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HEARTBROKEN, Fog City to close


UGH. I LOVE this place. and I have been frustrated by what Real Restaurants did. They let this place go.
They hired a chef who, instead of focusing on American inspired dishes, he added Asian inspiration and mexican insiration to an AMERICAN Diner Menu.

There was a time when the employees were experienced. They had years of experience at some of SF's best restaurants. Then when the management changed, the manager started promoting Hosts with zero serving experience to serve!

Obviously I am very passionate about this change. This has been one of my all time favorite places in SF. I even had a prom dinner there. and over the last 6-8 years I have watched it be neglected and run like it was the red headed step child of Real restaurants.

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  1. 37 years is a long run!

    Little City Antipasti Bar, which opened in 1981, was the first place in SF to do small plates.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I know. just have strong emotions tied to this place.

      and about 6 months ago I even thought about writing them and begging to take it over somehow.

      I feel like this place is totally salveable.

      its just been neglected and run so poorly.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        I think it was 27 years. Anyone remember when this was Mildred's? They had great turkey sandwiches.

        1. re: Bay Gelldawg

          > Anyone remember when this was Mildred's? They had great turkey sandwiches.<

          Was the name Mildred's? I remember it because a friend had his business across the street in the late 60s-early 70s. The owner and cook was a man whose name I can't remember, but would remember if I heard it. He always roasted a turkey, hence the great fresh-carved turkey sandwiches. The rest of the food was forgettable.

          1. re: Bay Gelldawg

            I never ate at Mildred's but I went inside once; there was a mound of dirt on the floor and tombstone. In memory of Joan Crawford in "Mildred Pierce." I finally saw the original and HBO did a really excellent one starring Kate Winslet.

            Fog City used to be so great and always busy. I did not go often because prices were high and portions small.

            1. re: walker

              What time frame was that for you at Mildred's? It was a different time from when I was there (no dirt and tombstone and I think the name was not "Mildred's").

              1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                Don't remember the year; it was called Mildred's and, I believe, the next name was Fog City Diner.

                1. re: walker

                  From an article called The Building of Levi Plaza & 101 Lombard
                  In 1975, there was only one restaurant in the area, a funky cavernous place called
                  Mildred Pierce's where Fog City now sits.

                  1. re: wolfe

                    <In 1975, there was only one restaurant in the area, a funky cavernous place called Mildred Pierce's where Fog City now sits.<

                    My memory of it is from before that time when it was a mediocre hofbrau-type place under another name but always with very good fresh roasted turkey.

        2. So I went on Saturday for a late lunch to say good bye.

          Food was ok, we ordered some staples. Like the leek loaf, for fear it will not be on the new menu.
          The service was AWFUL. I really hope they fire their FOH staff. INCLUDING the manager.
          I mean we waited for 30 min to get our check. just sitting there, waters empty...napkins on the table. If someone had bothered to look our way, maybe they would have noticed.

          Common hospitality was just gone. Like yield to the guest.


          1. Inside Scoop reports they closed early. I suppose it's a sign of the problems with the place that it didn't occur to management that if you announce that a place is going to close in five weeks, you're going to start losing staff as soon as they can find new jobs.


            1 Reply
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I find it interesting that they will not be open for the Americas Cup

              I really feel like they have no idea what they are doing. How can you not ENSURE to be open for America's Cup when the Sting Concert alone is across the street!

            2. Very sad to hear this. It was a fave for many years, and their oyster selection was always terrific.

              1. The place was iconic, sad that a chef torched the cuisine and menu.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cstr

                  I don't think any one chef can take the blame for the place's decline. They've had at least six since Cindy Pawlcyn sold out to her partners in 2000.

                2. I sympathize with anyone who loses a favorite restaurant. That's just sad.

                  That said, hasn't the quality of food in SF and velocity of change surpassed places like this long ago?

                  Even places like Chez Panisse gets dissed, even as they have kept the quality, if not the technique.

                  No offense but wasn't it time to change up the nouveau retro diner? 27 years is a long time.

                  7 Replies
                    1. re: monkeyrotica

                      A long time but they're not trying to do nouveau diner food or whatever they called it. And yet many don't like Tadich food-wise because they're still in the 18th century. Beside their sour dough, sand dabs or petrale sole, what's to order there...the old school charm? Many don't even like their version of cioppino.

                      1. re: ML8000

                        Tadich is old-school in both bad and good ways. The difference between the best and worst meals one could order there might be the most extreme in SF.


                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          It's the same with Antoine's in New Orleans which has been around for 170 years. Most people hate the place because they're not serving some nouveau molecular gastronomy slop, but I love it for that very reason. I haven't been in Fog City in a decade, but I can't say as I remember a damn thing about my meal besides the decor.

                        2. re: ML8000

                          Yeah personally I have no use at all for Tadich, and am always tempted to steer people away from that place when it gets recommended here as anything other than an old-fashioned culinary relic. If Tadich Grill survives, it is not because its food survives head-to-head comparisons to the best restaurants in the area.

                          1. re: dunstable

                            I don't agree (on its good days with the right item). I've had sublimely-perfect meals there. Don't ask about the other end of the scale.

                            1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                              I agree. I've also had lunches with people uninitiated to Tadich's, that ordered stuff I wouldn't have expected to be as excellent as it was.

                    2. wow. that was a place that could have run the distance, it was theirs to F/U. it was never my favorite or anything, but had a great formula and location.

                      1. Fog City Diner is a fond memory for me. My mom and I had dinner there on our first trip to San Francisco back in 1991. Mom was an unadventurous diner and didn't know what to order. The wonderful waitress noticed this and asked her questions about what she liked to eat and suggested pot roast braised in red wine. My mother talked about that meal for years afterward. The food was very good but my memory is of the kindness shown to an elderly tourist and my mother's joy in the experience.

                          1. re: ML8000

                            It looks like they covered the diner car motif with mid century inspired modernist wood. Very strange to see.

                            Fog City was a lot like Moose's for a while there. You could get a solid meal, use it for a special occasion or just a meeting, and there was a certain sense of class to it. I'll miss the lamb sandwich the most.

                            1. re: sugartoof

                              I really like what they did to open up the dining room to the Embarcadero and the way the bar wraps around. They are still work in progress and probably need a couple of weeks to settle in, but even with that in mind, my experience there tonight makes me optimistic about the future. Bruce Hill is a pretty good chef and even with the first-day kinks, the place seems to be managed well enough. No doubt that the new place will be an improvement over what the old place was late in life.

                            2. re: ML8000

                              The new place looks great - I like the updated decor & lighter ambience. Just sharing some pics of the old place that I took during my last visit: