Original Joe’s has the same birth year as another pretty famous San Francisco landmark: the Golden Gate Bridge. Both are definitely worth checking out, but only Original Joe’s will serve you a hearty Italian meal in a red leather booth. Back in 1937, the restaurant was a 14-stool counter on Taylor Street where immigrant and family patriarch Tony Rodin served Croatian-Italian-American comfort food. Original Joe’s is run by the third generation of the family. A fire destroyed the first location in 2007, but the corner spot in North Beach that opened five years later can’t be beat. Inside, the family’s San Francisco history is revealed by walls hung with black-and-white photos, letters, and other ephemera. The menu showcases some of Tony’s recipes, such as eggplant parmigiana, Joe’s meatballs, and veal parmigiana. Those counter stools are there, too, saved from the fire and brought over to the new Original Joe’s.
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