Stacks Restaurant serves up delicious food in the heart of San Francisco. Don’t miss out on their brunch, but get there early to avoid the line!
Last week was my Association of Luxury Suite Directors (ALSD) Conference. It is in a different city each summer, and this year was San Francisco. The sessions began on Monday afternoon, but I flew in on Sunday, to give me extra time to tour the city. My only other visit to San Francisco was 20 years ago, for one day for a job interview. So I had a lot of ground to cover.
The only direct flight from OKC was at 6AM–NOT a fan of that. However, I arrived at 9AM and therefore had the whole day to explore. Our hotel was the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, in the heart of downtown, and easy walking access to lots of stuff. First stop, check in; second stop, food. I had read good things about Stacks Restaurant, and the concierge gave it a thumbs-up, so that was enough for me.
Stacks has 3 locations in California, and 2 franchised sister restaurants. The Hays Valley location is about 1 1/2 miles from the hotel, and San Francisco is a walking city, so I decided to do it like the locals. I figured it was a great way to get some exercise both before and after each meal.
This Stacks location has a fabulous corner spot, with large windows along each side of the building. There is no outdoor patio, but Stacks makes great use of the sidewalk by having 2-top bar height tables along the windows. They also make use of every availble inch of space inside, with seating for about 100. The tables are close together, but it’s still comfortable. There is a host stand and small waiting area immediately as you enter, a large open kitchen along the right wall, and the main dining room is the remaining space.
The first things that caught my eye were the 2 massive flower arrangements, and plants hung from the window valances. My very first impression: “a flower shop exploded in here”. But, as I took it all in, I changed my tune. The arrangements are absolutely gorgeous, and add a wonderful character. I also saw in other pictures that the flowers change seasonally.
Stacks is open for breakfast and lunch, 7 days a week. I had read that the wait can be very long, particularly on weekends. However, there only one couple was ahead of me when I arrived, and tables turned over quickly.
At first I sat inside, but then I decided I wanted to enjoy the sunshine. I felt bad about moving from the table, and apologized several times to my inside server. He said it was okay, and really it was…by the time I got outside another couple was already at my original table. My new waiter is a huge foodie like me, and he gave me some great local recommendations. I knew I wouldn’t be able to hit many of them on this trip, but I have them for next time.
The walk from my hotel was invigorating, and great exercise because of the hills. I wasn’t expecting the warmer than normal temperatures that morning, so I broke a sweat by the time I arrived. Most restaurants will only give water upon request during the drought. Thankfully my server brought a pitcher along with my glass of water; efficiency on his part, appreciation on mine. By the end of my meal I drank 2 pitchers.
The Stacks menu is large. I don’t do well with large menus, because I can never decide what to get. The breakfast menu is available all day, and the lunch menu begins at 10:30AM. My original plan was to just get something small to tide me over until lunch. But everything looked so good that I re-evaluated. Besides, it was about 10AM and time for brunch.
Stacks also offers daily specials, and the breakfast specials are available all day. I knew I wanted breakfast, but of course could not decide on an entree. With the help of my server, I finally decided on the bacon avocado omelet. The entree comes with potatoes and a bagel. I didn’t quite need that many carbs, so I swapped the bagel for fruit.
Everything on my plate was amazing. I love hash browns, and really loved this thick-cut, very well seasoned version. The browned pieces add such a nice texture and flavor. I didn’t think I had a chance with the 3-egg omelet, but I couldn’t stop eating it. California avocadoes are better than any others I have had. The chunks of bacon in the omelet add great contrast in texture to the eggs and creamy avocado. I never normally do salsa on my omelet, but one bite of this one completely changed my tune. This was easily one of the best salsas I’ve ever tasted. My server said they roast the tomatoes and make the salsa daily. They truly need to bottle and sell the stuff.
As I was eating, the guys at the table next to me got mimosa. Then I remembered that it was Sunday, and it was brunch. And all I was drinking was coffee and water. I had to fix that ASAP.
Love the presentation! And it was such a refreshing way to finish my meal. I ate the fruit last, with the rest of the mimosa. The fruit was delicious and extremely fresh.
As I was leaving, there was a line of guests waiting to be seated. Clearly my timing was perfect, and I imagine the line just continued to grow.
There are tons of restaurants in San Francisco, but Stacks is certainly on the list for my next visit. I’ve been telling my colleagues at the conference that they need to try it out. I also made sure to tell the manager, who was seating guests, how good my server was.