SF’s House of Prime Rib logo is tattooed here forever

For many, the cuisine of San Francisco is just as iconic as the images of the Golden Gate Bridge. From memories of freshly cracked Dungeness crab by the ocean to snatching a piece of hot sourdough from Boudin, the flavors of the city live on, even if some are long gone.

For San Franciscans like 26-year-old Kelsey Kowalski, restaurants like the House of Prime Rib bring back some of her fondest culinary memories.

“I have been to the House of Prime Rib three times in less than a year. Once I got there, I thought to myself, this is it. It’s perfect,” Kowalski said. “I grew up eating prime ribs for Christmas, like I loved prime ribs. It was always what we had on the table for dinner, so I think there’s definitely something nostalgic about that for me.

She said she was so “obsessed” with HOPR, in fact, just a few weeks ago she got a tattoo of his logo of a well-dressed meat carver wearing a large chef’s hat slicing meat. chunks of roast from the restaurant’s signature silver hand carts.

It’s a lovely, traditional-style tattoo that hugs the side of her right calf, and left HOPR owner Joe Betz speechless as she walked into dinner on a Monday night.

Kelsey Kowalski outside House of Prime Rib in San Francisco, California on September 30, 2022.


Patricia Chang / Special for SFGATE
Kelsey Kowalski's House of Prime Rib tattoo, pictured in the restaurant's dining room, September 30, 2022.

Kelsey Kowalski’s House of Prime Rib tattoo, pictured in the restaurant’s dining room, September 30, 2022.


Patricia Chang / Special for SFGATE
Joseph Betz, the owner of SF's House of Prime Rib, poses for a photo in the restaurant's meat locker in San Francisco, Calif., on July 6, 2022.
Joseph Betz, the owner of SF’s House of Prime Rib, poses for a photo in the restaurant’s meat locker in San Francisco, Calif., on July 6, 2022.
Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE


Kelsey Kowalski, left, outside House of Prime Rib in San Francisco, showing off her tattoo, top right, in the restaurant’s dining room. House of Prime Rib owner Joe Betz, bottom right, was “speechless” when he first encountered his tattoo. (Images by Douglas Zimmerman and Patricia Chang)

“I couldn’t believe it,” Betz said with a laugh. “I went to the party and, I mean, it’s a tattoo. So I was speechless. … I thought I had seen it all, but there is always tomorrow.

Betz staff took a photo of Kowalski’s permanent tribute to his favorite restaurant and shared it with nearly 14,000 people at HOPR. Instagram Followers, who were overall delighted to see such a display of city pride. It’s similar to the Casa Sanchez tattoo craze of the 1990s in exchange for free tacos for life. Still, the sudden surge in social media attention left Kowalski tickled; she said she didn’t know how the staff would react at first.

“It was so nice. I was so shocked. I was like oh, they’re just going to laugh at me. I expected them to not care at all,” he said. she said, “So when they made a big deal out of it, I was really surprised and it was awesome. It made me feel so special. I felt like Princess House of Prime Rib or something.



The girl with the HOPR tattoo

A native of Sacramento, Kowalski swapped the slower vibes of the state capital for the bustling city life and sweeping ocean views of San Francisco just over a year ago. Here, she says, she found a sense of kinship among other weirdos, artists and people in the service industry.

When she’s not doing duplicates at an Italian restaurant on Mission Street, she’s apprenticed as a tattoo artist, which is how she was introduced to Shanti Seigelthe artist who designed the HOPR tattoo.

Kelsey Kowalski at the House of Prime Rib in San Francisco on September 30, 2022.

Kelsey Kowalski at the House of Prime Rib in San Francisco on September 30, 2022.

Patricia Chang / Special for SFGATE

Seigel is a born and raised San Franciscan who grew up in the Richmond District. At the height of the pandemic, Seigel, who tattoos these days at Haight Ashbury Tattoosaid he paints and draws every day and decided to create a flash sheet of iconic San Francisco images that represented what the city means to him.

“Usually when you see San Francisco tattoos it’s got the Sutro Tower and the Golden Gate Bridge, all the typical stuff,” he said. “Being born and raised here, I mean, sure, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Sutro Tower mean things to me, but not as much as the food.”

HOPR is a restaurant that Seigel, 46, said his family has visited once a year since before he was even born. So he took the restaurant’s logo and gave his meat carver some personal touches before adding five more instantly recognizable San Francisco culinary icons to his collage.

“The other items on this sheet are the dog Doggie Diner, I’m old enough to remember going to the Doggie Diner as a kid. And then, Boudin, the sourdough bread company,” he said. he says “There’s also a Dungeness crab, because my grandma would take me to Fisherman’s Wharf and we’d buy a bunch of crabs and then come home and smash them on her dining room table and eat it all the crab we could. ”

Flash art collage of iconic San Francisco foods and people.

Flash art collage of iconic San Francisco foods and people.

Courtesy of Shanti Seigel

There is also a lovely black and white portrait of Mary See from See’s Candy, which had 18 confectioneries in the Bay Area in 1939. The last image on Seigel’s flash sheet belongs to an ice cream cookie sandwich It’s-It in mint color. dripping with chocolate.

“I chose all the things that really matter to me and also things that I would get tattooed on,” he said.

Memorizing the Tastes of San Francisco

Although he doesn’t have any SF food-related tattoos on his body yet, Seigel said he was excited to tattoo his HOPR design on Kowalski because he knows she loves the restaurant so much.

He remembers missing the likes of San Francisco while living in New York from the late 90s to the early 2000s. Seigel said that whenever he visited friends and family on the West Coast , he stopped at all his favorite places before heading back east.

Kelsey Kowalski's House of Prime Rib tattoo, pictured in the restaurant's dining room, September 30, 2022.

Kelsey Kowalski’s House of Prime Rib tattoo, pictured in the restaurant’s dining room, September 30, 2022.

Patricia Chang / Special for SFGATE

“I would stop and grab a box of See’s Candy and a loaf of sourdough bread and then go to the Mission to get a burrito,” he said. “At least twice I’ve also been to Fisherman’s Wharf and bought frozen crabs and had them ice packed in a plastic bag with tape.”

Now, as he strolls the familiar streets of San Francisco, he says he longs for restaurants that are long gone, like Louis’ down by the Cliff House, and Ton Kiang, a former Chinese restaurant on Geary which he and his family frequented during his childhood. .

With losses like that, he said it was an honor to tattoo his HOPR rendition on his friend Kowalski. It is a living testimony to what these historic spaces mean to so many people and the countless memories they hold for all who pass through its doors.

A waiter prepares martinis at the table at the House of Prime Rib in San Francisco, September 30, 2022.

A waiter prepares martinis at the table at the House of Prime Rib in San Francisco, September 30, 2022.


Patricia Chang / Special for SFGATE
San Francisco just reopened indoor restaurants.  This is what House of Prime Rib looked like on the first night.

San Francisco just reopened indoor restaurants. This is what House of Prime Rib looked like on the first night.


Patricia Chang / Special for SFGATE
San Francisco just reopened indoor restaurants.  This is what House of Prime Rib looked like on the first night.

San Francisco just reopened indoor restaurants. This is what House of Prime Rib looked like on the first night.


Patricia Chang / Special for SFGATE
An indoor dining room at the House of Prime Rib in San Francisco, California on July 6, 2022.
An indoor dining room at the House of Prime Rib in San Francisco, California on July 6, 2022.
Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE


Scenes from a Friday night inside House of Prime Rib. (Images by Douglas Zimmerman and Patricia Chang)

What San Francisco means to the people who live in and frequent the city varies to a similar degree with everyone’s opinion of where to find the best dim sum. But there’s no doubt that restaurants are popular landmarks.

“Honestly, I got it because I love the House of Prime Rib. It’s such a San Francisco, to me, a landmark. I feel like it’s one of the gems of our city,” Kowalski said. “It’s such a special restaurant. The service is so outstanding. The food is amazing. I feel like it’s such a landmark. So for me, it’s Stupid tattoo. But I really love the House of Prime Rib.

House of the Côte de Boeuf, 1906 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco. Open Monday to Friday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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