Vermont Senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders — plus about half the Democratic party — ate this weekend at SF institution John’s Grill, a favorite among local politicians. But according to John’s owner, it wasn’t the most pleasant dining experience.
Politico reports that the event, held during the Democratic National Committee in San Francisco, was hosted by congressional leader Nancy Pelosi, and also included California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis. While Pelosi was “pure class,” per John’s owner John Konstin, Bernie, who arrived with about 15 of his staff, was “cranky.... He wasn’t nice to any of the staff.”
Sanders ordered lobster bisque, an heirloom tomato salad, and a Diet Coke, per Politico. (What, no hangtown fry?) But according to Konstin, the politician was “rude” throughout. “He didn’t want to shake hands, he didn’t want a picture... He lost my vote.”
If there’s one San Francisco restaurant owner whose influence is akin to the Iowa caucuses, it could be Konstin. John’s, a 1908-established restaurant and watering hole, was run for years by Konstin’s father, who spruced the place up and turned it into a local hangout of the politically well-connected. The senior Konstin, Gus, passed away last summer.
These days, John’s still wields real political power, hosting election day parties and events. While it looks like Sanders won’t be going up on the list of John’s famous patrons, there’s not much more room in the gallery, anyway. Everyone who has visited, from Ronald Reagan to Hillary Clinton to Steve Jobs, is listed on John’s website.