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Jul 9, 2014 11:27 AM

Italian restaurant in North Beach in the early 80's [San Francisco]

I used to go this North Beach restaurant all the time. It was on Columbus Ave-same side of street as Gold Spike It had red booths on the right when you entered and seating on the left where you could sit on stools and watch the cooking and sauteing. We had a great Yugoslavian waiter; the food was excellent and very reasonable. Does anyone remember its name?

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  1. Little Joe's after they expanded to add Baby Joe's?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Nope. It wasn't little Joe's. It was very big and like I said had nice booths and stools on the left showing the kitchen cooks.

    2. U.S. Restaurant in the triangular location?

      3 Replies
      1. re: GH1618

        Sounds like US Restaurant.

        They were near Golden Spike before the first move.

        1. re: sugartoof

          US Restaurant only moved once. Before the mid-1990s they were in the space now occupied by Panta Rei, further from the Gold Spike than is their current location.

      2. You're not thinking of Cafe Americain, which turned into the Stinking Rose?

        1. I did a scan of the 1982 R. L. Polk City Directory (the latest available at for restaurants on Columbus Avenue. Here are all the ones I picked up between Broadway and Union Streets. The odd numbers would be on the same side of the street as Gold Spike.

          308 Tony's
          309 Edna's Fish and Chips
          314 Taj Mahal
          317 Cafe Americain
          321 Baby Joe's
          325 Little Joe's
          347 Guido's
          353 Luigi's
          362 Cafe Europa
          366 Original South Philly Cheesesteak
          411 Caffe Puccini
          414 Caffe Roma
          430 Dante's
          431 US Restaurant
          500 Curly's Coffee Shop
          501 JB's Hamburgers
          515 Anchor Cafe
          519 A Slice of Life Pizza
          527 Gold Spike

          Here's a link to the 1982 directory. Restaurant listings begin on p. 189

          1. I believe the restaurant you're thinking of was called Luigi's at 353 Broadway Ave. It was next door to Molinari's. It's possible the Yugoslavian waiter you mention was my father Americo. It was owned by another Yugoslavian named Mirko who along with Vlaho the chef made the best veal parmigiana I ever had.

            The restaurant was in the movie "The Enforcer" with Clint Eastwood and you could just make out Mirko in the background.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sanjar

              YES! It is definitely Luigi's. To this day, all of us, who grew up in the area lament the lost of our favorite restaurant.

              Correction to the address: Luigi's was on Columbus, between Broadway and Vallejo. Right next to Molinari's Delicatessen. The number 353 is probably correct because that would be the 3rd block of Columbus.

              I still have never found a comparable pesto sauce, linguine with clams (white) or the best warm zabaglione in the world. My sister's favorite was carbonara. My parent's loved the stuffed sole.

              After I married, I introduced my mother-in-law to the restaurant. She, in turn, introduced it to her colleagues at Sak's 5th Avenue. She patronized the restaurant so often that she and Americo recognized each other.

              I had always wondered what happened to the restaurant. It was there one day and gone the next.