John's Grill

63 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA

Restaurant opened in 1908


John’s Grill was the first downtown San Francisco restaurant to open after the 1906 earthquake. It still occupies its original premises on the ground floor of a 1908 building just off Union Square. John's has hosted an array of famous patrons including presidents, athletes, authors and actors. Two of these have been honored with signature dishes. San Francisco born fitness guru Jack LaLanne has a seafood salad named for him. The other, a fictional character of long time patron Dashiell Hammett, detective Sam Spade. Hammett wrote of it in The Maltese Falcon, “Sam Spade went to John’s Grill, asked the waiter to hurry his order of chops, baked potato, sliced tomatoes... and was smoking a cigarette with his coffee when...”. Sam Spade's lamb chops are still on the menu.

A statue of the infamous black bird in a case on the second floor in a lounge dubbed The Maltese Falcon room.

Update Log 

  • April 10, 2019: Added by Richard Doody


  • Richard Doody