The oldest restaurant in California, Tadich Grill, celebrated its 175th anniversary on Sunday, bringing many local luminaries, with political foes Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Aaron Peskin burying their hatchets for one brief afternoon over cioppino and crab cakes.

SF’s legendary steak-and-seafood restaurant Tadich Grill is the third-oldest continuously operating restaurant in the whole USA, having originally opened way back in the Gold Rush days of 1849. And as we noted on the first day of April, Tadich Grill has been celebrating its 175th anniversary with a month-long promotion featuring $1.75 Bloody Marys, plus the 175th customer through the door each day receiving a free “Tadich swag giveaway” bag. (That promotion runs through Tuesday).

Image: Joe Kukura, SFNews

But on Sunday, Tadich Grill threw its proper 175th anniversary party, with martinis and crab cakes all around, and a who’s-who of the local power-player scene popping in to pay their respects.  

Image: Joe Kukura, SFNews

“Thank you all so much for coming downtown on a Sunday,” Mayor London Breed told the packed house, before of course hyping her agenda to build housing downtown. “This restaurant has seen this city through so many different times. Earthquakes, fires, pandemics. And even the creation of what downtown is today, and what downtown will be in the future, as more of a neighborhood in San Francisco. We expect to bring more people to live downtown.”

“I must say the first time that I did come down to Tadich, it was on a date,” Breed added. Golly, who was she on a date with? She did not say.

Image: Joe Kukura, SFNews

But look at Breed and her mayoral race rival Supervisor Aaron Peskin being surprisingly cordial to one another, and even pretending to enjoy each other’s company! (Peskin, of course, is the district’s supervisor.)

Image: Supervisor Aaron Peskin and Mayor London Breed with Tadich Grill owner Mike Buich and daughter Jen Buich Whitaker (Joe Kukura, SFNews)

“I’ve been around in politics for a long, long time, but this institution outlasts me by 150 years,” Peskin quipped in his speech. “Many years before I was in politics, this is the institution, when you were only 140 years old, where I got together with my now-wife, 35 years ago.”

Image: Joe Kukura, SFNews

Plus, former mayor and “Da Mayor” Willie Brown came by as well, appearing here with the restaurant's former owner Steve Buich, current owner Mike Buich, and two of Mike Buich’s daughters.

Daughter Jen Buich Whitaker tells SFNews, “From the time we could walk, our dad had us around here washing dishes and making crab cakes.”

Image: Joe Kukura, SFNews

The fabulous cable car swizzle stick seen above was not just for Sunday’s party, these are served in Tadich Grill’s cocktails every day. (The California Street Cable Car line runs right by Tadich Grill.)

Buich Whitaker adds that “When it was ‘Bring Your Parents to School Day,’ dad would come to school and give a speech on what it was like to run a restaurant, and his giveaway to everybody in the class was these Tadich Grill trolley swizzle sticks. So those have been in the hands of many little kids across the Bay Area for many generations.” (And lest you judge, these swizzle sticks are also served in Shirley Temple and Roy Rogers drinks, as well as the adult beverages.)

Image: Joe Kukura, SFNews

And yes, that is Dungeness crab-shaped bread that was served Sunday, baked by Boudin Bakery.

Image: Joe Kukura, SFNews

Some old vintage Tadich Grill menus were out on display Sunday too, some dating back as long ago as 1912. A 1922 menu shows that at the time, a plate of prime rib cost a whopping 65 cents.

Image: Joe Kukura, SFNews

There was no proper meal service at Sunday’s celebration, just a large table of hors d'oeuvres. But at Tadich Grill, hors d'oeuvres are not just cheese and crackers, the spread featured steak cuts, large prawns, octopus, and more.

Image: Joe Kukura, SFNews

Tadich Grill was established 1849 by three Croatian immigrants as a coffee stand, and it changed ownership several times in the late 1800s (Its second co-owner Marko Milinovicjh was killed in a gunfight in 1863.)  John Tadich started working there as a bartender in 1876, and bought the place in 1887. Several members of the Buich family started working there in 1913, with the Buich family buying the restaurant outright in 1928, keeping it in the family ever since.

Image: Joe Kukura, SFNews

And Tadich Grill still has that 1920s feel, with servers wearing starched white coats, and an interior featuring Art Deco chandeliers and wooden wainscoting, even to this day.

“We’ve been hearing a lot about the ‘fall of San Francisco’ in the media,” Tadich Grill director of operations Derek Belanger tells SFNews. “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.”

Related: Tadich Grill Celebrating Its 175th Anniversary This Month, With $1.75 Bloody Marys And More [SFNews]

Images: Joe Kukura, SFNews