Restaurants serving choice profits

Serving up a top-selling restaurant in The City is like following in the footsteps of Rice-A-Roni: you have to get tourists and locals believing it’s a San Francisco treat, according to local eatery owners.

That’s been one of the key ingredients fueling the four San Francisco restaurants named this week among the 100 highest-grossing independent eateries in the nation.

The list, published in Restaurants & Institutions, included Scoma’s (No. 23), Boulevard (59), The Slanted Door (70) and Cliff House (79) — four nonchain establishments that combined for nearly $53 million in sales in 2007.

The restaurants that made the list all share the benefits of size, location and history. Scoma’s and The Slanted Door are in heavily traveled waterfront areas, the pulse of tourism. Boulevard is in the heart of the Financial District, and Cliff House, though on the less-frequented ocean side, is clung to the edge of national parkland.

Nevertheless, restaurateurs say it’s not easy getting a San Francisco restaurant on a national top-sellers list, mainly because visitor traffic is less affected by the seasons in other cities as it is in San Francisco. During the tourism-scarce winter months, local restaurants must be able to bring in the locals.</p>

“San Francisco residents favor independent restaurants, you don’t really see many chains here,” said Kevin Westlye, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.

Mariann Costello, Scoma’s vice president, agreed that the restaurant’s success is in its balance as a favorite for visitors and locals. She said a restaurant has to exhibit longevity and tradition to become regarded as a must-see experience for visitors. But the dual challenge is to stay creative and flexible to keep Bay Area residents interested.

“[Scoma’s] has a long-standing family tradition as its foundation, and with that foundation we can move forward in a progressive manner,” Costello said.

TaoLas Vegas topped the list with more than $66.5 million, and three New York City restaurants made the top five: Tavern on the Green (No. 2), Smith & Wollensky (4) and TAO Asian Bistro (5). Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach was third, with sales of about $29.6 million, according to the report.

maldax@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Temporary high-occupancy vehicle lanes will be added to sections of state Highway 1 and U.S. Highway 101 through The City including Park Presidio Boulevard to help keep transit flowing as traffic increases. (Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Transit and high-occupancy vehicle lanes coming to some of The City’s busiest streets

Changes intended to improve transit reliability as traffic increases with reopening

Tents fill up a new safe camping site in a former parking lot at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin on Thursday, June 11, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Proposal for major expansion of safe sleeping sites gets cool reception in committee

Supervisor Mandelman calls for creation of more temporary shelter sites to get homeless off streets

Demonstrators commemorated the life of George Floyd and others killed by police outside S.F. City Hall on June 1, 2020.<ins></ins>
Chauvin verdict: SF reacts after jury finds ex-officer guilty on all charges

San Franciscans were relieved Tuesday after jurors found a former Minneapolis police… Continue reading

San Francisco Unified School District Board member Faauuga Moliga, right, pictured with Superintendent Vincent Matthews on the first day back to classrooms, will be board vice president for the remander of the 2121 term. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faauuga Moliga named as school board vice president to replace Alison Collins

The San Francisco school board on Tuesday selected board member Fauuga Moliga… Continue reading

Legislation by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman would require The City to add enough new safe camping sites, such as this one at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin, to accomodate everyone living on the street. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City would create sites for hundreds of tents under new homeless shelter proposal

Advocates say funding better spent on permanent housing

Most Read