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Jan 26, 2012 03:25 PM

ORIGINAL JOES..North Beach! [San Francisco]

Hey all of you chow hounds, how is it NO ONE has even mentioned the long awaited opening of Origianl Joes.... in Fior's old spot...North Beach????? I plan to do Lunch tomorrow, did any one go today??

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  1. Scroll down about 24 spaces and you'll see this:

    Report back however, I'm sure people want to hear how it was. I do.

    1. This is like Ray's Pizza in New York. Original Rays, New Rays, New Original Rays, Original Original Rays.

      So this is Original Original Joes?

      19 Replies
      1. re: Scott M

        Hi Scott...Yes this is THE Original Joe's...the first location was in the Loin on Taylor St. It burned down 4 years ago and we have all been waiting for this new spot for an old wonderful restaurant, which will be 75 years old this year..same year the Golden Gate Bridge opened..hope you will go enjoy.

        1. re: Scott M

          It might have been the original Original Joe's, but it wasn't the original Joe's. A restaurant called New Joe's opened on Broadway in the late 20s or early 30s, named after some defunct previous Joe's restaurants in SF. One of the partners left and started the Original Joe's on Taylor with a couple of other guys in 1937.

          From the 30s through the 80s or so there were a bunch of Joe's restaurants in the area with more or less similar menus. Marin Joe's, Joe's of Westlake, and the San Jose Original Joe's are still in business.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Greetings, first post from a San Franciscan eater. Not a foodie, but involved with F&B in various capacities since the 70's.

            Wanted to pipe in about Little Joe's, as that Little Joe's (in various incarnations) is a sweet part of my Italian food experience over the years. "Rain or Shine, Always a Line".

            Little's Joe's started as a restaurant counter on Columbus Ave, in the space that is now the Stinkin' Rose. LJ eventually expanded to the adjacent space, added table service. The added space named Baby Joe's.

            They quickly outgrew the Columbus space, and moved to Broadway (across from Big Al's). Business slowed down over time, and LJ moved to Van Ness and Filbert. Where they lasted about 5 years. The Marina crowd was just not into the Joe's concept, and they then moved to Mission and 4th.

            Last year, LJ moved again, off Market. 5th, I believe.

            Little Joe's, Pisa (then "New Pisa), Gold Spike, U.S. Restaurant (original location), Capp's Corner, etc... will always be a fond memory. Gargantuan meals, washed down with red wine in a water glass.......... ah.......... spumoni, if room. Capp's is last restaurant standing. Still good. Thanks, all.

            1. re: FoodTrippin

              Nice memories, FoodTrippin - Not in North Beach but is the Gold Mirror on Taraval still open?

              1. re: gordon wing

                Hey Gordon, not familiar with Taravel. Only recall loving the meatball sandwiches at Herb's, now that was great. Walked by the new Original Joe's a couple of days ago, and they had tents taking up a great part of the sidewalk on Union st.

                Gonna give Original Joe's on Union a try at earliest opportunity. Been over 10 years since I ate at the original Original, probably more. Also need to give the new Little Joe's off Market a taste, for old time's sake.

                Give the U.S. Restaurant on Columbus a try. The seafood salad is outstanding, and their afredo and carbonara have been great the last few times we ate there. I initially wrote off the new location as a tourist trap. The U.S. is now one of our go to spots for good affordable Italian, within walking distance from home.

                  1. re: gordon wing

                    We ate at the Gold Mirror last July. It was full at 6:30 on a Saturday night. Fun place to get a cocktail and old school SF Italian. I had a calamari appetizer and veal parmigiana. Not cutting edge, but fine renditions. I would happily go back again. The only thing that surprised me was that the veal came with a rice pilaf type side dish, instead of pasta.

                  2. re: FoodTrippin

                    I was just going to mention U.S. Restaurant. I was there 2 weeks ago and it was very much old school-ish Italian even at its new(er) location. I went with an uncle who had been to all the old places, Gold Spike, Capp's. Not the ginorumus portions but the petrale sole was excellent and reasonably price as was the regular old spaghetti and meat balls.

                    L'osteria next door is also a good old school affordable choice.

                  3. re: gordon wing

                    The current owner of Gold Mirror turned it over to his kids who are now the chefs. They plan to keep the same style of menu and update it (supposedly) with seasonal/local ingredients.

                  4. re: FoodTrippin

                    Joe's-style restaurants and North Beach family-style restaurants are two different things.

                    Joe's style is a la carte, a typical meal would be a chop or a sauté with some vegetables and pasta on the side, maybe preceded by antipasti or a salad.

                    Family style is prix-fixe with soup, salad, pasta, entree with veg, and dessert, sometimes antipasto and a second entree. Capp's is the only one left and even it has cut back on the abundance a bit.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Joe's style and family style are both dying/dead breeds in North Beach, for sure. Sure hope the new Original Joe's can fill the gap for Joe's signature fare. Peered thru the window today pre-lunch opening, and *gasp*, saw three blonde female servers prepping for the lunch rush. They were lovely to be sure. Male only servers is one traditon that I won't miss too much.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        "Family style is prix-fixe"

                        Not always.

                        1. re: sugartoof

                          "Family style" is usually just a style of service for a la carte dishes, e.g.Buco di Beppo, but old-school North Beach family-style Italian restaurants served a particular style of prix-fixe menu.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Complete fiction. North Beach restaurants offered a la carte dining, and sometimes blue plate specials, and sometimes specials, and sometimes there were prix fixes, but a prix-fixe was never a North Beach standard.

                            1. re: sugartoof

                              If Gold Spike and the other North Beach family-style places I used to go to had a la carte menus, they kept them secret.

                              There were also a la carte places, like New Joe's, Little Joe's, and the US Restaurant at the low end and Fior d'Italia at the high end.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                Gold Spike did serve a la carte at various times.

                                1. re: sugartoof

                                  Folks, this is getting pretty off-track with history, rather than focusing on this new restaurant. We'd ask that you let this sub-thread go. Thanks.

                      2. re: FoodTrippin

                        Thank you for recounting the incarnations of the Joes. I often ate at Little Joe's on Columbus with friends. it would be tricky because we'd want to sit together, and eventually it would work out even if there were up to six of us!

                        1. re: FoodTrippin

                          Thank you for recounting the incarnations of the Joes. I often ate at Little Joe's on Columbus with friends in the 70s. It would be tricky, because we'd want to sit together, and eventually it would work out even if there were up to six of us!

                          As of now, as far as I heard on fb moments ago, Capps is renegotiating their lease. Otherwise, they are out.

                    2. Didn't dine there today but there was a steady stream of folks coming and going ..... including policemen ..... here are a couple of images

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: gordon wing

                        I understand that a lot of police and fireman attended the opening but only a small fraction compared to number at the opening of the recently closed Hooters.

                        1. re: gordon wing

                          I made it in tonight. Wait for tables at 6pm was estimated 1.5 hours.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            Does this mean you waited and then ATE? If so, how was it?

                            Do they take reservations?

                            1. re: walker

                              Lady Luck smiled on me, I didn't have to wait. No reservations right now, I was told. Yes, I did eat there. And, the food might be better than before. Brought forward with the same changes that dining generally in SF has experienced in these past four years, using better ingredients, more made fresh and prepped in house, and quality over quantity. Sorry, I've been on the run, more when I can sit down with my computer and not typing on my phone on the fly.

                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                My wife and I went to Original Joe's on Saturday. We arrived at 10:10 AM and waited for seating until they opened at 10:30 AM. We were fans of the counter at the old restaurant and sat there this time as well.

                                Walking through the restaurant, they did a nice job of decorating with lots of red leather booths and a private dining room facing the street. The counter was deep inside and sat perhaps 8-9 seats. The marble counter top was nicely done and faces a smaller exhibition kitchen than before. The total length was perhaps 60%-70% of what they had before. However, the counter seats are served from the dining room side as the inner section is used for kitchen prep.

                                A couple of important changes - they now have an Executive Chef overseeing the activity and the food is served through a pass. Quite a difference from the old restaurant.

                                We ate somewhat lightly - sharing a burger/fries after starting with a cup of minestrone (thick/hearty-light on veggies - and arancini (yes - at Joe's). The arancini, served as 5 small rice balls with cheese inside, on a bed of fresher tasting tomato sauce than a Bolognese sauce. The burger is pre-weighed and is smaller than the old burger. Onions were pre-mixed into the meat and the onion pieces were too large for my taste as they didn’t soften during cooking. They changed the fries from the old thick cut fries to more of a traditional large fry. Not as unique as the older style. In general, portion sizes seemed small as compared to the old restaurant. Certainly, enough food but not the meal and a half as before.

                                Daily Specials are served Monday through Friday only and Osso Buco didn’t make the cut.

                                The meal was fine if you didn’t have memories of the old place. No doubt, it is a work in progress and it’s good to have Original Joe’s back.

                                1. re: Bob Copeland

                                  I read somewhere that they served half-pound burgers. Maybe that was before the move. (Personally, I don't have much use for a half-pound burger, unless I was going to split it with someone.)

                        2. I had brunch here today. They are opening at 10:30 Fri-Sun. Closing time isn't set yet, but 11:00 seems like a good guess for now. I can't really report on the food: I had an avocado, bacon, cheddar cheese omelet and it was fine. The space and furnishing and fixtures are first class. It goes well with the tuxedos and ties on all of the servers. Didn't see any blonde servers, though. Rats.