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Who was this guy named Izzy?

It is the very essence of the classic American success story.  A young man of eighteen leaves his home in Portugal and makes his way to the San Francisco shore with more dreams for his good fortune than money in his pocket.

He landed his first job as a “swamper” in a local gin-joint on the infamous Barbary Coast.  Izzy had a large drive to succeed in his new home; he squirreled away his money and soon had enough to buy a small bar on Pacific Avenue.

Over the years, Izzy’s became a must stop in the San Francisco club-crawling circuit in North Beach.

Izzy’s good nature and huge heart fascinated his many customers.  Many were the times that a down and out artist would trade a painting for dinner.  These paintings became the décor at Izzy’s rustic tavern.

Because of his friendly nature, Izzy became a friend to the movers and shakers in San Francisco, as well as the down and out.  His generosity was legendary.  He never forgot his early years living near the poverty line, and was alwaysready to lend a helping hand to anyone who was down on their luck.

One of Izzy’s great fans was William Soroyan, the celebrated California/Armenian writer of the 1930s and 1940s.  His famous play, “The Times of Their Lives,” was said to have been set at Izzy’s saloon.

As is the case with many generous people, Izzy never really made much money, but he made thousands of friends. Izzy was a simple man. A man much admired by the social set as a well as the Bohemian populace of North Beach.  He was beloved by everyone and known far and wide as San Francisco’s most legendary saloonkeeper. Izzy was known for his benevolence and good nature, and in 1943, he was recognized by LIFE magazine as one of San Francisco’s most colorful characters.

He was a bar-room philosopher and loved to wax poetic about life.  One of his famous sayings was: “LIFE IS LIKE A LONG ROAD, TAKE IT EASY; WHEN YOU COME TO A POOL ON THAT LONG ROAD, DON’T MUDDY IT; MAYBE YOU’LL PASS THAT WAY AGAIN AND YOU’LL BE THIRSTY.”

It was on Izzy’s birthday, February 9, 1987,that Sam DuVall opened IZZY’S STEAKS & CHOPS on Steiner Street in San Francisco’s Marina district.  It was an instant success, and today Izzy may be, in fact, more popular now than he was when he poured drinks at his upstairs saloon at 848 Pacific Street.

In 2001 Izzy San Carlos was opened to give our south bay Izzy fans a shorter drive for the food they craved....and in 2007 we opened our San Ramon Izzy's much to the delight of our East Bay fans.

Now, more than ever, you are near the best steaks in the Bay Area!

 

KQED's Check Please!

Izzy's San Francisco was recently featured on KQED's Check Please! Bay Area. Click here to watch the episode.
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