unnamed restaurant I was hoping to ID. I'm betting you're right. Thanks!

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