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Mar 2, 2011 09:39 AM

Who's familiar with old San Francisco restaurants?


Hey Chowhounders,

My mom and her friends have been reminiscing about places they used to go in the 60's, so she sent me a list and asked me to find out a bit about whether or not they are still around and what may have happened to them. Many are still around (Tadich, House of Prime Rib), a few more are fondly remembered (The Hippo), but there are a few names I was not able to find anything about.

Does anyone know what happened to these? (spelling may not be quite right)

Shadows – by Coit tower
Townsend’s – downtown
Doro’s on Lombard
House of India
Grissoms – Van Ness

Thanks so much!

House of Prime Rib
1906 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94109

  1. Doro's was fabulous. They made their linguini tableside, and also had a wonderful hot spinach salad. Is House of India Gaylord's which was in Ghiradelli Square? If so, I used to go there alot, wonderful Indian bread. Other old timers I went to the first time I lived in San Francisco - Ernie's (considered at the time the best in town), Vanessi's - both on Broadway and then moved to California, now defunct. Ciao was a hotspot, especially at the bar. I loved the Blue Fox on Lombard, very elegant, it had fantastic chocolate mousse.

    4 Replies
    1. re: bronwen

      I was a real regular at Vanessi's and had the great honor of being mentioned in Herb Caen's column the day after he spotted me having lunch there with Joe DiMaggio ..... I would always eat the osso bucco - years later in New Orleans I was a freelance food critic and went to Maximo's in the Quarter and ordered osso bucco. I told the waiter it was as good as the ones I used to eat at Vanessi's and he told me that that was because the chef used to work at Vanessi's (small world!!). And talking about hanging out with Joe - we used to go to his brother's place, I think it was called DiMaggio's close to the wharf, I don't know if it's still there.

      1. re: bronwen

        whoa there's some serious SF cred in that post. AND named in a Caen column.

        1. re: bronwen

          The old Joe DiMaggio's Grotto is now Joe's Crab Shack.

          Joe's Crab Shack
          245 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA 94133

        2. re: bronwen

          We ate at Ciao's once when Steve Jobs and Bill Gates (and two women) were at the next table. I whispered to my husband, "Did you see who's at the next table?" and he whispered back, "Yeah, that blonde is pretty spectacular!"

          The dinner was mentioned in Herb Caen's column, without mention of the blonde, who happened to be the head of some big software company. Caen later published a letter from her (Heidi Roisen?) where she complained about being overlooked by his informant. I wrote her to say that my husband had certainly noticed her, and she sent me a bunch of their software for the Mac!

          1. Grissons on Van Ness became the Harris steak house in 1984.


            1. Grison's Steakhouse turned into Harris' Steakhouse.

              The old Doro's address currently belongs to Bubble Lounge.

              The Shadows turned into Dalla Torre and then was converted into a private residence.

              Townsend's was torn down to build Nieman-Marcus.

              Paoli's ... maybe now Gio's? Or could have been torn down to build one of the Embarcadero Center buildings.

              Harris' Restaurant
              2100 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94109

              Bubble Lounge
              714 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

              5 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I'm getting Paoli's mixed up with Amelio's -- where was Amelio's and/or what is it now?

                1. re: Sarah

                  Pena PachaMama is in the old Amelio's space.

                  Pena Pachamama
                  1630 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

                2. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Actually, I think the original Paoli's was at the corner of California and Montgomery and was torn down to build Bank of America. Then it reopened down the street on Montgomery and either Merchant Street or Commercial and had an entrance on both streets. I think there may be a bank in that location now.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Another 70s spot that's still sort-of around is the Assay Office, which is now Bix.

                    56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I always liked the faux speakeasy feel of Bix

                  2. I think Paoli's was on Montgomery Street, a block or two north of California. If it is the place I am thinking of, it has been gone for 30 years.


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: DavidT

                      Paoli's started out on Montgomery, then moved to Commercial St.


                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        The Paoli family took a run at a Reno restaurant - many of us familiar with SF loved it but it floundered - too bad