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Tadich to Open Branch in Washiington DC?

soupçon May 20, 2013 09:56 AM

This is according to Rene Frojo of San Francisco Business News. http://goo.gl/gipc9

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  1. soupçon RE: soupçon May 20, 2013 11:48 AM

    Confirmed by Inside Scoop


    1. PeterL RE: soupçon May 20, 2013 12:06 PM

      Yes it's on SF Gate. I don't know why this is important. Tadich's claim to fame is mostly historical, in connection with SF. It's not like the French Laundry is opening a branch in DC.

      3 Replies
      1. re: PeterL
        Riccardo RE: PeterL May 20, 2013 02:12 PM

        Keller already has East Coast restaurants, e.g., Per Se, so Tadich opening a branch in D.C. seems like a bigger deal to me. Dissimilar styles, of course, but cloning an SF institution with Tadich's unique history and enduring popularity/quality is significant.

        1. re: Riccardo
          steve h. RE: Riccardo May 20, 2013 02:20 PM

          I like Per Se a lot. I also enjoy Bouchon in Beverly Hills. These places translated well because they prepare food at a very high level.

          My take is that flying in seafood from the West Coast to an audience that knows quality seafood may not be the best business plan.

          We'll see.

          1. re: steve h.
            soupçon RE: steve h. May 20, 2013 08:11 PM

            The point may be to fly in seafood that East Coasters don't have, like sand dabs and Dungeness crabs, just as we fly in lobsters and scallops from the East Coast

      2. Melanie Wong RE: soupçon May 20, 2013 12:19 PM

        That's a pretty long supply line for fresh sand dabs and live Dungeness. But I've seen live Dungeness in tanks in NY Chinatown, so I guess it's not impossible.

        But what about Tadich bake sourdough?

        1. Robert Lauriston RE: soupçon May 20, 2013 12:48 PM

          Sounds more like they're licensing the brand than opening another restaurant.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            hill food RE: Robert Lauriston May 21, 2013 01:00 AM

            sadly that makes the most sense.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              curiousgeo RE: Robert Lauriston May 21, 2013 01:33 PM

              A bit sad actually. Certain restaurants have a special, historical place where they are located. Just because you can have a branch somewhere else, doesn't necessarily mean you should. Like Peter Luger's in Los Angeles or Galatoires in Chicago? I don't think so.

              1. re: curiousgeo
                DavidT RE: curiousgeo May 22, 2013 04:28 AM

                Sorry, but I must disagree. Peter Luger;s has more than one location. As I have mentioned elsewhere on this thread, Rao's has a place in Las Vegas.

                Why should the owners of a thriving business deny themselves an opportunity based on some notion of sentimentality? As long as the quality of the dining experience at Tadich in San Francisco remains the same, the D.C. project doesn't bother me at all. Good luck to them!

                1. re: DavidT
                  curiousgeo RE: DavidT May 22, 2013 11:09 AM

                  You make some reasonable points, but I think we just must agree to disagree on this. And for PL, Brooklyn and Long Island are not quite as distant as SF and DC.

                  1. re: curiousgeo
                    curiousgeo RE: curiousgeo May 22, 2013 11:26 AM

                    Sorry, had to log out before finishing. But I do wish Tadich well in their future plans. It would be terrible if it didn't work out, so good luck to them,

                    1. re: curiousgeo
                      Robert Lauriston RE: curiousgeo May 22, 2013 11:51 AM

                      I'm not sure there's a downside for Tadich. It sounds to me like they're just licensing the brand and probably not putting any money into the deal.

            2. steve h. RE: soupçon May 20, 2013 01:07 PM

              Lots of good seafood in the Chesapeake/Delaware Bay/Atlantic. Shipping in lobsters, clams and oysters from New England on a daily basis is a piece of cake.

              In short, they have access to great seafood. What they do with it remains to be seen.

              DC is ready for a place like Tadich.

              23 Replies
              1. re: steve h.
                Melanie Wong RE: steve h. May 20, 2013 01:14 PM

                The SFGate article says it will largely feature Pacific seafood, same as in SF.

                1. re: Melanie Wong
                  steve h. RE: Melanie Wong May 20, 2013 01:31 PM

                  I like Tadich. I go there for lunch, order a martini at the counter and ask my waiter what's good. He never steers me wrong. It's an old-school place, like Galatoire's in New Orleans.

                  It would be a crime to replicate Tadich here on the East Coast while ignoring access to great local seafood. They should import the style, service and tradition of the original, that's what makes Tadich special. Importing seafood from the West Coast? I don't think locals will buy into a theme restaurant.

                  1. re: steve h.
                    dunstable RE: steve h. May 20, 2013 01:48 PM

                    I think the idea could work fine; I just wonder why they bothered with the Tadich name at all. The East Coast already has plenty of old-fashioned seafood places - Baltimore and its crab cakes and lake trout are just half an hour away. Other than the representative of California-12, has anyone in DC even heard of Tadich?

                    1. re: dunstable
                      steve h. RE: dunstable May 20, 2013 02:05 PM

                      Good points.

                      1. re: dunstable
                        Bacchus101 RE: dunstable May 22, 2013 06:47 AM

                        "Has anyone in DC even heard of Tadich??: well of course the beltway is a world of its own but my guess would be Tadich is quite well know among those who have visited San Francisco. It is special because of its traditions in food, service and style. To import that with success to DC is a roll of the dice and as long as the Original stays the same I for one could care less about a DC outpost.

                      2. re: steve h.
                        ML8000 RE: steve h. May 20, 2013 01:51 PM

                        It is hard to make sense of flying seafood across the country, especially if there's very good seafood locally. Even replicating the old school style and fixtures won't be easy. Seems like that's more than half the appeal.

                        1. re: ML8000
                          steve h. RE: ML8000 May 20, 2013 02:04 PM


                          1. re: ML8000
                            Robert Lauriston RE: ML8000 May 20, 2013 03:10 PM

                            Most seafood comes from the airport. Not that much of Tadich's menu is local.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                              ML8000 RE: Robert Lauriston May 20, 2013 03:34 PM

                              Most seafood comes from the airport, except when it comes by truck. Nearly all crab is trucked in to NorCal from WA/OR, not by plane. Big difference trucking in a ton of dungeness crab with water from Oregon or WA to CA than flying a ton to D.C. from OR/WA via plane. Big difference.

                              So are East Coasters willing to pay extra for dungeness when there's a long tradition of blue crab...you know because flying it in will cost considerably more, esp when comparing it to local crab? Also can't see flying in petrale sole or sand dabs.

                              Anything not West Coast or local probably isn't a wise order at Tadich any way. As has been stated here, you can get a crappy meal at Tadich if you order wrong...and much of that is going with seafood that's not West Coast/local.

                              1. re: ML8000
                                Robert Lauriston RE: ML8000 May 20, 2013 03:46 PM

                                All true.

                                There's already Dungeness in DC.

                            2. re: ML8000
                              mariacarmen RE: ML8000 May 21, 2013 12:25 AM

                              especially when there's very little that Tadich does well, except give you that fuzzy nostalgic feeling for an era you (I) never knew. it's a little gem, i'm glad we have it, but i can't imagine it would hold any allure for places with better, actually fresh seafood.

                              1. re: mariacarmen
                                eatzalot RE: mariacarmen May 21, 2013 10:34 AM

                                I'm glad we have it too, mariacarmen, though less for nostalgia than as a reminder of the larger Bay Area food past, today when the large newbie and tourist population percevies things like the Ferry Plaza shops or the Slanted Door as SF traditions (!).

                                A reminder of days when teen-aged Victor Jules Bergeron Jr. saved up his money and took the ferry from Oakland just to get deviled crab at Bernstein's Fish Grotto (1918) before becoming a restaurateur himself and successfully lobbying AGAINST a SF restaurant ordinance restricting frozen shortcut foods (1960s).

                                Some of my older relatives could recall SF before 1900, and talked about it, 50 years ago. All gone now, but we still have Tadich. In that sense the food scarcely matters...

                                1. re: eatzalot
                                  mariacarmen RE: eatzalot May 22, 2013 12:00 PM

                                  very well said!

                        2. re: steve h.
                          eatzalot RE: steve h. May 20, 2013 02:16 PM

                          Very strange. The point of Tadich in recent generations has been to represent Old San Francisco. So that visitors like the winemaking Baron Rothschild could ask his local host to take them somewhere "typically Old San Francisco," then grow impatient waiting in line, suggest the host "tell them who I am," and be gently told the host tried that already. (That incident was around 1970, reported, of course, in Herb Caen.)

                          To try to open this "brand" in another part of the US that is justly famous for its own different seafood makes about as much sense as (for those of you who know Boston) opening a Durgin-Park "branch" in California.

                          1. re: eatzalot
                            steve h. RE: eatzalot May 20, 2013 02:28 PM

                            West Coast lobsters don't even have claws!

                            1. re: eatzalot
                              Thomas Nash RE: eatzalot May 20, 2013 03:28 PM

                              Durgin Park branch! Great idea. Haven't been there in half a century!

                              1. re: eatzalot
                                lakemerritter RE: eatzalot May 20, 2013 03:47 PM

                                I think a Durgin Park would actually do really well at Pier 39. While we're at it, maybe a Dick's Last Resort as well!

                                Wishing Tadich in D.C. a lot of luck... think they are going to need it.

                                1. re: lakemerritter
                                  mariacarmen RE: lakemerritter May 21, 2013 12:26 AM

                                  please don't put anything you care about in Pier 39!

                              2. re: steve h.
                                hill food RE: steve h. May 21, 2013 01:05 AM

                                steve - seriously? plenty of places in DC are just as good w/o transcontinental movement of stock (and I love Tadich, flaws and all).

                                I'd edit that to "DC would benefit by a Tadich" it couldn't hurt.

                                1. re: hill food
                                  hill food RE: hill food May 22, 2013 12:21 AM

                                  some post got deleted, I wasn't dogging on steve h's comment about lobster. a Tadich (Buich) approach would be welcome, casual quality seafood has seen a lot of success in DC (Hank's, Legal, etc) it would be odd to bring the fish along, but then that begs the question of why bother? maybe what works in "X" needs to stay in "X"

                                  didn't Herb Caen used to rave about Joe's Stone Crab in FL?

                                  1. re: hill food
                                    eatzalot RE: hill food May 22, 2013 06:29 AM

                                    Note that Legal Seafood is a, or the, characteristic Boston fish restaurant, originally no more a part of DC than Tadich is. It has become a big chain.

                                    Also as a very minor detail, the Miami restaurant is traditionally Joe's Stone Crabs, plural. (At least that's what's on the restaurant's sign, my receipt, and the business card I got.)

                                    1. re: eatzalot
                                      drewskiSF RE: eatzalot May 22, 2013 01:01 PM

                                      looks like sometime between your visit and now, they've dropped the 's'

                                      the sign looks to still have the plural

                                      1. re: drewskiSF
                                        eatzalot RE: drewskiSF May 22, 2013 05:20 PM

                                        Yes. As I said, traditionally.

                                        Don't know why restaurants have to dicker with things like this and create a conflict with their own signage. Sometimes it's a legal matter, as when Fat Albert's opened in Berkeley but had to change to FatApple's, and later, the pioneering Roaring Rock brewery was obliged to become "Triple Rock," which has always seemed to me a less natural, less sonorous name.

                                        Maybe the indignity is karmically connected somehow to the efforts by Triple Rock (which opened doors under the Roaring name in 1986) to rationalize calling itself California's "oldest original brewpub" when Mendocino Brewing Co., the same kind of business and equally "original" in any but a marketing-claim sense, opened in
                                        Hopland in 1983 and was already famous in Herb Caen's column by 1984.

                              3. hill food RE: soupçon May 21, 2013 12:58 AM

                                it will be interesting to see what the hell happens. straightforward seafood always has an audience in DC so it might work. yes Dungeness and Sand Dabs CAN be found sometimes but with no reliability or regularity. some folks get violently defensive about the local Chesapeake blues.

                                I have no dog in this hunt, but am interested. I have a hunch any DC location of a Tadich will be a Disney-esque fabrication.

                                not the city I would have chosen for a branch (if one at all)

                                1. d
                                  DavidT RE: soupçon May 21, 2013 06:31 AM

                                  If Rao's can open a restaurant in Las Vegas, why can't Tadich have a restaurant in D.C.?

                                  But seriously, the proprietors of the Tadich Grill have operated probably the most successful restaurant in one of the most competitive dining cities in the country for a couple of decades now. While this venture may or may not be a success, does anyone seriously think they have not thought thru all the angles on this?

                                  13 Replies
                                  1. re: DavidT
                                    eatzalot RE: DavidT May 21, 2013 10:03 AM

                                    How do you mean "couple of decades now" given that the restaurant opened in 1849 and the Tadich family bought it in the 1880s? (I have their book somewhere.)

                                    1. re: eatzalot
                                      DavidT RE: eatzalot May 21, 2013 10:29 AM

                                      Well, for starters, "the Tadich family" has not owned the restaurant for some time, the Buich family has.

                                      While I am aware of the lengthy history of the restaurant (I have the book as well!) I referred to a "couple of decades" in regards to the restaurant's popularity and prominence. Since I have only lived in San Francisco since 1972, I do not know how successful the Tadich was relative to its peers prior to that.

                                      1. re: DavidT
                                        eatzalot RE: DavidT May 21, 2013 10:49 AM

                                        (A belated welcome to SF, then!)

                                        When I first ate there in the 1970s, I first asked experienced people about Tadich and what to order. The comments suggested that, while venerable, Tadich had seen livelier times, as more of a leading SF restaurant, earlier such as the 1950s-60s. Such sentiments were then echoed around 1985 by that dining critic who used to broadcast on the FM classical radio stations that used to exist here - I forget his name, but Nachman once parodied him as sounding like "a maitre d' sauteed in a rich lemony sauce."

                                        (Hence my surprise at the reference to just a recent couple of decades.)

                                        1. re: eatzalot
                                          wally RE: eatzalot May 21, 2013 12:15 PM

                                          I am pretty sure I tried to eat there in the 60's but was turned away because I was not accompanied by a male. I found someplace else to eat.

                                          1. re: eatzalot
                                            soupçon RE: eatzalot May 21, 2013 01:10 PM

                                            You're probably referring to Doug Pledger, whose "Dining With Pledger" show aired on KKHI.

                                            And yes, you have to respect restaurants like Tadich in this day and age when every restaurant that manages to survive for two years is rewarded with a deal for a $40 cookbook.

                                            1. re: soupçon
                                              eatzalot RE: soupçon May 21, 2013 02:51 PM

                                              No, definitely not Doug Pledger (of "Pledger plays the classics") - I actually phoned him once to ask a music question, by the way.

                                              We had a very well-known full-time restaurant critic who appeared in various media -- not Jack Shelton either I'm pretty sure (he had his own distinctive outlet and retired around or before the moment I cited). Nor Russ(?) Riera, who, during an overlapping but generally later interval of years, had a popular mainstream weekend call-in show on KGO radio and an encyclopedic knowledge of Bay Area restaurants as well as running his eponymous Italian restaurant on Solano Ave. in Albany.

                                              The man whose name I forget had a particular old-school, well-fed manner (whence Gerald Nachman's facetious characterization). Recalling characters like (though he was far kinder than) Robert Morley's imperious dining critic in the 1978 movie version of the Lyons' food mystery ("Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?")

                                              1. re: eatzalot
                                                Robert Lauriston RE: eatzalot May 21, 2013 03:54 PM

                                                Jim Wood?

                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                  eatzalot RE: Robert Lauriston May 21, 2013 04:12 PM

                                                  No. A distinctive name, it's on the tip of my tongue -- maddening. If I think of it, I'll post it here.

                                                  (I even checked an archive file of paper clippings, hoping at least to find Nachman's send-up of the various popular Bay-Area restaurant critics of the time, 30 yrs ago. Found lots of other good stuff but not that...)

                                                  1. re: eatzalot
                                                    Robert Lauriston RE: eatzalot May 21, 2013 04:23 PM

                                                    Robert Finigan?

                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                      eatzalot RE: Robert Lauriston May 21, 2013 04:30 PM

                                                      Older than Finigan, who of course bought out Shelton's Private Guide business, but soon focused on wine. I have some Finigan wine newsletters back to around 1980. The name that escapes me was an old Bay Area hand, and I remember him on the radio circa 1983 or 85, rolling out the name "Tadich" with a rich, middle-aged, portly-sounding intonation...

                                                      Addendum: Though I connect his name more with print, it may well have been Shelton if he was on the radio too in his last years. This valuable 1980 Reichl piece surveyed the main Bay Area and California food personalities circa 1950-1980 and Shelton is the only one that would fit:


                                                      1. re: eatzalot
                                                        soupçon RE: eatzalot May 21, 2013 08:00 PM

                                                        I also do not particularly associate Jack Shelton with radio, though I seem to recall his "Private Guide to Restaurants" being advertised a lot on KJAZ (which I listened to far more than the classical stations.

                                                        In searching, I did find a scholarly gem, a 364-page PhD thesis for the University of Texas entitled "Sameness in Diversity: Food Culture and Globalization in the San Francisco Bay Area and America, 1965-2005" by Laresh Krishna Jayasanker.


                                                    2. re: eatzalot
                                                      pamf RE: eatzalot May 22, 2013 08:09 AM

                                                      Two other radio hosts for consideration:

                                                      Narsai David
                                                      Gene Burns

                                                      Although his wikipedia page shows that Burns did not start broadcasting in SF until 1995.

                                                      1. re: pamf
                                                        eatzalot RE: pamf May 22, 2013 08:53 AM

                                                        Thanks pamf. This is embarassing, I shouldn't have mentioned the detail except for trying to recall WHICH then-famous Bay Area restaurant critic commented on Tadich Grill 30 years ago.

                                                        That and other historical refs like the 1970s Rothschild episode (which I read at the time in Herb Caen's column, also reproduced in the Tadich book) support Tadich's longtime institutional status. Though in the 1970s it was less *hip* by far than Trader Vic's on Cosmo Alley -- the expansion from the Oakland original that had prompted Caen in 1941 'to write in my column "The best restaurant in San Francisco is in Oakland" -- the nice thing being that most San Francisco restaurateurs not only agreed, they were to be seen dining at Trader Vic's on their nights off' [Introduction to Bergeron's autobiography, 1973].

                                                        I know Narsai David (was a customer at his Kensington restaurant, one of the pioneering East-Bay high-end places with connections to the seminal Potluck), it wasn't him. Burns is recent. It's not a question of picking a name from a list, but of a critic of specific age, experience, and voice, well enough known as such for another SF columnist (Nachman) to parody him in the early 80s. It was either Shelton or a contemporary with shorter but intense tenure.

                                      2. Robert Lauriston RE: soupçon May 21, 2013 08:43 AM

                                        The Lettuce Entertain You group in Chicago in partnership with this ICON group did similar knockoff of Miami's Joe's Stone Crab in Chicago and LV

                                        Maybe ICON wants go off on its own, so needs a new historic brand.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                          drewskiSF RE: Robert Lauriston May 21, 2013 09:38 AM

                                          It looks like the ICON founders are the same people as Lettuce

                                          1. re: drewskiSF
                                            wally RE: drewskiSF May 21, 2013 03:29 PM

                                            That bodes well for mediocrity.

                                          2. re: Robert Lauriston
                                            eatzalot RE: Robert Lauriston May 21, 2013 10:17 AM

                                            Joe's Stone Crabs in Chicago and Vegas?? The things I mercifully miss...

                                            Joe's is about the most distinctive Miami eatery I've tried that has been there for a real while. (For example, under a thin pseudonym "Bill's at the Beach," Joe's appeared in the 1959 Ian Fleming novel "Goldfinger," where one of its signature crab-claw dinners was a memorable meal scene. No hint of this in the dumbed-down movie version, of course. I'd read the book as a teenager and recognized the fare when taken to Bill's decades later, then researched and confirmed the novel's reference.)

                                            Another example of a local, limited-menu, iconic restaurant of a particular city. I guess this expansion phenomenon is all about milking a brand. Same as what happened to Ian Fleming's novels. I must tell my business-faculty friends (one of whom introduced me to Joe's, unaware of its connection to pop fiction).

                                            1. re: eatzalot
                                              wolfe RE: eatzalot May 21, 2013 01:42 PM

                                              When I went to Joe's I stood behind George Jessel, his elderly wife, grand daughter and great grandchild, I thought. Silly me, as I found out it was his date and her child and the older woman was the nanny. Go George.

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