Coppa's Restaurant : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

When and where did Coppa's restaurant exist?

-- Larry Robert Forbes (, November 15, 2001


The best early account is in "Bohemian San Francisco" written by Clarence E Edwords in 1914. In it, Coppa's is addressed as "on Montgomery" (1905?) and later on Pine between Kearney and Montgomery.

In the 1920-1930's it is listed on Spring Street (sometimes as Coppa's Again)

Good luck in your research.

-- Kurt Iversen (, November 16, 2001.

To add to Kurt's response, the Coppa's also had a restaurant described as being located. "beyond the city limits out on the old San Mateo road." I t was called "The Pompeian Gardens". This would have been before the Spring St. place. Coppa's was certainly one of the city's most beloved restaurants in the first part of the century with such fabled clientel as George Sterling, Jack London, Will Irwin and so on. I would have loved to see the graffiti in the men's room. If any one wishes, I will email them a recipe For Papa Coppa's Chicken Portola.

Don Martinich

-- Don Martinich (, November 17, 2001.

For a lovely book on Coppa's restaurant in the old Montgomery Block, see The Coppa Murals, by Warren Una (Book Club of California, 1952). It has photos of all the murals, and of course some great stories.

-- Bill Kostura (, November 18, 2001.

I have prepared Chicken portola a la copa several times and made a few modifications and observations to insure results in the home cooking of this fabulous recipe. I found that using boned chicken allowed me to put more of the ingredients back into the shell, as well as insuring that the meat would be cooked thru. I also have omitted the garlic and cut the onion and green pepper finer in order to reduce their prominence in the flavor. The most magical aspect of this dish is how tender the cocoanut meat becomes. The smaller you cut the pieces the more your results will be guaranteed. The over rice is good if the sauce turns out waterier than you had hoped for Here it is:

Chicken Portola a la Copa (Serves 2) Boneless chicken breast and coconut meat steamed together in the coconut shell in a savory tomato sauce served over rice. I have adapted this recipe from the 1914 cookbook “Bohemian San Francisco.” The recipe requires 3 unusual ingredients: 1. Your entire day 2. A hacksaw 3. Some copper wire Ingredients One coconut 2 boneless chicken breasts One ear of fresh corn 2 or 3 slices of bacon Olive oil Small can of stewed tomatoes (crushed) One medium onion One half of a green pepper Procedure 1. Saw off the top third of the coconut. This sawed-off piece will be the lid and the larger piece will be the container. Remove almost all of the meat from the coconut, leaving just enough at the bottom of the larger piece to protect the three dark circles on the bottom where the coconut was formerly attached to its stem. 2. Peel the dark exterior from the coconut meat and slice into bite-size strips. Set aside 3. While you are cooking the bacon in a large frying pan, dice (or mince) the onion and green pepper. Add the onion and pepper to the now mostly-cooked bacon and its drippings. Add olive oil as needed to sauté the onion and green pepper until they are translucent but not totally wilted. 4. Remove the cooked bacon from the pan and chop it into fairly small pieces. Return it to the pan. Turn down the heat. 5. Cut the uncooked corn off the cob and add it to the pan. 6. Add the crushed stewed tomatoes to the pan. Use your own judgment in adding the liquid part of the tomatoes to the sauce. Don’t end up with the sauce too watery. Bring the pan to a boil. Cut the uncooked boneless chicken breasts into strips. Gently fold the strips into the pan after you have turned the heat off. 7. Add the coconut pieces to the sauce. 8. Ladle the mixture into the coconut. You may have extra which you can cook in a separate baking dish. 9. Wire the coconut shut and stand up in a Pyrex baking dish with hot water standing in the bottom of the dish. Cover loosely with a foil tent and put into a 350-degree oven for a least an hour. If the water in the baking dish is not creating steam turn up the oven until it is. 10. Serve over wild rice. If you have done everything correctly the pieces of coconut will be so tender that you will not be able to distinguish them from the pieces of chicken meat.

-- Stephen Wall (, September 16, 2002.

Giuseppe Coppa or/and Victor Coppa also had a restaurant called Neptune's Palace... I don't know where it was located. But Grandma gave me one of the restaurants menus.

Picture postcards were made of the "Coppa Murals" I have one. I don't know how many or of which they made!!

I am the Coppa family amature historian... I am always looking for information. The hardest has been locating iformation in Italy!!


-- Meg Coppa Abreu (, September 21, 2002.

While researching the work of Maynard Dixon for a documentary I am producing, I have read interesting anecdotes about Coppa's, in the book "Desert Dreams: The Art and Life of Maynard Dixon", there are drawings that Dixon did of Papa Coppa and of the Sentry posted outside the earthquake damaged windows.

-- Jayne McKay (, November 05, 2003.

I am working on a biography of Porter Garnett (1871-1951), one of the original "Bohemians" who frequented the first - pre 1906 Fire - Coppa's restaurant. Warren Unna's book on the "Coppa's Murals" is the most detailed account on this restaurant that I have been able to find.

I am currently going through back issues of the various SF newspapers from 1906 trying to locate references to Coppa's (the last, private party held in the building after the fire.) I am also trying the find the article on Coppa's written the "THE CRITIC" by Mabel Craft Deering in 1906.... if anyone has a copy I'd appreciate it. THANKS!


-- Paul Hershey (, November 30, 2003.

I have acquired a copy of the original COPPA's artical if anyone is interested...!


-- Paul Hershey (, July 13, 2004.

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