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dishes continue to win over the staunchest of detractors: Fresh Water Shrimp Hushpuppies with Ancho Chile Remoulade and Black Skillet Fried Chicken with Buttermilk Whipped Potatoes and Pan Gravy. The down home taste of every dish is complimented by its nearly flawless presentation. Each bottle on the wine list is a testament to the unadulterated wealth of nearby Sonoma Valley. So it comes as no real shock that the epicurean writers at both Food & Wine and Zagat applaud his culinary wizardry and choice of spirits. Last November, the restaurant enjoyed the limelight of being featured as one of the Bay Area’s key destinations on VH1 Soul’s Soul Cities with Nelson George. It’s true that Northern California is historically known as a booming hub for upstarts. This region has seen everything from techies aggrandizing their latest software to opportunistic hippies preening a trumped-up version of Echinacea as the new panacea. At a time when most businesses are relying on gimmicks that typify a “bells and whistle” hustle akin to P.T. Barnum’s, 1300 On Fillmore adheres to a different philosophy. “David and I used to entertain a lot at our home and one day it clicked—‘let’s just transfer what we do at home into the restaurant’,” White laughingly says while describing 1300 On Fillmore’s origin. “Everybody comes to our parties because of the good people, good food and good music. We kept the comfort of the restaurant as if it was our home.” Once you step past the threshold, the intimacy is apparent. Big couches, stylish rugs and the perfect blend of natural and dim lighting make for a picturesque setting

for an afternoon gospel brunch or a late night hang suite. White refers to compositions by jazz guitarist Grant Green to Sarah Vaughn’s range when explaining 1300 On Fillmore’s muted elegance. Her knowledge of music and appreciation for those visionaries is omnipresent throughout the restaurant. From The Heritage Wall displaying the neighborhood’s legendary past to the live in-house jazz band, the restaurant pays homage to the growing legacy of the Fillmore District. The Green Magazine

“As a native San Franciscan, I was always intrigued by that scene,” White recollects. “I grew up looking at old photos of the Fillmore back in the 50s and 60s when it was a thriving African-American neighborhood. All the clubs were blackowned and you had Billie Holiday, Miles, Sammy Davis, Jr. and the list goes on of those who came here. And that’s how it got its name of ‘Harlem of the West’. I didn’t want that history to be forgotten. Particularly in a place that’s still here, but has lost some of the richness and I wanted to keep that footprint for San Francisco.” Food and music are both sustainable. One nourishes the body as the other feeds the soul. The staff at 1300 On Fillmore understands the connection. With its ingenious flair seen on each plate and preservation of the neighborhood’s past, the restaurant is orchestrating a score for longevity. August 2009 87


1300 On Fillmore