Diners in San Anselmo


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At Marin Murder Mysteries, dinner mates may ask you to pass the rolls just before they begin chipping away at your alibi. That’s because guests are both suspects and sleuths during the theater troupe’s interactive performances, attempting to tally the clues and pinpoint the culprit's motive. Each year, the cast and crew serve up three to four different shows that inject generous portions of slapstick into the familiar detective genre. The writers and directors have a particular fondness for the noir-soaked era of the 1950s, with such past plays as Remains to be Seen, Murder Me, Always, and Death of a Doornail. During the show, guests have the option to dine on a gourmet dinner or sip cocktails from a cash bar.

931 4th Street
San Rafael,
CA
US

For more than 50 years, Tiburon Diner was known as Dave and Mike's—an "Adult Day Care Center," as its menu proclaimed. Dave retired in early 2012, and the business adopted its current moniker, changing its name but remaining a place for Tiburonites to sit down at the counter over cups of coffee, browse the eatery's free WiFi , and eat their morning newspapers. In the kitchen, Mike (the head chef) prepares heartier helpings of large pancakes and three-cheese omelets for breakfast and patty melts and half-pound burgers for lunch, serving each plate amid the diner's homey decor of blue trim and vintage photographs of Old Tiburon.

1640 Tiburon Blvd
Belvedere Tiburon,
CA
US

In 1947, owners Mel Weiss and Harold Dobbs assembled a staff of 14 carhops to serve passing motorists at the first Mel's Drive-In. For the next two decades, customers partial to automobile dining flocked to the chain’s 11 California locations, eager to wash down grass-fed half-pound burgers with thick milk shakes. As fast-food outlets outpaced the drive-in's once-speedy service, its popularity declined, and it was eventually scheduled for demolition. The building got a temporary reprieve, however, when filmmaker George Lucas decided to use the drive-in's original location on Lombard Street as the colorful backdrop for his film American Graffiti. As bulldozers destroyed the last remnants of the historic drive-in, American Graffiti opened in theaters.

A decade later, though, Mel's son Steven reopened Mel's Drive-In in an attempt to carry on his father's dream. Steven restored the drive-in's multiple locations to mirror their original motif by stocking each with midcentury must-haves such as illuminated marquees, jukeboxes, and Elvis-themed WiFi passwords. The drive-in’s menu, meanwhile, balances period-appropriate fare, such as hot dogs and burgers, with healthy options, such as the Haven’s Famous vegetarian sandwich, two slices of nine-grain bread topped with avocado, sprouts, and tomatoes.

3355 Geary Blvd
San Francisco,
CA
US

When Ronn Teitelbaum opened the first Johnny Rockets location in 1986, his goal was to create a restaurant where people could escape the postmodern blues of everyday life and experience a taste of time-honored Americana. The name itself is a nod to this ideal?it combines the star of a classic American fable, Johnny Appleseed, and a classic car, Oldsmobile?s beefy Rocket 88. The chain now makes itself at home in America's cultural landmarks, including Yankee Stadium and the Flamingo Hotel.

During dinners at the famous burger joints, you?ll see signs of simpler times, starting with the cooks and servers. Dressed head to toe in white, including white paper hats, they look like they?ve fallen out of a wormhole from the 1950s ready to sling shakes and cook up some eats. Behind a stainless-steel bar lined with red leather stools they tend to their traditional diner fare, including burgers and melts with sides such as chili-cheese fries and onion rings. Riding sidecar to each meal is a collection of hand-dipped and hand-spun floats, shakes, and malts topped with whipped cream.

1946 Fillmore Street
San Francisco,
CA
US

1435 17th St
San Francisco,
CA
US

Louis’ Restaurant: A User’s Guide

Waterfront, Cliff-Top Dining | 80 Years of History | Organic, Local, Fair-Trade Ingredients | Diner Menu

Sample Menu:

  • Breakfast: coffee with a cheddar-filled, chili-stuffed omelet
  • Lunch: Shrimp Louis salad
  • Dinner: 8-ounce new york steak sandwich
  • Beer: Anchor Steam
  • Dessert: locally baked pie served à la mode

The Setting: Louis' is nestled in the craggy, fog-blanketed cliffs of the Pacific Ocean. Massive windows not only showcase this stunning, panoramic landscape—with a red-streaked sunset if you time your visit right—but also indigenous and 19th-century ruins. This view, especially if taken in through the glass-walled corner booth, makes visitors feel like they're savoring their tuna melt in a fairy tale.

The Ingredients

  • Eggs: cage-free, and sourced from within 100 miles
  • Produce: certified organic, and sourced from within 200 miles
  • Meat: natural, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, vegetarian-fed, humanely-raised
  • Bread: sourced from within 25 miles
  • Desserts: sourced from within 25 miles
  • Coffee: certified organic and certified fair trade

Green Stuff: Louis’ prides itself on being an eco-friendly establishment, from its 55% recycled tiled floors to its compostable takeout containers, and most everything in between.

History

  • Valentine's Day, 1937: Married Greek immigrants Louis and Helen Hontalas open shop. In addition to a full menu of dine-in options, they sell peanuts and popcorn from wagons outside.
  • 1939: Their son Constantine, third after John and Jim, is welcomed as the newest Hontalas.
  • 1947: 27-year-old Rachel "Rosie" Lelchuk, wearing her signature flower in her hair, begins her 55-year career as a Louis' Restaurant server.
  • 1973: The National Park Service acquires the land Louis' sits on, making the restaurant an official NPS concessioner.
  • 1975: Jim, now the owner, dramatically renovates the building.
  • 1988: The NPS opts to shutter Louis' Restaurant—but thousands upon thousands of customer-written postcards convince officials not to go through with it.
  • 1997: Jim retires, and his sons Bill and Tom step in.
  • 2002: Rosie retires at the age of 82.
  • 2010: Another remodel gives the place a whole new look, and a contract with the NPS keeps the Hontalas family in charge for at least another 10 years.

902 Point Lobos Ave
San Francisco,
CA
US