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Storied: San Francisco

Jan 19, 2021

Tony Carracci's life revolves around water.

Tony's parents met in Seattle, where his mom was from. His dad, who is from from New Orleans, met his mom up north during a stint in the Merchant Marines. When they were expecting their first child, Tony, the young couple decided to relocate to another port town: San Francisco, away from the cold and rain of Seattle and the heat and mugginess in New Orleans.

Tony did most of his growing up in the 1960s and early '70s in The City, and he shares some of his impressions of that era. He played baseball, football, and soccer, and excelled at sports in general. But because he had a hard time sitting still and focussing for a long time, school wasn't Tony's favorite.

He graduated and left home in the mid-'70s. He worked in the now-defunct SF shipyards but hated it. He moved up to Portland (yet another port town!) for a couple years, started working in kitchens, and started doing hair and make-up. Then he went farther north, to his mom's hometown of Seattle. But a girl he met there and started dating got a job back in The City, and Tony decided that it was his chance to come home.

After restaurant jobs here and there, Tony learned about a new restaurant in the Haight that needed an opening chef. That place was Cha Cha Cha.

Tony spends the last part of this episode talking about Haight Street and South of Market back in the day. He ends with the story of opening the Cat Club.

Join us Thursday for Part 2, when Tony will share the story of opening his BBQ joint in the East Bay.

We recorded this podcast at Black Star Pirate BBQ in Richmond, California, in December 2020.

Photography by Michelle Kilfeather