“It started with six stools and their mother’s recipes”
Brothers Albert and Joseph Scoma opened Scoma’s Restaurant, a small location on Pier 47, in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. Set against the backdrop of San Francisco’s commercial fishing boats, and serving local fishermen, a legacy began...
The Scoma brother’s new restaurant gained immediate popularity. Al and Joe realized the need to expand and Scoma’s celebrated its first anniversary with the grand opening of new dining room. Scoma’s was officially a successful, well-known restaurant in its first five years of operation. In 1970, with partners, Roland and Victor Gotti, the Scoma brothers opened a second Scoma’s located on the water in beautiful and historic Sausalito. Scoma’s Sausalito, offering a premier view of San Francisco from its historic pier became a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.
The 70’s continue into the 80’s…
Joe Scoma set out on his own in the mid 70’s opening a restaurant in the East Bay, a few years later Joe sold his restaurant and retired to Sebastopol. Al and Joe remained close and were seen together often in the restaurant enjoying each other’s company in the place they started years before.
Al expanded the Fisherman’s Wharf location adding an additional kitchen and dining room to accommodate the growing popularity. He also opened Scoma’s by the Pyramid, ordinally called Don Nunzio (Al’s father’s first name) located in San Francisco’s financial district at the foot of the historic Transamerica Pyramid. A perfect location for a business lunch, happy hour or an event in the wine cellar. The expansion continued in the late 70’s but it was not another restaurant, not yet, this time it was fishing boat. What better way to ensure the freshest fish and support the fishing industry; the boat was christened the Fishing Vessel “Scoma’s” and launched Scoma’s Restaurant into the commercial fishing business. As the 70s drew to its close, Scoma’s opened location number four in 1979. Marin’s Larkspur Landing center was home to newest addition to the Scoma brand.
Al and his partners decided to expand south to Rancho Mirage, just outside of Palm Springs and in 1983 Scoma’s of San Francisco opened its doors in the desert. Up north Scoma’s added more dining rooms at the Wharf location, moved the business office to its new location a second level addition to the building, and a hard decision to sell the location in the Financial District to focus on the four locations. Scoma’s was not just a restaurant, it was a Brand. The Fisherman’s Wharf Scoma’s was one of the highest grossing independent restaurants in the US, recognized around the world for its fresh seafood, classic entrees, and warm hospitality. Hosting guests from near and far, for business or pleasure, special occasion or no occasion at all, Scoma’s was a world-renowned destination. Presidential candidates, governors, members of Congress, mayor, heads of state, kings and queens, singer, dancers, actors, all enjoyed dining at Scoma’s. The walls filled with photos over the years.
Scoma’s Silver Anniversary….
1990 marked the 25th anniversary and a celebration benefiting Children with Special Needs. The new decade brought change to SF after a devasting earthquake in 1989. The early 1990s were a time of change for the Scoma brand; decisions to sell restaurants in Larkspur, and Rancho Mirage, and the celebrated the opening of the new Fish Receiving Station on Pier 47 in 1993. Dedicated to the memory of Al’s beloved brother and co-founder Joe Scoma, the celebration was a new beginning for the Scoma brand. Nicknamed the “FRS” the new station replaced a previously unused structure and offered a state-of-the-art fish receiving facility. Significant improvements for offloading of fish directly from the boats and the addition of windows allowed the public a view of fish preparation for the restaurant.
30 years and counting…
Scoma’s celebrated another milestone in 1995, 30 years in Fisherman’s Wharf hosting a party on the pier complete with a crab picking contest! As the decade came closer to an end Scoma’s popularity increased and we continued as one of the highest grossing restaurants in the country and voted a favorite restaurant by readers of Where Magazine in consecutive years of visitor polls. Scoma’s began an expansion of environmental practices and took a lead in the restaurant and Fisherman’s Wharf communities to further a goal that minimized Scoma’s impact on the environment.
The new millennium, with all the anticipation and preparation for a new beginning Scoma’s transitioned seamlessly and focused on an expansion of environmental efforts, commercial fishing grew with the addition of a crab permit and continued efforts to give back to the community, providing leadership for industry and neighborhood associations. Scoma’s leadership in the F-Line expansion, Waterfront Advisory Group, and Water quality helped shape the neighborhood visited by millions annually. Scoma’s was honored for recycling efforts diverting over 90 percent of waste from the stream, and its environmental efforts wining consecutive Golden Dumpster and Wrap awards. Al Scoma was honored by the City of San Francisco when the Board of Supervisors renamed Jones Alley to Al Scoma Way. The dedication and unveiling in 2002 was a celebration and recognition of Al Scoma’s and Scoma’s dedication to San Francisco and to Fisherman’s Wharf.
Scoma’s commitment to give back grew with fundraising efforts to end hunger, fight cancer, assist fishing communities locally and in Louisiana recover from oil spills, support local nonprofit charities, Salesian boys and girls club, Tel-Hi Neighborhood, Little Sisters of the Poor, East Bay Stan down for Homeless Veterans, to name a few. As community and small business partners Scoma’s committed to providing leadership to the Fisherman’s Wharf Merchants, The Port Tenants Association, Golden Gate Restaurant Association, Chamber of Commerce, and San Francisco Travel Association.
Scoma’s celebrated 40 years in San Francisco in May 2005 with what has become a signature party on the pier. In June 2007 the Scoma’s sadly said farewell to our beloved founder; Al Scoma. Al’s family was committed to keeping his legacy alive and thriving; expansion once again, after three years of planning, “Take Us Home” was launched. For years Al was asked to take his brand into the retail market and in his honor the family did just that, and in 2010 Scoma’s launched the famous crab cakes in the retail markets. Online or in the store our line of seafood cakes, including crab cakes, were a hit. The iconic San Francisco restaurant brand Scoma’s, was in households around the country. In this new arena Scoma’s remained committed to our philosophy on the environment shipping our frozen cakes in reusable packaging made from environmentally acceptable sources.
The Golden Decade begins….
Scoma’s “Take Us Home” campaign increased in popularity with sales in the millions, the iconic restaurant brand now a fixture in markets around the state and beyond. Taking a step toward alternative fuels, Scoma’s retrofitted a vehicle to run on used vegetable oil recycled from our kitchens fondly called the “Veggie-Mobile” We donated the remaining used vegetable oil to the Golden Gate Bridge District to power trucks for the crew. The 50th Anniversary was quickly approaching, focus shifted to plan for the Golden Anniversary in 2015 the Scoma family agreed it was time to remodel. Retro was the theme, a new look for both bar areas and the original dining rooms, while keeping that old school feel. Developing a menu inspired by the Sicilian heritage, partnering with local fishermen and farmers, while staying true to our classic style was a priority for the Scoma brand. Along with the new bar and lounge areas Scoma’s launched a new bar program, led by our 1965 Manhattan, barrel aged for 1965 hours in honor of the year Scoma’s was founded. A state-of-the-art wine on tap system allows us to serve our guests the best wines by the glass or carafe, while eliminating over 30,000 bottles from the recycle stream. The 50th celebration itself was a through back to the 60’s party and the launch of Scoma’s Pier to Plate initiative. Scoma’s, committed to sustainable fishing practices wanted to bring the focus to our local fisherman. Through Pier to Plate we can highlight the fishermen who bring us our fish. Together with a philosophy committed to FLOSS (Fresh, Local, Organic, Sustainable and Seasonal) we extend our support to local farms along with local businesses. Scoma’s committed to 100% sustainable offerings, became a proud partner of Seafood Watch. Scoma’s continued its
50 years and counting…
Scoma’s continues to look to the future, remaining committed year after year to our environmental practices. Wining the Golden Gate Restaurant Association Saucy Award for Most Sustainable Restaurant in 2017. Scoma’s Fishing Vessel was the beneficiary of a grant for a new engine in 2018, minimizing our impact on the ocean and the bay and ensuring many more years of responsible commercial fishing.
Scoma’s, 54 years and counting… was honored in 2018 with the People’s Choice Award given at the annual Saucy Awards and true testament to the commitment of our long-standing business philosophies. We continue to innovate, provide leadership for the community, the restaurants, the visitors, in San Francisco. Our focus on sustainable practices was the guiding principal as Scoma’s launched the Mindful Supper events in March 2019. A dinner that pairs food and beverages procured from our partners who have committed to sustainable practices.
Scoma’s looks forward to what is next and continues with anticipation toward the next milestone in our long history. We are proud to be one of San Francisco’s iconic businesses, located in a historic neighborhood, committed to our team members, our loyal guests, giving back to our community, sustainable practices and our environment.
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