Sam's Grill & Seafood Restaurant / San Francisco

374 Bush St at Kearny San Francisco 94104
Opening Hours
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri 11:00 - 21:00
Description

Continuously voted "The Bay Areas Top 100 Restaurants." ~ S.F. Chronicle Sam’s Grill, the fifth-oldest restaurant in the country, opened in 1867 as an oyster saloon in San Francisco’s California Market, an open-air food emporium that stood where the Bank of America building now towers. 1867 was just 18 years after the Gold Rush transformed San Francisco from somnolent village to city, two years after Lee surrendered at Appomattox, two years before the first transcontinental railroad connected the coasts. The California Market, Evelyn Wells wrote in her 1939 Champagne Days in San Francisco, was “a great bazaar under a single roof, housing fish stands, vegetable and dairy stands, beer counters and restaurants.” Sam’s was founded by Michael Bolan Moraghan, a native of Ireland, who called it simply “M. B. Moraghan’s.” Doris Muscatine wrote of Sam’s in her sweeping Old San Francisco, published in 1975: “In the early days its most popular dishes were breaded turtle steak and green turtle soup, and the proprietors continued to import live deep-sea turtles well into the 1930s.” Moraghan was an oysterman and seafood purveyor. Along with John S. Morgan’s Morgan Oyster Company, the Moraghan Oyster Company raised oysters in southern San Francisco Bay on beds that sprawled across an area the size of San Francisco. By 1900, though Moraghan’s and Morgan’s men fought ceaselessly with oyster pirates like the young Jack London, these oyster beds were producing 2.5 million pounds of oyster meat a year. The oyster industry in the Bay is gone now, a victim not of pirates but at first of pollution, then of garroting government regulation. Sam Zenovich, who owned the Reception Café at Sutter and Webb (now Spring) Streets, bought Moraghan’s restaurant in 1922. The Reception was an establishment of some repute, a hangout of ring and race fans such as former heavyweight boxing champions John L. Sullivan, James J. Corbett, and Jack Dempsey. Reception regulars (save Sullivan, who died in 1918) followed Zenovich to his new establishment, which he renamed “Samuel Zenovich Restaurant.” Everyone but Zenovich called it “Sam’s.” Frank Seput bought Sam’s when Zenovich died in 1937. Seput changed its name to a breezy “Sam’s Grill and Seafood Restaurant.” Sam’s moved to 374 Bush Street in 1946. Seput took sons Walter and Frank Jr.as partners; grandson Gary Seput became sole owner in 1994. Phil Lyons bought Sam’s in 2005, and nine years later sold to a group that is headed by Peter Quartaroli., who has been part of the Sam’s family since 1994. Sam’s still serves petrale, rex sole and sand dabs, and oysters now from Drake’s and Tomales Bays. The only turtle it serves, though, is the mock variety. --John Briscoe

from official Facebook page
average 1216 votes
3.0
Tips from the Net @ Sam's Grill & Seafood Restaurant
Debra Cleaver en
Beautiful old San Francisco restaurant serving classic seafood dishes. The Petrale Sole was light and perfect. Our server made excellent suggestions and didn't rush is through our meal. GooglePlace - September 2017
Paul Horcher en
Outside bartender Scott is great. Inside waiter Stefano also excellent. Happy hour before 7 outside very good. GooglePlace - September 2017
Sudarshan Khound en
Great food and wine option. A place with lots of history. Loved it. GooglePlace - September 2017
Justin Buell en
A classic with the true authentic experience of fresh fish, timeless ambiance, private booths and friendly service from great staff. GooglePlace - August 2017
Amie Edwards en
Fantastic experience tonight at Sam's Grill! The staff was super nice and the food was outstanding. We are visiting San Francisco from Iowa and this was the perfect dining experience. It was a great first impression of San Francisco! GooglePlace - July 2017