Varied questions as re SF history. : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

As in subject line, above, the following 4 questions:

1. Info as re history of the Poodle Dog restaurant?

2. Info as re history of the Russ House?

3. Info as re history of the Brooklyn Hotel?

4. Saturday (or Sunday?) promenades at Golden Gate Park during the 1890's?

Can anyone help with above? Thanks.

Greg L.

-- Greg LaLonde (, January 02, 2002


The Poodle Dog Restaurant was opened by Two Frenchmen: P. Allarme and A. B. Blanco. Frenchmen were specifically imported to San Francisco in early San Francisco history to improve the restaurants. The wealthy especially wanted to have some good EATS. The Poodle Dog was located on Bush and Grant Streets although records will say Bush and DuPont Streets. That's because DuPont Street's name was changed to Grant Street after the Quake. The Poodle Dog was there until the 1906 Earthquake where it burned down and instantly flamed up to legandary history. The Poodle Dog was known for a number of things such as the best dinner for a dollar on earth and the first restaurant in San Francisco to have a telephone. -- These Two Frenchman who opened the Poodle Dog brought more than just a French Restaurant to San Francisco, they brought FRANCE itself. And they catered to more than just the hunger for food. What less you could expect from those fantastic Frenchmen. -- The Poodle Dog restaurant offered something for everyone. The main floor was the public area where Bankers or politicians would bring in their wives or families for lunch. The second floor offered private areas that catered to families who might want to have a more quiet meal or businessmen who wanted to conduct some business during lunch or some people who wanted to keep their mistresses or secretaries a secret. But ah, the third floor, and I raise my arms to the sky up when I say this, THE THIRD FLOOR, Oh La Vie. That was the real topping on the cake of this French Restaurant. These same bankers, politicians and businessman who would brought in their wives or families for lunch would come back at night on the pretense of work and immediately go to the third floor for either a special conference where they could conduct the kind of serious work they couldn't conduct during the day where they could then watch some real fine French dancing, the kind that makes a man want to quickly sneak away from his long married wife. And then when the man could no longer stand the site of such incredible art without wanting to become a part of the painting itself, the man would then retreat with one of the art subjects to one of the smaller rooms on the third floor to take some special poetic liberties and work on a private portrait. Yes, when in France do as the French do and they certainly did. Vie Va La France! Vie Va La France! Vie Va La France!* remove * to email

-- Harry Murphy (, January 02, 2002.

Regarding the Russ House: The Russ House was built by Christian Russ who arrived in San Francisco with his wife and sons on March 26, 1847 from New York on a boat called the Loo Choo. Upon arrival he immediately took wood from the ship and built a cottage on the outskirts of San Francisco which was then considered outskirts at Pine and Montgomery Streets. He was a jewelry by trade established a jewelry shop which turned into a huge booming business when the upcoming gold rush came. In fact, he expanded to different areas of the business like assaying where he was able to take a little gold off the top for each assayal. His timing couldn't have been better. Since the land in the area was dirt cheap, he and others like James Lick, purchased as many lots as he could. Russ even built a hotel on Pine and Bush called the American Hotel. When the Gold Rush came, he built about 40 cottages to rent to the miners. When the Gold Rush ended, he tore down those cottages and built the Russ House which became a famous hotel and restaurant. The idea to build this house and the use his name this way came from a similar restaurant/hotel that James Lick built called the Lick House. The idea was for Russ to make his bigger and better which he succeeded in doing. Although I have to say that the name Lick for a restaurant makes my mouth watery and I would probably by-pass the Russ House for a good Lick. Get it. In the 1906 Earthquake, the Russ House was badely damaged but it did survive. In 1927 or so, the building was rebuilt and turned into a 31 story building which, as hard as it may be to believe, was then known for a long time as the tallest building in the West. I may be wrong but I think the descendants of the same family still own it because they had been owners of it for a long time.

-- Harry Murphy (, January 03, 2002.

With regards to the question about the Poodle Dog restaurant, the original "Poodle Dog" was located at Dupont and Washington Streets in 1849. From 1868 to 1898, it was located at the corner of Bush & Dupont Streets. In 1898, a large new establishment was built at the corner of Mason and Ellis Streets. There is a quite extensive article about it, complete with photos in the California Architect and Builder magazines of 1898. This is where things get a little confusing, as I think somewhere about 1898 there was a splitting of the business amongst owners/partners. One group stayed with the old building at Bush and DuPont (Grant) and continued to refer to themselves as the "Old Poodle Dog" and the others moved to the new building and called themselves "Poodle Dog".

The 1898 building was destroyed by fire after the Quake of '06 as I would surmise was the building at Bush and DuPont. 2 months after the fire the "Old Poodle Dog" had re-established themsleves, as many other businesses had, in an old victorian mansion at 824-826 Eddy Street. The owners atthat time were J.B. Pon and C. LaLanne. Sometime after that, I would speculate about 1910-1913, they built a new multi- story building at 415-421 Bush Street. At that time it was called Bergez-Frank's Old Poodle Dog. In later years there was a restaurant called Ritz Old Poodle Dog located at 65 Post Street. Whether this was a descendent of Bergez-Frank's Old Poodle Dog, I don't know. Hopefully someone else will be able to fill in the additional pieces.

Just as a reference, much of this information was taken from an Old poodle Dog menu, postcards, and advertising pieces, produced by the restaurants themselves.

-- Glenn Koch (, January 04, 2002.

I just checked two additional sources. A 1906 post-quake San Francisco business directory, lists the "New Poodle Dog" re- established at Marshall Square while the "Old Poodle Dog" was on Eddy Street. By 1913, the SF City Directory lists the old poodle dog back at the Bush Street Address and the "Poodle Dog Hotel and Restaurant" back in business at 117 Mason Street, prop. A.B. Blanco. The most interesting piece in all of this is that there is also a "New Poodle Dog" listed at 1115 Polk Street. Does anyone know about this location?

-- Glenn Koch (, January 04, 2002.

The San Francisco Historical Society's excellent recent Argonaut, has a great article on the French history in the Barbary Coast and the Poodle Dog; originally was called "Le Poulet D'Or", which the non-french speaking contracted into the Poodle Dog. The Article is titled 'Frenchtown in the Gold Rush' of SF by Claudine Chalmers.....

-- Craig Smith (, January 04, 2002.

there was a mention of 1115 Polk Street. 1115 Polk was an apartment house. I lived in one of the apartments for several months in 1957. On the street level, beneath the apartment building, abutting the alley, and probably at a different number, there was a french restaurant called Alouette. I was new in that area at the time, but my impression was that the restaurant had been there for some time, and I believe it was still in existence at that address when I left S. F. in 1968.

-- harold la vigne (, July 23, 2002.

I am interested in information about the Bergez-Frank's Poodle Dog Restaurant and the family that owned it. I husband's grandfather was a Bergez as so are we and we have menu's and hand painted platters from the old resturant. I am interested it seeing old postcards and pictures of the resturant if it exists and possibly getting hold of Jennifer Crismon to see who her husband's great grandfather was. We are writing about our family history for our kids and grandkids. My husband visited the LaLanne's in about 1968 to try to get information. His grandfather would have owned the resturant in the 1930's. Any information would be appreciated or if you can tell my where to do research. Thank You Joanna Bergez'

-- Joanna Bergez (, March 22, 2003.

From "Golden Gate Gourmet", c1958, edited by Roxana D. Robertson, published in San Carlos, CA by Nourse Publishing Co.(Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 58-13714): "Ritz Old Poodle Dog, for 70 years a San Francisco dining tradition carried on by the Lalanne family. Beautifully redecorated this year by its present owners, Julie and Louis Lalanne. Chef de Cuisine, Henri Tarnac." (if anyone needs the Poodle Dog recipes for Chicken a la Ritz or Eggplant Valenciene just let me know!)

-- Sharon Wrighton (, April 06, 2003.

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