With the return of indoor dining, House of Prime Rib is making good on reservations it had to cancel when the city shut down all indoor dining back in November. And with those along with new reservations from pent-up demand, the restaurant was already booked three months out as of Wednesday.
The restaurant's 81-year-old owner Josef Betz told the Chronicle this week that everything's looking up for him, after getting his second vaccine shot — and with much of his staff already getting their first. He's hired back almost 70 staff members, and as they did in the fall, the restaurant is able to seat about 70 diners at a time — the full capacity of the place is 280.
"We’re going to try our best. We have a strong following," Betz tells the paper. "And I’m very grateful."
The restaurant didn't bother with takeout at the beginning of the pandemic, but it did pivot to doing takeout meals in November, after going to the trouble of reopening the previous month. Almost immediately upon opening, the stalwart, old-school spot was fully booked up through December — with San Franciscans craving some cold martinis and carved meat out of a silver zeppelin.
Clicking around on OpenTable today, it looks like you can, as of now, score a table at House of Prime Rib sometime in June, but you'd better act fast.
As the Chronicle noted, popular Mission District spot Lazy Bear was also booking up fast as soon as indoor dining returned this week — and chef David Barzelay had previously discussed how the restaurant pivoted away from its communal-dining concept to provide individual tables indoors for 23 diners at a time, under the current configuration.
San Francisco is currently posting COVID testing metrics that would put it in the state's "Orange" tier, however as ABC 7 clarified today, counties can not skip over a tier, and they can not move to another tier until they've been in one for three weeks. Having moved to the "Red" tier on Tuesday — despite posting "Orange"-level numbers — that means we won't be looking at 50% indoor dining capacity until late March at the earliest, and it will be at the city Public Health Officer's discretion, ultimately.
Still, that means that in a few weeks time, House of Prime Rib would theoretically be able to have 140 people inside at a time, just as an even higher percentage of city residents has their vaccines. (But, of course, we can't get complacent and cases could also plateau.)
At the very least, things will continue on with 25% capacity and abundant outdoor dining into the warmer spring months — and Governor Gavin Newsom has said he does not anticipate any further backward slips. He hopes the whole state can fully reopen its businesses by August.
May the martinis flow freely, but still wear your masks.