Don and I celebrated our 40th anniversary at Sears Fine Food.
That had not exactly been our plan, for our one night in San Francisco.
Don and I were in San Fran, last October. We spent one night at the lovely Fairmont Hotel. It was our big 40th, so we dressed in tiki attire and headed down to the hotel's Tonga Room. Our plans changed when we learned that the tropical paradise bar/restaurant, had been booked for a closed event.
So we did what we do best on all our travels... we adapted and found fun elsewhere. We headed a few blocks away to the Powell Street, with its colorful neon signs. We had drinks at the Sir Francis Drake hotel, then crossed over to Sears.
This is how the dining room looked at about 8:30 pm. We were pretty thrilled the place was still in business. We remembered coming here about 20 years ago.
The long dining room looked different to me. It was filled with old photographs and memorabilia, but I remembered more of a vintage, white tablecloth place. Pink walls? I can't really remember.
I was a little disappointed when our server arrived at the table. He was quite young and had only been on the job for 2 weeks. I had hoped for some old character, who would remember all the restaurant history. Open since 1938!
But then I met Eddie in the front of the restaurant. He wasn't really all that old, but he was chatty and wore a vest, covered in teddy bears. That's a conversation starter.
A Closer Look
Eddie was going on 17 years, working at Sears. I told him that Don and I had fond memories of eating pancakes with our kids at Sears, in 2000. That was pre-Eddie. He let me know they'd had a change in ownership since then.
He pointed out some old photos and news clips on the wall.
This pic looked like it could have been from 20 years ago. It doesn't look as retro as I remembered.
I loved this write up about a former maitre d' who used to greet guests at Sears. He didn't start working as a host, until he was 105!
I'm afraid he had already passed, when we dined 2 decades ago. What a treat it would have been, to have been shown to our table by Sidney Amber!
Don and I finally got down to studying the menu. It was pretty fun to read some of the history starting in 1938, when Ben and Hilbur Sears opened.
Ben used to park 2 pink Cadillacs in front of the biz, with heaters and radios on. What a hoot to sit in a glamorous pink caddy, waiting for your table!
The restaurant is no longer owned by the Sears family, but at least the new ownership added evening dining. Back when visited years ago, we couldn't have ordered Lobster Ravioli. That was my choice. It came stuffed with eastern lobster and ricotta cheese. It was served with a healthy blob of sauteed spinach and lobster saffron cream. Yummy rich!
Don went for the Chef's special of Teriyaki Tuna Steak with sesame seeds. It was served with mashed potatoes and broccoli with teriyaki sauce. All good!
We were stuffed, but it seemed a shame not to order the thing that Sears is known for. We asked for a half order of Swedish Pancakes, made using the same recipe that belonged to Ben Sears' Swedish wife.
Our server brought us a full order anyway. Oh how I could use some of those pancakes right now. We weren't able to finish even a quarter, but took them with us.
By the time we finished up, the restaurant had emptied out. I was able to make a quick look around, while Don paid up.
There were lots of antiques in front.
Lots of old-timey photos on the wall.
And of course and old mixer and sewing machine.
This is the room that I loved the best. The dining counter/bar was set up with all the stools set properly for the morning... napkins and forks, at the ready.
About 3 minutes after I snapped this photo, the room filled with staff. A cake was placed on the counter and the kitchen and restaurant staff burst into Happy Birthday! Our waiter had sort of an embarrassed grin, like we'd caught them all goofing off on the job. But I loved it. What a happy looking crew! We added a big "Happy Birthday!" on our way out.
Sears in 2020
I'm glad we had our odd little anniversary dinner at Sears. I'm glad it's managed to stay open, all these years.
I'm writing this almost 8 months later, with all my stay-at-home-pandemic time. I just looked Sears up on the internet and I'm glad to see they are at least serving carryout food, now. I so hope they will be able to open before too long and get back to normal.
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.