Meet Debbie Ward, S.F.'s Queen of Corned Beef

There have been too many a long and drunken night where I've floundered into hofbraus like Lefty O' Doul's with just enough singles to get me a corned beef sandwich to smooth out the inevitable rocky morning after.

No insight as to where this hangover savior has come from. No care but for my own, wasted well being. No idea of the unique history that corned beef has in this city.

So it must have been fate that led me to Debbie Ward in the upstairs office of the city's oldest corned beef plant, adorned with throwback deli photos of sky-high pastrami sandwiches, shamrock clocks, and dated menus of days when the stuff would cost but 25 cents a pound. For the past 103 years, Roberts Corned Meats has been providing corned beef and pastrami to Lefty O'Douls, Mel's Drive Inn, Tommy's Joynt, and a long list of big hitters in the city and around the bay.

“We've weathered the time because we're a specialty house,” Ward says.

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