Old-timers report that Grison's was one of the greats, weaving itself into the city's mythic architecture. Writing about his beloved "Baghdad-by-the-Bay," Herb Caen mentioned the place in a 1949 San Francisco Chronicle column: "...at Grison's, a beautiful married blonde is having a cozy dinner with a handsome bachelor attorney (and that's not news because her husband just happens to be out of town and they're only good friends anyway)." Sounds like the kind of joint you'd find some film-noir or between the pages of a detective novel, classy, but with some intrigue.
The prices shown on this postcard certainly take you back: a whole broiled California baby lobster for a buck, a New York sirloin steak for a quarter more. Then there were the odd items you don't often see on menus today: celery hearts, mushrooms on toast, Roquefort Cheese for dessert, and something called "English Mutton Chop Kidney." Can you imagine taking a time machine visit to San Francisco in 1939? Hit the Golden Gate International Exposition by day and grab a steak and a highball at night for under ten bucks, with money left over for a decent tip... That would be a fun day.
More than twenty years ago a steakhouse called Harris' took over Grison's 2100 Van Ness Avenue location. One day Jenny and I might drop by Harris' for a thick slab of beef (and one three-olive dry martini for me), and we'll see if we can still experience that bygone chop house vibe. In the meantime, I'd love to learn more about Grison's. If you have any memories or photos to share, please leave a note in the comment section.