The San Francisco Street Bar & Grill opened its doors in April of 1985. It was a quiet time in Santa Fe, a depression in the commercial and real estate markets. Many thought the downtown retail market was moving out to newer retail projects on St. Michaels Drive. I thought downtown needed a full service, moderately-priced, casual restaurant. In the early Eighties, downtown had a few lunch spots that closed early and upscale restaurants frequented on special occasions. Where was the place for the common man (or woman) that served continuously through the day and remained open late.
The original San Francisco St. Bar & Grill was located at 114 San Francisco Street, below street level. Our success was immediate and continued to boom through the late eighties. It was a concept in need. Casual atmosphere, full bar, efficient service, and hamburgers, grilled sandwiches, creative salads & soups. At night, we added a couple of pastas, a steak, a fresh seafood special and the place seemed full all the time. (It helped that the space was small.)
The restaurant closed temporarily in 2002 when our seventeen-year lease expired. While that was not our intent, things happen. The San Francisco St. restaurant took eighteen months to regroup, but is the better for it. Re-opening in late December 2003 at 50 East San Francisco Street, the revival was simply a half-block up the street. The new location is off of the southwest corner of the Plaza on the corner of San Francisco St. and Don Gaspar. The second level location is somewhat hidden but the 5000 square foot space is a significant departure from the old basement location. Large windows overlooking historic San Francisco St. and Don Gaspar provide abundant natural lighting. The wide open dining room originally designed as an art space, now attractively exhibits paintings and sculptures that illustrate Santa Fe's position as the third largest art market in the United States. The hand-tooled mesquite bar was fabricated in Puebla, Mexico at Hacienda Chapital. The elevated mezzanine area and bay window overlook historic Don Gaspar. It's the perfect spot for a special party, birthday dinner or event of up to 35 people.
The open kitchen allows patrons to view kitchen manager Hijinio Magana grill steaks and seafood just like he did in 1985. The copper paneled plate-up area and raw copper heat lamps are integral design elements that continue with copper panels at the bar and hand tooled copper chandeliers by Roberto Gallegos over the entrance stairwell.
Our Menu has stayed a true course. Today's hamburger is still the same one Esquire Magazine proclaimed "Best of Santa Fe". The bratwurst with sautéed onions, grilled cheese with pesto, patty melt, Greek spinach salad amongst many, are still prepared like they were in the past. Time doesn't always stand still, thus the sesame chicken and cobb salad plates have creative new twists, all steaks and burgers are now certified Angus® and the grilled tuna nicoise salad, Mediterranean salad plate, apple-chutney T-bone pork chop and NY strip steak with balsamic onion marmalade are becoming staples in the day of many long time patrons.
The new bar continues our wine by the glass program with great value-priced wines from which to choose. Six premium draft beers feature locally-crafted Microbrews and a spirit list representing favorite international selections.
The casual atmosphere, creative artwork andan old mesquite wood bar resemble Santa Fe at the turn of the Century. The San Francisco St. Bar & Grill is a tradition not to be missed.