Opened: 1953 on Geary Boulevard at 16th Avenue.
Closed: Mid 1960s(?)
Where could one find the "West's Finest Chuck" in 1953? No place other than "Ranch House Dinners" on the northeast corner of 16th Avenue and Geary Boulevard in the Richmond District. Cowboys and the old west ruled the day. The Lone Ranger, Gene Autry and Death Valley Days were on the television; Alan Ladd as "Shane" shot up the big screen; and it seemed every new business put "ranch" in its name.
The Ranch House promised all one could eat for $2.15, and "man-sized portions of fine liquors at down-to-earth prices." The owners, Harvey and Art Greenbach, Sam Kaufman and Russ Schwartz hired designer Jon Oshanna to give the place an "authentic Western atmosphere," which included murals of cowpokes and cacti. Hokey, yes, but have you been to an Applebee's or T.G.I. Friday's recently? Perhaps in retrospect, the Ranch House decor wasn't quite so tacky.
The western craze died out by the mid-1960s, and so did the Ranch House. For many years the building—with its redwood and brick siding long gone—was a Round Table Pizza, and is now a bank. "Mr. Hot Dog," a small diner that stood across the street for decades, was better known to many as "Rancho Burger," and closed just a few years ago. (Does anyone have a photograph of that great sign it had?)
A San Francisco Examiner photographer took these photographs for a grand opening advertising spread. We happily rescued them from eBay to share with you.
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Page launched 10 August 2009.