Lower Haight History: Wimpy's Grill

For your Sunday amusement, take a trip in the wayback machine to the 1930s, and learn a tiny bit about neighborhood history.

Over on our Facebook page last week, reader Rochelle M. alerted us to a graphic she encountered in a book entitled "Menu Design in America":

The graphic comes from a menu for Wimpy's Grill at 576 Haight, and is attributed with a date of "c. 1934."

From what we can surmise, Wimpy's Grill — alternatively known as Wimpy's Inn — opened some time in the 1930's at the address currently occupied by Memphis Minnie's.

A commenter on one website claims to be the nephew of the original owner of the Haight Street Wimpy's:

"There were actually two Wimpy's Inns in the Bay area. The original location was the one on Haight Street. There is a Memphis style BBQ in that location as I write this. The second location was on Fourth Street in San Rafael.

The Haight Street location was owned by my uncle Walt Schoch (actually my great uncle). He started the restaurant sometime in the late 1930’s. In 1939, my grandfather Adolph Schoch joined him in 1939 and opened the San Rafael location. Both men were the sons of Swiss immigrants who originally settled in New Jersey."

Municipal records from the 1930s reveal that Wimpy's slogans included, "Hamburger Sandwiches That You Will Like," and, "Hot Dogs . . . Get 'Em While They're Hot!"

A few years ago, a Wimpy's menu was auctioned for $112. The menu read "Wimpy Says: Keep Smiling," and advertised locations in San Francisco and San Rafael.

We're not exactly sure when Wimpy's closed, though it's included in city phone directories at least through 1945.

That's pretty much all we know about Wimpy's, a hamburger and hot dog joint that appropriated the Popeye character's name and image for a good 10+ year run in the neighborhood. If anyone out there should happen to have more details about this little slice of Haight Street history, by all means, let us know!