THE U.S. RESTAURANT
Photos 1979 - 1980s.
I discovered the U.S. Restaurant, 431 Columbus Avenue, when I first started driving
a taxi in the late 1970s. It was one of the few family run Italian restaurants left in
North Beach. At the time I missed my family in New York. The U.S. Restaurant's
fine Italian cooking and friendly family gave me a "home away from home." At the time you could get dinner with
soup, dessert and coffee for under eight dollars. I used to eat there three to four nights a week.
Established in the 1920s,the name U.S. is an abbreviation of the restaurant's
original name - Unione Sportiva. Natives of Parma, Italy, Maria and Luigi Borzoni purchased the U.S. from Luigi's brother
Camillo Borzoni and Joe Cassarotto in 1964. Borzoni and Cassarotto had the place for
seven years after buying it from an Argentinean family.
was completely family run. Maria and Luigi's daughters, Anna and Anita helped with
the cooking and waiting on tables. Their son, John, did the cleaning after hours. His wife, Lou, is
also a waitress. Alberto Cipollina, who did the bookkeeping with his wife Anna, also worked as chef. I became friends with
the family and when I got my first 35 mm camera in 1979 I started doing a series of portraits inside the restaurant.
In the mid-1990s Maria retired and closed the restaurant. Her son-in-law Alberto reopened the U.S.
with a partner a few months later with new decor and a new modern menu. It did not succeed. It closed and about
a year later Alberto opened what is called the Original U.S. Restaurant up the street at 515 Columbus Avenue with a new staff.
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