SF’s legendary steak-and-seafood place Tadich Grill just kicked off its 175th anniversary celebration, and the third-oldest continuously operating restaurant in the US will get sweet and savory with $1.75 Bloody Marys and a “Tadich swag giveaway” every day all month.

Today is April 1, and the first day of 175th anniversary celebrations at Financial District mainstay Tadich Grill. While the official anniversary party is scheduled for April 28, there will be $1.75 Bloody Marys all month (limit one per guest), and the 175th customer through the door each day will receive a “Tadich swag giveaway” bag.

Tadich Grill is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in California having been founded in 1849, before California was even a state. And it's the third-oldest running restaurant in the US, with a dining experience that feels like a time capsule hearkening back to those decades past.

SFist spoke with the owner and operator of Tadich Grill to learn more about its 175-year journey from a coffee stand on Clay Street to its current incarnation as a fine-dining destination hailed as one of the most “legendary” restaurants not only in the US, but the entire world.

Tadich Grill was established 1849 by three Croatian immigrants as a coffee stand simply called “Coffee Stand.” It changed its name to "New World Coffee Stand" when it moved to a plaza called New World Market, and then became Tadich Grill when John Tadich bought it in 1887. Now more than a century later, Tadich Grill is still a legendary place for fresh San Francisco seafood.

“It remains relevant,” Tadich Grill owner Mike Buich tells SFist. “It goes back to my grandfather and his brothers, and way before that. A humble beginning, but the restaurant started being noticed internationally in the 1970s, and we've continued to get accolades.”

“We just stuck with the plan, we do what we do,” he adds. “I think that’s what people like about Tadich. If they were there as a little kid, their memory isn’t let down when they come in thirty years later. It’s the same place. And we’ve seen four or five generations of families come through there.”

Members of the Buich family started working for John Tadich in 1913, and the Buich family bought the place in 1928. (A menu from that era can be seen below.) They've since added modern seafood items like cioppino, Dungeness crab and prawns, and the popular Gold Rush-era dish born in Northern California, the Hangtown Fry.

“It starts with the chef who arrives very early in the morning every day at 5 am and starts everything completely from scratch,” Buich explains. “Doors open at 11, so he has six hours to order and take deliveries. We have a very small staff of cooks and a butcher to prepare to open the door at 11 o’clock.”

“We tend to get the first cut on the meat and the fish,” he adds. “We’re very fortunate in that.”

As with anything that’s been around for 175 years, Tadich Grill has had a few controversies over the years. The most recent was a 2021 COVID relief grant from a website called Barstool Sports, a site who’s owner’s rape jokes and assault allegations rubbed many the wrong way. And there was a 2015 dust-up over claims that the Tadich family disowned their daughter for marrying a Black man, a man who happened to be former Oakland Raider Gene Upshaw.

Buich said at the time, “This has never been a matter of race, but rather the sanctity of marriage and personal judgment of character.”

Controversies come and go, but the Tadich Grill experience has remained timeless: Servers wearing starched white coats, Art Deco chandeliers, and wooden wainscoting. Some staff have worked there for decades, and there have only been ten Head Chefs at Tadich Grill in the last 100 years.

Image: Tadich Grill

“It’s just traditional,” according to Buich. “Our place started from European immigrants. In Europe, food service is taken to a whole different level. It's a real profession, an esteemed profession.”

“The Europeans came over to San Francisco in the 1800s and started setting up service shops and restaurants, and it was always a white apron and a white jacket. As far back as any photos I've seen, going back well over 100 years, that’s what the front of the house at Tadich Grill has been wearing.”

The staff’s attention to even the most minor details was well-remembered when 30-year San Francisco bartending legend and Tadich Grill veteran Adam Richey passed away in 2022.

“They have very specific job descriptions,” Buich says. “They have very detailed responsibilities for cleanliness and organization. It’s kind of a tightly oiled machine. It’s extremely efficient.”

Image: Tadich Grill

Tadich Grill has actually been at eight different SF locations in its 175 years. The place moved six times prior to 1912, up and down Commercial Street, in a produce district that was then called “the Long Wharf.” It moved twice between 1912 and today, and remains at the 240 California Street location at which they’ll be celebrating their 175th anniversary.

“For the entire month of April, we’re going to be offering our 175th guest a gift package,” Tadich Grill director of operations Derek Belanger tells SFist. “We are also celebrating our world-famous Bloody Mary with $1.75 Bloody Marys for the month of April. And we’re putting together quite a little families, friends, and VIP customer party to celebrate the 175th [anniversary] at the end of the month, on Sunday April 28.”

Image: Tadich Grill

“We’ve been hearing a lot about the ‘fall of San Francisco’ in the media,” Belanger adds. “I think it is certainly overblown, it’s still very safe and beautiful to walk through the city. And Tadich is still putting out the same great quality food, and great quality service that we have for 175 years. It’s definitely worth making a trip and coming in to enjoy it.”

Tadich Grill is at 240 California Street, and open Monday-Friday from 11 am - 2:30 pm and 4:30 pm - 9:30pm, and Saturday from 4:30 pm - 9:30 pm. Reservations here

Related: Longtime Original Joe’s, Tadich Grill Bartender Adam Richey Has Died [SFist]

Images: Tadich Grill