Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Not for the first time, I seem to be slow on the uptake of a couple of recent departures in San Francisco.

I have been inside of Tad's Steakhouse on Powell Street perhaps twice in my life and avoided the toxic looking steaks my Heartland friends gobbled down with penny-pinching glee. I braved my way through an iceberg lettuce salad with shredded lettuce and ranch dressing while admiring its famed velvet wallpaper. It always looked like the place they would film some gay porn epic fantasia about rent boys of the Gold Rush days.

There doesn't seem to be any mention of it closing on any of the local media sites, but it certainly looked out of business when I zipped by this evening. I doubt that I would have ever gone back in there, but it was sort of a familiar point on the compass that seemed to keep the universe in balance. Unlike some crap hole like Lori's Diner, it was the sort of tacky tourist trap that gives you comfort in knowing that it's there and that there are still people out there that would gravitate to such a place.

Far sadder was the loss of Trevor Hailey, long-time Castro tour guide and subject of a new documentary last week at the Frameline film festival. I never "knew" her, but she was a familiar fixture in my neighborhood. No, not the Castro, but the neighboring Mission. I recall often seeing her lug a bucket of the Colonel's original recipe from KFC on Valencia long before it dreamed of becoming Spork to her tidy two-story Italianate frame home on the east side of Lexington between 21st and 20th. It was a pleasure to hear her raspy Mississippi accent and what appeared to be an ever joyous spirit.

Too sad to have lost her at 66, she will be missed.

UPDATE: Since I was in a hurry when I snapped those photos of Tad's l
ast night, it was bugging me all day that I might have been wrong in reporting that the place was closed. I was back in the neighborhood tonight and felt I should take a moment to check a bit more. Well, I was correct. Tad's is closed. But, they are closed for repairs with signs promising that they will be back soon.

Now, I've heard similar things at other places where the "restoration" goes on for years while the owners broker a price for the real estate. Let's pray that some Prada boutique does not go in there instead of our beloved pie-loving tourists from Milwaukee and Omaha.

So, Bryce, I hope you've not done anything drastic like move to Fargo. And if it's any further comfort, the Gold Dust lounge is still open, and it was just popping with folks from Charlotte and Spokane kicking back $2 margaritas as I walked by.

Rest assured, my beloved JunkThieves, all is well on the Barbary Coast. However, I'm a little disappointed that no one seems to care that Trevor Hailey died. Come on guys, she was a sweetheart!

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At 7:14 AM, Blogger Bryce Digdug said...

Not Tad's nooooooooooooo! Nooooooooooo! When the 17 Reasons Why Sign went I was ready to leave San Francisco. Then the Hong Kong on Church. What is left? The Troll Altar and diagonal crossing. There is diagonal crossing near where Tad's is. Also there was a wonderful ship-themed seafood restaurant where on the opposite side of Powell.

p.s. Blogger did not allow me to use the blink tag around Troll Altar. I think that tag is depricated.

At 7:33 AM, Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

This was beginning to happen in my old Philly neighborhood just as I moved away. All the creepy diners and unmarked dive bars are now cleaned up and turned into darling little boutiques and bistros.

I'm not adverse to either, I just don't want 'em crowding out the local flavor.

At 7:49 AM, Blogger J. David Zacko-Smith said...

TWO TERRIBLE LOSSES (especially Tad's since I didn't know that guide person)! I was just past Tad's last May when I was in SF for a week. I think they call this "progress" or "gentrification". I call it murder.

At 8:31 AM, Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

After looking up a bit more info on Trevor Hailey...I see that you are 100% right about her. She was a right-on sister, and I know her prescence will be missed.

At 10:08 AM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

Thanks for speaking out for Trevor. I think KFC on Valencia could not make a profit after she moved to San Diego.


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