In 1849, during the height of the California Gold Rush, a Croatian immigrant opened the New World Coffee Salon on Commercial Street. Like the original Starbucks in Seattle, it soon eclipsed its humble beginnings. The eatery changed hands from one Croatian owner to the next, including employee John Tadich, who bought it in 1888. After the restaurant was destroyed in the great earthquake of 1906, he rebuilt it in a new location and renamed it after himself. Tadich Grill is the oldest restaurant in San Francisco and a beloved institution, still serving about 600 meals per day. It seems frozen in time, and the highly professional waiters still wear white coats, the signature rice pudding has utilized the same secret recipe for over a century, the original mahogany bar runs the entire length of the downstairs dining room, and unlike newer competitors, Tadich still turns out ultra-traditional West Coast seafood specialties like Crab Louis, Shrimp Newburg, Cioppino, and Dungeness crab with sliced tomato. This is San Francisco, so complimentary bowls of fresh, crusty sourdough bread are standard fare. Many fans feel Tadich has the Bay Area’s best fries, an essential side to almost any dish on the large menu.
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