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Want to Try Alcatraz Food? Now You Can

The kitchen at Alcatraz.
The kitchen at Alcatraz.
Photo: Bridge and Tunnel Club

Though a trip to Alcatraz offers a fairly immersive look at what it might have been like to be imprisoned there (thank you, audio tour), there's one angle from which you can't put yourself into the shoes of Al Capone: the prison cafeteria has been closed for some time. But thanks to the Hyatt Regency, diners will now have the chance to taste the flavor of Alcatraz. Beginning August 8, the hotel's Eclipse restaurant will serve up a menu inspired by the very last meal ever served to prisoners on The Rock, back in March of 1963.

Enacted as part of the Hyatt's Alcatraz: Life on the Rock exhibit (which includes a number of rare photographs of the prison's last day in business), the menu is, well, pretty early '60s, with spaghetti, meat loaf, and mashed potatoes all in play. (It does, however, feature mulligatawny.) Executive chef Victor Litkewycz has adapted it slightly, as you can see below.

Probably the quirkiest thing about Alcatraz was that the food there was supposedly pretty good: it had a small prison population (250), so the food wasn't as batch-centric as other institutionalized kitchens; the warden was a strong believer in the riot-preventing powers of a good meal; and convict cooks were incentivized by both pride and self-preservation to put out their best work.

If you want to try the food of Alcatraz for yourself, it'll be available at Eclipse from August 8-September 2 for $28. You can make reservations by calling the Hyatt at (415) 788-1234.

Here's the original menu served at Alcatraz on March 21, 1963:

Appetizers: Mulligatawny Soup; Lettuce Salad; or Beet & Onion Salad
Choice of Entrée: Stuffed Cabbage with Meat Tomato Sauce; Boiled Short Ribs with Horseradish Sauce; Baked Meat Loaf with Pan Gravy; Spaghetti Italienne; or Baked Rock Cod with Spanish Sauce
Sides: Summer Squash Saute; Fresh Green Beans; Baked Macaroni; Mashed Potatoes
Dessert: Layer Cake; Bread Fruit Pudding

And here's Litkewycz's modern interpretation:

Starter: Clam Chowder
Choice of Entrée: Boiled Short Ribs with Horseradish Sauce; Baked Meat Loaf with Pan Gravy; Spaghetti Italienne; or Baked Halibut with Spanish Sauce
Served with: Lettuce Salad; Fresh Green Beans; and Mashed Potatoes
Dessert: Banana Bread Pudding

· The Hidden History of Alcatraz's Occupation [Curbed SF]

Hyatt Regency San Francisco

5 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA 94111