148-Year-Old Sam's Grill & Seafood Gets an Update and a New Patio

Sam’s Grill & Seafood
has been around since 1867. (That’s a long time ago by California standards; the entire state had fewer people than Fresno does now, and there wasn’t even a transcontinental railroad yet.) And it’s on Belden Place, the foodie lane that looks as though you can buy lunch in euros and which is also home to Plouf, Sauce, and Belden Taverna, to name a few. In other words, it’s storied and it’s in a choice location.

And now Sam’s is getting an extreme makeover. Just how extreme remains to be seen, but it’s outdoor space will soon become Sam’s Seafood Alley. You’ll still be able to dine outside as before, but now the patio will have a menu of its own, including ceviche, chowder, shrimp and prawn cocktails, and a raw oyster bar. Three-martini-lunchers — assuming there are any left — can still nab olives off the pick, but Sam’s revamped cocktail menu will include signature drinks like the Alleycat (cucumber vodka, cucumber, Aperol, and a squeeze of lemon). A new wine list will emphasize white and rosé varietals, for al fresco inebriation.

Aesthetically, little of substance may change. The awning is still there, as is the teak burl bar that has probably see beards go in and out of style five or six times. Expect big things on this gourmet alley after opening next Wednesday, August 26.

Sam’s Seafood Alley, 374 Bush, 415-421-0594.

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