Timeline

  • 1849-50

    Post Gold Rush San Francisco population grows exponentially overnight. The City becomes a land of excess and pleasure. There is a bar/restaurant for every 100 citizens.

  • 1880

    Chef Louis Besozzi arrives from Italy, landing a job at the famous Poodle Dog Restaurant.

  • 1883

    Chef "Uncle Louis" Besozzi opens Louis' Fashion Restaurant at Sutter and Market where teams of horses are stationed and attract flies. As a sanitary measure, Louis strews flypaper from the ceiling and below tables.

  • 1898

    Navy officers stationed in San Francisco refer to Louis' Fashion as The Fly Trap.

  • 1899

    Enrico Besozzi comes from Italy and begins to work with his brother.

  • 1906

    Louis Bessozi returns to Italy, sickness overtakes him.

  • 1906

    Dominico Tollini, Louis' nephew, begins to work for his uncles. A few months later, a devastating earthquake and fire consumes San Francisco.

  • 1907

    Enrico sets up temporary quarters on Golden Gate Avenue, between Larkin and Polk Street. The restaurant endures another fire, but reopens shortly after.

  • 1909

    The First Portola Festival commemorates recovery from the earthquake and fire. Enrico moves the restaurant to 73 Sutter Street where the name becomes official, The Fly Trap Restaurant. He invites Dominco Tollini and his brother, August, to become partners in the business.

  • 1911

    Dominico purchases a second-hand Non-Paeril Platen Press, which he uses to print menus. The fish is hand-scrawled because it "arrives after printing." August Tollini retires from the business.

  • 1916

    Enrico and Dominico hire Ernesto Cafferrata as a dishwasher.

  • 1926

    Beloved Louis "chef extraordinary" dies in Italy. His obituary lovingly recalls The Fly Trap Restaurant, "where men of their millions and men trying to make their millions as wells as the bohemian element would gather."

  • 193?

    A horse collapses in front of the restaurant. Amid hundreds of onlookers, a crane takes it away.

  • 1934

    In the no-mans-land south of Market Street, the Bloody Thursday Riots leave two dead and many injured.

  • 1936

    The Bay Bridge opens and The Golden Gate is completed

  • 1943

    The First Free Farmers Market opens at Market and Duboce.

  • 1947

    September 1st, Enrico Besozzi dies of a heart attack after returning home from work. Despite his 70 years, he was known for cooking everyday. He would exit the kitchen with chef hat askew, telling his financial district clientele to try this dish or that while rolling his eyes and kissing his fingers.

  • 1948

    Dominico invites Ernesto Cafferrata to become a partner in the business.

  • 1949

    After a lively dinner party, Dominico invites a few interested patrons into a locked basement to view his printing press. It sits beneath several hanging sausages, the letter keys kept in a soup bowl.

  • 1953

    Dominico sells the press to the same patrons. An account of its journey from San Francisco to Orinda is written up in Hoja Volarte XXXIV, published in 1953.

  • 1954

    Another managing partner, Elbi Tognoli, is arrested for illegally possessing 100 wild ducks at the Fly Trap.

  • 1962

    Doris Muscatine writes about The Fly Trap Restaurant in A Cooks Tour of San Francisco. Dominico tells her there is no specialty, but that the emphasis is on good cooking. Chef Ernest Cafferata, employed at The Fly Trap for 46 years, has become quite skilled at game cookery. You supply the game.

  • 1963

    In July, to make way for another skyscraper, the Fly Trap Restaurant is forced to close its doors. The parcel of land on which it stood becomes the Wells Fargo tower. According to Chef Ernesto, increasing rents discourage them from reopening.

  • 1972

    Chef Ernesto passes away after a long fight with cancer.

  • 1975

    A successfully retired businessman, Walter Zolezzi, purchases all rights to The Fly Trap name.

  • 1980's

    Walter Zolezzi reopens The Fly Trap in what was once The Planters Hotel. He copies much of the old menu and style of décor. He establishes personal connections with all of his guests.

  • 1988

    Walter hires a young, skinny, long-haired Iranian immigrant named Hossein as a line cook. Everyone calls him Hoss.

  • 1989

    The Loma Prieta Quake collapses much of the Bay Bridge. The Marina district is on fire. At The Fly Trap, gas lines shut off so the kitchen is closed. The bar continues to serve loyal patrons by candlelight.

  • 1991

    Walter Zolezzi and Chef Craig Thomas mentor Hoss to the rank of Executive Chef.

  • 1997

    After stops at Ristorante Ecco and Aromi, Chef Zaré opens Zaré on Sacramento Street. He blurs the line between front and back of house. With his gregarious spirit, he solidifies a reputation for personal service, building a loyal following.

  • 2000’s

    At the Fly Trap Restaurant and Bar, the menu is much the same as it has been for a century. Piano provides entertainment during lunch service. On weekends, vocalists belt tunes over the dining room. One night, a woman does sultry crawl across the bar. Another night, a private party releases a live chicken into the dining room. A waiter tackles it in underneath a corner booth.

  • 2008

    Chef Zaré returns to San Francisco after a stint in the Napa Valley. With the help of fate and friends, he becomes sole proprietor of the place where his career started. In a bold move, he revamps a menu 100 years in the printing. To attract his old customers, he adds his name to the awning. Zaré at Fly Trap is born.

  • 2011

    The building that once housed the Planters Hotel, site of The Fly Trap, is given landmark status.

  • 2013

    Chef Zaré, surrounded by a loyal crew, decides to remove his name from the awning. He invites Valen West, longtime bar manager, to become partner in the business.

  • Present

    "We are what we've always been." The Fly Trap Family