By Cicero A. Estrella
The wait is over.
House of Prime Rib will reopen on Oct. 15, and the demand for tables has been nonstop since the Nob Hill institution began taking reservations earlier this week. The restaurant is mostly booked up through the end of the month.
“We’re filling up fast,” owner Joe Betz said. “It’s a little overwhelming right now, but we’re trying to accommodate everyone.”
Betz announced that HOPR was back in business by posting a video Oct. 12 of himself throwing the door open at the restaurant.
“I’m so excited we’re open again,” Betz says in the video. “Nice seeing you. We waited for months and months. Now finally it’s time.”
Betz and son Steven Betz, the restaurant’s general manager, teased patrons on Sept. 30 with social media posts stating that the reopening was imminent, but they held off on giving a specific date as to when HOPR would again begin serving its famous cuts of prime rib, salad, Yorkshire pudding and creamed spinach.
“After six months of being closed, it will take us roughly two weeks to get up to full speed,” the father-and-son team said. “That includes rehiring of employees, proper aging of the beef, and preparing the salad dressing.”
The social media posts went on to explain that it takes up to two weeks to prepare the base of their salad dressing. And, of course, it takes 21 days to age the beef properly.
The news was welcomed by patrons hungering for a great meal and a chance to get out on the town again. Hundreds left comments on HOPR’s Twitter and Facebook feeds.
“Best news ever,” one commenter said.
The much-anticipated reopening comes after San Francisco revised its pandemic dining restrictions, allowing restaurants to reopen at 25 percent capacity, with a limit of 100 indoor diners at a given time.
“I’m a little nervous. We really don’t know what to expect,” Joe Betz said. “But it’s not like we’re doing this for the first time. We’ve been here 71 years.”
House of Prime Rib, which is located at 1906 Van Ness Ave., has been a San Francisco mainstay since it opened in 1949. In addition to its meals, the restaurant is known for the way it serves its staple dish.
Servers roll up to tables and booths with the restaurant’s iconic stainless steel carts, from where they carve the prime rib to diners’ specifications—from the City Cut for lighter appetites, all the way to the hearty King Henry VIII Cut.
Joe Betz’s video detailed new sanitary procedures the restaurant is taking to ensure the safety of diners. They include taking customers’ temperatures at the door, providing each table with hand sanitizer, having fewer tables and installing plexiglass partitions between booths.
“We’re not going to make any unwise decisions,” Joe Betz said.
Photos courtesy House of Prime Rib