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How is This Hillcrest Building Related to Caesar Salad?

The food history of the Kahn Building.

The most recent tenant to occupy this Hillcrest building with a historic past was Harvey Milk's American Diner, which shuttered last fall at 535 University Avenue.

Before that, it was home to City Delicatessen, which was in residence for almost 30 years.

The Kahn Building dates back to 1919, when it was first built and designed in the Egyptian Revival style that was in vogue in those days; the fruit and vegetable frieze at the top of the building once depicted pharoahs.

The building's first food business was a grocery story with an in-house soda fountain but its most famous tenant is arguably Caesar Cardini, who founded Caesar's Restaurant in the space, which operated from the early 1920's to 1972.

Around Prohibition, the Italian-born Cardini and his family moved to Tijuana, where he opened another Caesar's. He reportedly invented the Caesar salad there in 1924.

When Harvey Milk's was still in business, the "Kale Caesar" salad on the menu was a tribute to their legendary predecessor.