As if to prove that even the most timeless institutions don’t stay the same forever, change has come to the Old Clam House. The venerable eatery along Bernalwood’s eastern frontier has been in business since the days when Bayshore Boulevard was just a grubby plank road, and today it claims to be San Francisco’s oldest restaurant in continuous operation in the same location. But now it has new owners, a new menu, and new decor.
Tablehopper has the details:
The Old Clam House has been bought by the group behind The Stinking Rose (who also own Calzone’s, Bobo’s, The Franciscan, and the upcoming Salito’s/old Margaritaville in Sausalito). The restaurant has been around since 1861, and when it became available, Jerry Dal Bozzo was interested in picking it up—the group’s director of marketing, Brandy Marts, reminded me he has an interest in historical properties: Dal Bozzo was the one to reopen the Cliff House in 1973. They are currently updating the space room by room, refreshing the paint, chairs, and other touches. They are also working to reopen the patio, which will be glassed-in.
I had a chance to catch up with chef Andrea Froncillo, who walked me through the menu changes. He’s taking a lot of the fried dishes off, and modernizing some of the preparations (for example, he’s simplifying the cioppino, with reportedly good feedback from some regulars). He also changed the clams from cherrystones to Manilas due to some availability issues, and added prime rib to the menu. You’ll also see more salads and some lighter lunch options for folks who work in the neighborhood. You can peek at the new menu here.
I confess that despite years of saying, “I should try that place someday,” I’ve never eaten at the Old Clam House. Over on Yelp, some of the old-timers are complaining about the new changes, but, really, I should try that place someday. Have you?
Lastly, if you want to taste a genuine slice of neighborhood history in the safety and comfort of your own home, try making this 1915 Old Clam House recipe for Clam Chowder. The recipe includes bacon, so it must be delicious.
Photo: Tom Spaulding