Named for the “Mayor of Butchertown,” Sam Jordan’s Bar and Grill will close November 2 after 60 years, marking the loss of another legacy African-American owned business in San Francisco.
There aren’t many connections to the old “Butchertown” name for what we now call Bayview, though it is believed that Dogpatch is named for stray dogs that roamed the area’s slaughterhouses looking for scraps. But the long-ago “Mayor of Butchertown” Sam Jordan still has his name in neon atop the eponymous Sam Jordan’s Bar and Grill on Third Street, which opened as Sam Jordan’s Tavern in 1959. But the fried chicken and cocktails joint is looking at its final two weeks, as Hoodline reports that Sam Jordan’s is closing, and the news is confirmed by the Chronicle. Their final day in business will be Saturday, November 2.
The place is historically significant as the oldest African-American-owned business in San Francisco, but Sam Jordan himself had a pretty fascinating history too. According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Jordan was a boxer who won the San Francisco Golden Gloves Diamond Belt in 1948, and was the first African-American to run for San Francisco mayor in 1963. The place was apparently a San Francisco favorite of Sammy Davis, Jr., whose photo graced the walls. Sam Jordan died in 2003, and the bar and grill has been operated by his children Ruth and Allen Jordan since 1995.
For better or worse, though, Sam Jordan’s may be contemporarily best known recently for its appearance on a Spike TV show called “Bar Rescue.” As seen in the clip above the show is your basic “Guy comes in and yells at everyone and throws things” genre of reality television. (You can watch the full episode online, though it requires a cable log in).
Sam Jordan’s is clearly not as terrible as it was depicted on “Bar Rescue,” given the enormous community outcry that came with a previous announcement of their closing in May. Eater points out that the building is up for sale again, so we’ll hope that it remains a black-owned restaurant. “I love the Bayview and I have taken this business as far as it can go," co-owner Ruth Jordan told Hoodline. “I am tired, but I want to make sure we go out with a big bang. I hope everyone joins us."
She is referring to the Sam Jordan’s Last Call party on Saturday, November 2, from Noon to 5 p.m.
Image: Jesse C via Yelp