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Sears Fine Food

A San Francisco Raves and Faves

The Food Channel is focusing on Breakfast Trends this month. As part of that feature, we have chosen a few favorite restaurants that serve breakfast to tell you more about.

Let’s establish first that this is a place for tourists, people who are just visiting San Francisco for business or pleasure. At least, that’s what the woman sitting next to me at the breakfast counter told me. The woman who, by the way, is a San Francisco native.

“I was just passing by,” she said, in defense of her decision, “and pancakes sounded good.”

Whatever motivates you to go to Sears Fine Food, go. The pancakes are delicious, and the atmosphere in the morning is both energizing and relaxing. So much so, that we checked it out for dinner, too.

The restaurant is near the Moscone Convention Center, easy to find, and known for its Swedish pancakes. They come 18 to a stack, with warm maple syrup on the side, or you can get a half order and have room to add a little bacon or fruit to the side. They are dense and filling, meaning you’ll have to weigh for yourself the decision to get a whole order or a half—you’ll be full on nine, but you’ll want the flavor to continue!

You can get breakfast until 3 p.m., although the pancakes are offered at all hours. You can even take the mix home with you (we did, and the flavor was just as good—this is one product that holds up even without the restaurant experience). The bacon we ordered on the side was a plentiful four slices with excellent flavor. And, while we didn’t try them, we heard from one man who comes in primarily for the hash browns. He gets them every time and sings their praises.

If you prefer, you can order regular ol’ buttermilk pancakes, French toast, or waffles, and you can add fruit toppings, including their own strawberry preserves. They offer a variety of egg dishes and smoked meats, and you can even get hot oatmeal. We couldn’t resist a plate of fresh sliced oranges (its California, after all), and were not disappointed. Juicy, simple, and refreshing, they were a nice balance to the rest of the meal.

Sears Fine Food has been open since 1938, giving it plenty of time to get it right. You can usually choose counter seating when they are busy, which is fun if you are alone and ready to talk to others while the coffee keeps coming. Or, they have table seating that extends into a spacious downstairs, helping to accommodate their often-out-the-door crowds.

The restaurant was actually founded by a retired circus clown, which perhaps contributes to its eclectic feel. The decor is studded with tributes to both the food and the staff, who obviously are trained in making sure the customer has a good experience.

For dinner, we recommend you try one of their daily Blue Plate Specials. That is, if you don't get the Swedish pancakes.

We won't tell anyone you aren't a tourist.