Saturday we woke up to a typical foggy morning of San Francisco. It was Mi’s first morning in our new apartment. I suggested that we could walk to a cafe in Haight-Ashbury. I read about it in CitySearch and it serves all American breakfast we enjoyed in the Greek Diner whenever I went to NY to visit him: eggs, pancakes, sausage, etc.. It turned out to be a long walk since I didn’t remember the name of the cross street and not even the exact name of the restaurant. I was confident that I would know once I saw it. Half the walk was in the panhandle where ancient trees grew tall and the grass was green with dew in the cool fresh morning air. I’ve never seen Haight street this quiet before, though. I guess 9:30am was a bit early for the colorful gangs, who were probably still nursing the alcohol from the night before.
Just when Mi started doubting my memory and suggested maybe we should turn back and drive to Clement, I spotted the line of customers across the street waiting under the old stain glassed sign that says “Pork Store Cafe”. “That’s it!” I happily announced and we ran across the street to take our spot at the end of the line. People in line looked like either regular locals or tourists. “None of them spoke English with an accent!” Mi marveled, “And no one is wearing black!” Ha, New Yorker! The place looked small, we could see every table and estimate where next available table might be. Meanwhile, I was trying to get over my surprise at seeing any restaurant open before 10am on a weekend morning. Having lived in the suburb for too long, I forgot that San Francisco, no matter how small it is comparing to New York, is still a city. And I am officially a city dweller!
The host was a big guy wearing a blue t-shirt, looked more like a bouncer at a club rather than a server at a breakfast joint. Through the glass windows, we watched him cleaning up newly vacant tables, set down napkin and forks neatly and placed enough copy of menus, before ran out to the front and called in the next lucky group. As we were rapidly approaching the front of the line, and more people came from both ends of the streets to line up behind us, the host struggled to open the front door again with a pot of fresh coffee, a stack of paper cup, and a box of creamer. We were the first lucky customers in the morning chill to be served hot coffee that morning. He asked us to just pass the creamer to people behind us when we were done. But the group of young women behind us mistook Mi for a server, extended their coffee cups to him and let Mi serve them cream along side of the host. Ha.
The host thanked Mi for helping him and sent us to the end of the counter when two spots opened up there. We watched the two amigos making breakfast with lighting speed: pork chop, fresh patty sausage, scrambled eggs, spinach, etc. etc. were cooked on the open fire grill and placed onto their platters. Every ingredient looked fresh and juicy. The portion was huge and our smiling server kept our coffee mugs full at all times. I had Banana Pecan pancakes, and Mi had scrambled eggs with patty sausage plus fluffy biscuits. During the meal Mi chatted up with an elderly looking guy with a middle-eastern accent who came in from the back door and we suspected that he might be the owner, who introduced us to the manager Mike, who seemed to know every customer around us. At the end of our meal, Mi offered to cook there if they were shorthanded. To my horror, they laughed and actually encouraged him to go behind the counter!
As they were being cooked, we’ve identified quite a few entries for our future brunch. We know we’d come back often. I wonder how many neighborhood restaurants like this we would find in our newly adopted neighborhood? Ah, I love living in the city.
Pork Store Cafe
1451 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117
Cross Street: Ashbury and Masonic streets
Phone: (415) 864-6981
Customer Review at City Search
History and more info fro GoCityKids