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Oct 24, 2012 07:09 PM

From the Old Days - a Poodle on Maiden Lane?

Is my memory faulty, or was there at one time a restaurant/cafe on Maiden Lane called something like The Pink Poodle? Very French-style, with cafe tables out on the sidewalk, and colorful awning, etc.

Anyone remember that?

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  1. Was this it but not on Maiden Lane?
    Cafe on lane with outside tables and awning Claude on Claude Lane.
    Lots off restaurants with outside tables on "lane."

    1. I also remenber eating at the Old Poodle Dog on Maiden Lane in the early 70's, but when I Google it, the only reference is a post on Fodor's.

      3 Replies
      1. re: BN1

        The Old Poodle Dog was at 65 Post from the 30s to 1980.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          From the link no one reads.
          Lalanne opened the Ritz French Restaurant at 65 Post Street in San Francisco in 1933. Prohibition had ended and the wine flowed anew. Calixte Lalanne died in 1942 and his son Louis promptly renamed his restaurant the Ritz Old Poodle Dog to honor his father's first love. Louis died in 1968 and his wife took over management of the restaurant. It quietly closed following her death in 1980. For the couple, the Old Poodle Dog was a labor of love.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            That makes sense, as we walked over from the office on Montgomery St. I guess my memory is like an SF fog, but at least I don't feel lonely.

        2. Old Poodle Dog was one of the "original" old SF restaurants, along with Bardelli's, Iron Horse, and the couple that remain: Tadich Grill and Sam's. And I seem to recall that yes, it was pink inside. Ouch. Similar to Anton & Michel in Carmel, but more ornate.

          These places were limping along in the 1970's, and disappeared by the mid '80's, when the three-martini-lunch was replaced by a single glass of Chardonnay and a salad. No, I'm not joking. My old boss at a big insurance company was one of the execs who frequented such establishments. Hard liquor was replaced by the boom in drinking wine and the rising interest in exotic ethnic (like regional Chinese and dim sum instead of chop suey and Cantonese-only restaurants) at the low price end, and nouvelle cuisine on the high end. It was nouvelle cuisine that drove the classic La Bourgogne, Old Poodle Dog, and Le Petit Trianon to close; no one was eating rich French sauces and butter any longer.

          One thing that was a shame as these older places disappeared was the decor. Bardelli's especially was an interior design loss, as they had numerous stained glass panels created by the local SF Glassworks that was a Tiffany competitor in the late 1800's/early 1900's. One of the three post-'06 earthquake showpieces from this long-defunct firm still available to be seen by the public is the magnificent "sailing ship" stained glass dome from the old City of Paris department store, that is now in the rotunda of Neiman-Marcus. The other two are in the Palace Hotel: the ceiling domes of its Garden Court and Maxfield restaurants.

          Bardelli had many beautiful stained glass panels from SF Glassworks in the restaurant that were eventually auctioned off after they closed. Most were reputedly purchased by a private local buyer. One panel stood in Bardelli's foyer: a 5' tall, 3' wide panel of a peacock in the classic 3/4 pose. The food was awful, as I recall, but the stained glass was stunning.

          There is a long out-of-print art book on the stained glass produced by the SF Glassworks company. I bought it almost forty years ago. Not very thick, but many photos of their work. One of the 'local treasures' of my book collection. The peacock panel from Bardelli's is used as the cover photo.

          Yes, this was a very long time ago! My ex-boss is long-retired and now 82 yrs old. He'll be back in SF for his annual visit during Thanksgiving week and we're meeting them at Perbacco for dinner. No stained glass panels, but much better food, LOL.

          5 Replies
          1. re: jaiko

            Now you've got me curious -- was there a "poodle" place on O'Farrell close to Macy's where "ladies who lunch" lunched? They were known for their cream of spinach soup?

            1. re: Sarah

              I recall eating at a small restaurant on Maiden Lane, possibly in the 80's, that offered a special creamed spinach. My memory is that it was some sort of tea room?

              1. re: chocolatetartguy

                I'm pretty sure that place I'm thinking of was on O'Farrell, next or close to Jos Magnin.

            2. re: jaiko

              The Iron Horse was on Maiden Lane, right? I remember going there for lunch when I was very, very young. (I expect all this will be zapped from above.)

              1. re: Glencora



                Maybe nostalgia topics are OK now like media topics. Maybe CBS is more concerned about traffic than focus.

            3. I recall the Old Poodle Dog, but never ate there. Incidentally, the name "Poodle Dog" is said to be a fanciful corruption of "Poulet D'Or."

              1. When I was a child, my great Uncle Charlie would take each of his grandchildren and great nieces and nephews to the Ritz Poodle Dog for lunch. When it was my turn, I wore my patent leather mary-janes, my white gloves and fancy dress. My mother would put me on the streetcar and Uncle Charlie would meet me at the stop. Lunch always ended with Cherries Jubilee. The waiters would dim the lights and bring out the flaming dessert. Such a thrill for a little girl.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ola

                  What a sweet memory to share, ola - thank you!