The Three Faces of John’s Grill
Upscale Steaks and Seafood
John’s Grill has spent the last century honing a menu of classic Italian-American seafood, steak, and pasta recipes. The Jack LaLanne salad is a popular starter, featuring crab, shrimp, avocado, tomatoes, and mushrooms tossed in a blue-cheese vinaigrette. The signature dish—Sam Spade’s lamb chops—pays homage to a character in The Maltese Falcon, published in 1929 by novelist Dashiell Hammett, a former regular at John’s. Hammett wrote the restaurant into the detective novel, having his gumshoe order the chops with baked potato and sliced tomatoes—a combination that now lives on on John’s menu.
John’s Grill’s clientele list reads alternately like a Who’s Who of Hollywood legends—Shirley Temple, Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp—and a roll call at a G20 meeting, with names like Hillary Clinton, President Stephanopoulos of Greece, and President Zedillo of Mexico. Plenty of other big names have stopped by John’s as well, including Bill Gates, Andy Warhol, and Gore Vidal.
Mysterious Disappearing Falcon
In tribute to Dashiell Hammett’s novel, John’s Grill secured a replica of the the maltese falcon featured in the book’s 1941 film adaptation. The statue sat proudly on the restaurant’s second floor until 2007, when it was stolen. When a $25,000 reward failed to crack the case, the restaurant owner decided to use that money to commission a new falcon. At 150 pounds, the new bird is three times heavier than its predecessor and is bolted down to discourage thieves.