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Long-Gone Restaurants...Which Do You Still Miss?

What are the restaurants and entrees that you still have a craving for?

I know there are a lot of great restaurants in San Rafael. Believe me, I’m still working my way through the long list. But every once in a while I start reminiscing about the restaurants and entrees that are no longer around, especially the places in the 80s that couldn’t hold on through the 90s or beyond.

Does anyone miss the days of Zim’s in Terra Linda known for its burgers and fantastic milkshakes? They’d serve you a full glass of shake and give you the rest from the blender on the side.

In Terra Linda, we now have a lot of new spots for quick eats, like Weezy’s burgers. But in the old days, one of my favorite lunch spots was Sub Hut deli. Boris and his wife made these unique sandwiches where all of the veggies were diced up and placed in small bins in a round chiller. 

When you ordered the sandwich, they would make a loop around the chiller and serve up the tomatoes, pickles, onions, etc. with a melon scoop.  Think Subway in the round.  The other signature element was a heart-stopping amount of mayonnaise on the bread and a finish of oil on the veggies. 

LJ’s Deli is now in its place and still has the Sub Hut Special — a sando with every type of meat and cheese — on the menu as a tribute to the deli that started it all. But, I recommend moving on and ordering the awesome chicken salad sandwich instead.

I was a regular at the famous Royal Frankfurter, a Marin County institution, which sadly closed in 2008.  Every Saturday, I would travel to and try to secure one of the tables at Calvin and Grace Wong’s tiny eatery on Fourth Street.   

I loved Grace’s way of taking orders in a formal but friendly way. “For the gentleman?,” asked Grace, as she took my husband’s order.  “And for the lady?,” she would add and I would pipe up with my order of a Kosher dog and a side of Calvin’s potato salad.

If there weren’t a line at the counter, we would update Grace on the latest news. I miss her weekly dose of great advice — everything from what color car to buy to what kind of digital camera would be the best upgrade.  

Occasionally, I hear from Grace and Calvin and they are happily enjoying retirement after 36 years serving up delicious hot dogs.

Does anyone remember the name of the restaurant that was in a Victorian house on the corner of Third and E streets in San Rafael? It’s not one that I ever ate at but it, along with La Petite Auberge, comes up frequently on the “I miss…” list.

The Seafood Peddler has found a new home in Sausalito and is now home to Terrapin Crossroads. But does anyone remember when it was Dominic’s Harbor Restaurant?

OK, foodie old-timers … what are some of the restaurants and entrees that you’re missing? Do you have any old snapshots of these places? Scan 'em in and upload them to this story just for old times' sake.

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Steven Carry January 31, 2013 at 12:09 AM
The train running around the walls near the ceiling made it special for kids of all ages. Now Barefoot Cafe. If you go to Burritoville in Larkspur you can still see the ledge where the train ran in that second location before it was Coyote Cafe.
Steven Carry January 31, 2013 at 12:19 AM
That Victorian on E Street was for a short time in the 1980s The E Street Restaurant which I believe was Joey Altman's first. {Think Bay Cafe TV and Miss Pearl's Jam House.}
Terry Koenig March 28, 2013 at 11:27 PM
The Griddle on Lincoln and Fourth, The Mission Inn on B St., Sea Spray Inn in Sausalito, Travellers Inn (Before Salute) across from Greyhound Depot., Shakey's Pizza.
Grey Wolf May 29, 2013 at 09:29 PM
I remember Dominic's, mostly from when I'd be hanging out with my folks at the SRYC (doesn't seem pretentious, even looking back on it...); "I Miss La Petite Auberge", to be sure; but yes! Traveler's Inn (I still miss Cantonese cuisine -- it's all gone Hunan, Szechuan or Mandarin now), the Royal Frank (loved that place -- the Linguica was my favourite!); going farther back into the reaches of my memory will bring back The Bib 'n' Rib and, later, the London Arms (about a tenth of a mile outside SR in San Anselmo, down The Miracle Mile), Normandie (about a tenth of a mile INSIDE SR, down the Mile), and I miss how San Rafael Joe's USED to be. I miss Taverna Yiasou up by the Civic Center (I believe Max's Cafe is there now). They made the BEST hamburgers I think I have ever had. I don't know if it was the mint and parsley mixed in, or what they used for spices, but wow. Awesome. For entirely different reasons, I miss the Marin Pizza Pub. Time marches on, as it must, but the memories are sweet, of both the restaurants and the people.
Jordan Rosenfeld February 25, 2014 at 01:33 AM
How about Victoria Station in Larkspur, the weird "restaurant in a train car"?? That was weirdly awesome

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