First opened in 1935, It’s Tops Coffee Shop sits at 1801 Market Street overlooking Octavia Boulevard, right next door to Grooves, the vinyl record shop, a fellow time-lost treasure trove tucked away in an unobtrusive nook near the I-80 freeway, untouched by the relentless progress that literally races past.
The interior is a ready-made movie set (if a trifle cozy one) of an old-time diner, period charm evident in the vintage details like the ice cream fountain and the tabletop chrome jukeboxes that play nothing but music from the 1950s like their full-size Seeburg ancestors once did.
The menu is a typical inventory of traditional favorites of American cuisine—burgers and fries, milkshakes, pie a la mode, and breakfast items like hot cakes and hash browns, sausages and stuffed waffles, bacon and eggs—with some nods to the modern era in the form of liquid refreshments popular among the late night dining crowd: beer, wine, and soju cocktails, as well as the ubiquitous brunch favorite, mimosas.
The long-standing business’s hours are somewhat idiosyncratic; they open everyday at 8 AM for breakfast and lunch and close at 3 PM. On Monday and Tuesday, that’s it; there are no evening hours, but Wednesday through Saturday they reopen at 8 PM and stay open until 3 AM, so four days out of the week it’s 8-3, and then 8-3 again. On Sunday they stay open straight through, but close at 11 PM, with no late night hours. Diners should take note that the hour of day does not affect the availability of menu items (other than alcoholic beverages); you can order pancakes anytime of the day or night and take-out orders can be placed by calling 415-431-6395.
Writer and bon vivant J. Eric Miller lives, loves, and laughs in San Francisco and its environs. Follow his further adventures at: theupsanddownsofsanfrancisco.tumblr.com.