Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Hundredth, John's Grill

Posted By on Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 4:55 PM

click to enlarge johnsgrill.jpeg
John's Grill celebrated its hundredth birthday a few weeks ago, and as a longtime fan of Old San Francisco and the works of Dashiell Hammett, I made sure to help observe the occasion. Hammett figures into the equation because at one point in his magnum opus, "The Maltese Falcon," gumshoe Sam Spade ducks into John's for a quick meal of chops, potatoes and sliced tomatoes before heading to Burlingame on a bum steer. I myself was on the trail of one of the 8-cent martinis the bar would be offering as part of its commemoration festivities.


A few thousand other well-heeled celebrants were there for the same reason, but like any old-school S.F. restaurant, John's has a warren of elegant upstairs rooms ideal for mingling, and as a result the mood was more convivial than congested. Photographs of the restaurant's satisfied past customers - Alfred Hitchcock, Marlon Brando, Sophia Loren, Lillian Hellman et al. - gazed down from the dark oak-paneled walls, and the cocktails were frosty and potent.

John's Grill is of the same genre and attitude as Tadich's, Sam's and Jack's, right on down to the starched linens and starchier waiters, with a menu of toothsome classics like crab Louis, Joe's special, hangtown fry, grilled snapper, oysters Wellington, calves' livers and the Bloody Brigid cocktail: vodka, soda, lime, grenadine and sweet and sour. Plus Spade's circa-1929 chops, potatoes and sliced tomatoes, of course. Why mess with success? (63 Ellis at Stockton; 986-3274.) --Matthew Stafford

  • Pin It

About The Author

Janine Kahn

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"