John's Grill, the downtown San Francisco restaurant near Union Square made famous in the Dashiell Hammett novel "The Maltese Falcon," is set to open a 700-square-foot outdoor dining area at noon Monday, 4 months after the restaurant closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At noon Monday, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, John's Grill owner John Konstin and "scores of well-known San Franciscans, politicians, politicos, newsies, detectives and 'Maltese Falcon' fans are expected to be present at a press conference to formally announce the opening of the patio, dubbed the "Oasis on Ellis Street."
According to John's Grill co-owner John Konstin Jr., "We are taking all necessary precautions per the public health guidelines in order to ensure our staff and patrons are all as safe as possible." The temperatures of all employees will be checked every morning, Konstin said, and any employee that is showing any signs of sickness will be asked to not come in to work.
In the 1927 mystery novel "The Maltese Falcon" - later a classic Humphrey Bogart movie - the detective Sam Spade went to John's Grill, asked the waiter to "hurry his order of chops, baked potato and sliced tomatoes." Author Hammett was working in the Flood Building, next door to John's Grill, as a Pinkerton agent when he wrote the novel.