Sears Fine Food
439 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA, USA
Sears Fine Food San Francisco Reviews
San Francisco classic May 23, 2015
Hilbur and Ben Sears founded Sears in 1938 on the Block of Powell Street. Ben was a retired circus clown who used his wife's family recipe for Swedish Pancakes as the "star attraction" for his new venture. The word soon spread and people lined up to try these wonderful 18 little Swedish pancakes. Thus the legend began...
In the early 1950's the restaurant was sold to Mrs. Quita Brenner who kept the menu and the name. Originally it seated about 70 people and featured two pink Cadillac's that they outfitted with heaters to keep their customers warm while they waited to dine at the restaurant. In 1964 the restaurant moved to its present location at 439 Powell Street and Mrs Brenner, her son in law, Al Boyajian and later his son Lee ran the business. In December 2003 restaurant closed due in part to declining revenues after 09/11. They sought a buyer who might continue the business, loved by generations of San Franciscans and tourists from all over the world. They found that buyer in Man J. Kim, an experienced restaurateur and owner of the Lori's Diner restaurant.
Today the restaurant is flourishing. Breakfast, with its 18 Swedish pancakes is as popular today as it was in 1938 when it began. The children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the original customers visit Sears and many have a story to tell. One customer recently told staff that they had their first date at Sears; had returned many times through the years and were now celebrating their 50th Anniversary. They added that they have brought three generations of their family into Sears and to all have recounted the story of their courtship.
Celbrities, politicians including a former President of the United States have dined at Sears but none are more special than the customers who have visited for breakfast and now join us for dinner.
At 4:00 each day the restaurant metamorphoses into a white tablecloth fine dining dinner establishment under the expert care of two chefs. There is a new dinner menu with daily specials and a full bar to enhance the dining experience.
The little pancakes are incredibly popular – the kitchen says it makes 11,000 every day – but Sears French toast deserves attention, too. It is made of sourdough bread, soaked in eggs and cream until the texture verges on that of junket, but retains a vague bready chew and the tang of ancient yeast, delectably complemented by Sears' strawberry preserves.
And there is more: excellent smoked ham or sausage for side dishes and truly fresh fruit cup for hors d'oeuvre. There are pecan waffles; banana nut bread; big baked apples; Swedish coffee cake; and omelets with crisp hash brown potatoes. In addition, there are square-meals lunches and some fine desserts including strawberry shortcake and an autumn-only apple dumpling to die for.
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