15 Songs from 15 Years of Blue Plate

The world would be a better place if every neighborhood’s casual new american joint was as magically delicious as Blue Plate. As the San Francisco restaurant prepared to celebrate its anniversary with a series of winemaker dinners, we asked co-owner Jeff Trenam about the role that music has played over the first fifteen years.



Actually, there were four of us…stoner garage rock had its place in our past.

UMPTEENS: Hang Out with My Friends

We started the biz with four of us, friends from high school and college, and this was played constantly.  Now there are only two of us, but we are still all great friends.

DIGABLE PLANETS: Rebirth of Slick 

When we first opened this got played on the turntable that we stupidly placed right at the expedite station. Total rookies…it eventually was moved into the office.


In the beginning all our music was played on a turntable and certain albums, like this one, took a beating.


Certain songs, when I hear them, I feel like I have to start setting tables. This is one of them.

BRENDA RAY: Starlight

Having a smoke at the end of the night in our garden under SF’s starless fog.

THE JAM: That’s Entertainment

Another album that got destroyed from too much play. We are putting on a show every night and this one always gets people pumped and ready.

SMOG: Cold Blooded Old Times

I remember this as the end of the turntable and the beginning of mp3 players. We had this one server Carlos, who worked with us for 7 years and he was almost like the resident DJ.  He had all the music dialed down.

SHUGIE OTIS: Strawberry Letter

It’s always a tough adjustment from set-up music to opening-the-doors music. Shugie was always good for the transition.  And it just puts everyone in a good mood when they hear it.

DONALD BYRD: Lansanna’s Priestess

This reminds me of the transition from the Motorhead pace of set-up to the more dignified pace of service.  One time we had a customer who came and sat at the counter by himself.  He started testing me on Donald Byrd.  I thought I did alright, but it turns out he dined on a stolen credit card and I got ripped off.


This was the kitchen’s anthem for a time.  In fact, I believe Levon, one of our cooks, has been known to sing this karaoke with the rest of the staff egging him on.  


I always wanted to invite this guy in for a steak dinner since his music was such a regular part of kitchen set-up.

VETIVER: Down at El Rio

Before the Cuckoo opened which is our current staff favorite, this song announced where the gang would be meeting for the post-service wind-down.


I hesitate to put this on the list since it has been played so much some would rather not hear it ever again.

E-40: Function

When this comes on, Cory has just walked in.