The Winterland Curse

The Corner of Dead Restaurants

I have seen them come and I have seen them go.  Location, location, location as the old adage states…I have to agree…something is going on with the Winterland corner (Sutter and Steiner).

I have seen the place flip restaurants 3 times now from Julia, to Winterland to Cassis Restaurant to now the anticipated “Sweet Maple”.  The kicker is that the bedrock of the neighborhood…Neecha Thai Restaurant closed it’s doors as well. Neecha was literally across the street. There is something eerily strange going on. Two restaurants close their doors a week after one another. Of course I find this out after I have the urge to finally stop by and sample the fine cuisine. I had always heard solid reviews and took for granted the fact that they were neighborhood staples and staying put.

I guess the gist of this post is to support local folks, don’t put off something assuming it will be there manana….and don’t open a restaurant on the Winterland corner!

*For those of you that don’t know of the Winterland…(a brief History as snagged from Blues Brothers Central and wikipedia)

The Winterland Ballroom, often simply referred to as Winterland, was an old ice skating rink and 5,400 seat music venue in San Francisco, California. Located at the corner of Post Street and Steiner Street, it was converted to exclusive use as a music venue in 1971, by rock promoter Bill Graham. Graham had on occasion previously rented the venue for larger concerts his Fillmore Auditorium could not properly accommodate starting with a 1966 double bill of Jefferson Airplane and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. After closing Fillmore West in 1971, he began holding regular weekend shows at Winterland. Various popular rock acts played at there including such bands and musicians as The Rolling Stones, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Jethro Tull, Jefferson Airplane, and Elvis Costello played there, the latter in support of his Armed Forces album. A great number of the best-known rock acts from the 1960s and 1970s played Winterland or played two blocks away across Geary Boulevard at the original Fillmore Auditorium. The Grateful Dead made Winterland their home base. The Sex Pistols played their last show there on January 14, 1978. The Band played their famous and incredible last show, The Last Waltz with numerous guest performers, including Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and many others. The show was filmed by Martin Scorsese and released in theaters and as a soundtrack under the name The Last Waltz.

Winterland was built in 1928 for the then astronomical cost of $1 million dollars on a site. In its early years and served as an ice skating rink that could be converted to an entertainment venue. Early acts/shows at Winterland included Shipstad and Johnson’s Ice Follies. It also was host to opera and boxing.

During Winterland’s final month of existence, shows were booked nearly every night. Acts included The Tubes, The Ramones, Smokey Robinson, Tom Petty & Heartbreakers and on December 15-16, 1978 Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. Springsteen’s December 15 show was simulcast on local radio station KSAN-FM and Springsteen historians consider that show one of his most legendary. Torn down soon after, it is now housing. Winterland closed on New Years 1978/79 with a concert by the Grateful Dead, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and the Blues Brothers. The show lasted for over 8 hours, with the Grateful Dead’s show lasting nearly 6 hours itself. The final show was simulcast on radio station KSAN-FM and also broadcasts live on the local PBS TV station KQED. Winterland was torn down a few years later, and was replaced by apartment condominiums.

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~ by fogcityfoodie on September 6, 2010.

One Response to “The Winterland Curse”

  1. Oh, I meant to try Neecha Thai. Too bad it’s now closed. I like the Winterland history. Good read.

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