Cable Car Businesses

by Joe Thompson

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There are many businesses around San Francisco and in other cities that have "Cable Car" in their names. I list these businesses not to endorse them but to mention them as a reflection of peoples' interest in cable cars.

I welcome reports about other businesses.

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Cable Car Charters

Cable Car Charters was founded by San Francisco entrepreneur Arnold S Gridley. In 1958, the San Francisco Municipal Railway auctioned off all but twelve of the cable cars it had inherited from the California Street Cable Railroad. Gridley bid on a group of the cars, and then had to think of what to do with them. He figured out how to put them on truck chassis. He rented them out for parades and other events. Many of his cars appeared in movies. By the time of Gridley's death in 2004, Cable Car Charters had 60 motorized cable cars; 15 were original cars from Cal Cable and the rest were reproductions.

Car 46 decorated Cal Cable Car 46 was sold by Muni to the owner of Tacoma's Steve's Gay '90s. It is currently operated by Cable Car Charters. Here it is decorated for the 2005 Carnaval Parade

Cable Car Cleaners

Cable Car Cleaners Cable Car Cleaners is at the corner of Hyde and California. November, 2012.

Cable Car Clothiers

Cable Car Clothiers Cable Car Clothiers has sold British clothing to gentlemen in San Francisco since 1939. I bought a nice rain hat there. August 2006.

In August, 2012 I spotted a sign saying that Cable Car Clothiers was having a moving sale. The store was leaving its location at Bush and Sansome to return to Sutter Street. I went in and bought a wonderful cap for 30% off.

Cable Car Clothiers moving A sign announces the moving sale. August 2012.

Cable Car Clothiers cap My cap. August 2012.

Cable Car Clothiers moving ad A moving sale ad.

Cable Car Clothiers moved The new location. October 2012.

Cable Car Clothiers opened in its new location on Sutter Street in October, 2012.
Cable Car Clothiers necktie A necktie from gentlemen's store Cable Car Clothiers. I have a red one and a navy blue one. April, 2022 Picture of the Month. Cable Car Clothiers necktie label
Cable Car Clothiers ad -- 1971 A 1971 newspaper ad for Cable Car Clothiers.

1973 cable car clothiers Cable Car Clothiers offered a belt with a special buckle to commemorate the centennial. (Source: San Francisco Examiner, 1973-08-02, Page 13).

Cable Car Coffee

Cable Car Coffee Cable Car Coffee in Hallidie Plaza. November 2001. Photo by Joe Thompson.

The Cable Car Coffee Company has been in San Francisco's Hallidie Plaza since 1988. They have locations in several other cities.

Cable Car Financial

Cable Car Financial A window advertises Cable Car Financial in Disney's California Adventure. Their slogan is "Riding the Ups and Downs of Finance". July 2006. Photo by Rosemarie Thompson. All rights reserved.

Cable Car Hotel

Cable Car Hotel The Cable Car Hotel is on California near Hyde. November, 2012.

The Cable Car Store

The Cable Car Store The Cable Car Store at San Francisco's Pier 39 carries a large collection of cable car-related souvenirs. February 2002. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Joe's Cable Car Restaurant (no relation)

Joe's Cable Car Joe's Cable Car. June, 2013.

On a bright and sunny June day, we drove over to Mission and Silver to visit Joe's Cable Car Restaurant, which is famous for its hamburgers. We got there early, and it filled up rapidly. My wife ordered a mushroom burger with onion rings and I ordered an avocado burger with French fries. We admired the eclectic decor while we waited for our food. The cooks ring a cable car bell when orders are up.

Joe's Cable Car corner Joe's Cable Car, with a neon cable car in the corner window. June, 2013. July, 2013 Picture of the Month.

Joe Grinds His Own Fresh Chuck Daily "Joe Grinds His Own Fresh Chuck Daily" says a sign on the wall by the parking lot. June, 2013.

Joe's Cable Car Parking A selection of signs in the parking lot. June, 2013.

The burgers were both very good. My bun held together till the last couple of bites. The mushrooms were good. The avocado was a little firmer than I liked, but everything tasted good. My wife said the onion rings were excellent. I tried an one and it was light, not greasy. The fries were nice, but I like the ones at Bill's better. Both hamburgers came with a slice of cantaloupe. I was full before I finished my fries. We agreed we would come back.

I didn't get to see owner Joe Obegi.

Joe's Cable Car Condiments Custom-labeled condiments on our table. June, 2013.

A waitress brought our bill and picked up the money, saying she would bring back our change. We waited a while and another waitress brought us another bill for the same amount and went to another table. I caught her on her way back and said we had already paid and were waiting for our change. She apologized and went back to look for our change. She brought it soon after.

Joe's Cable Car interior A view of the eclectic decor, looking out to the corner of Mission and Silver. Lots of buses went by while we were eating. The neon cable car is just visible. June, 2013.

On 29-January-2014, a report on KPIX Channel 5 said that Joe Obegi is going to close the restaurant in March and retire.

On 16-March-2014, Joe Obegi closed the restaurant and retired.

Steve's Cable Car Room

Steve's Gay '90s was a restaurant in Tacoma, Washington. It had a "Cable Car Room", with booths resembling cable cars.

Cable Car Room A postcard showing Steve's Cable Room, with cable car booths, and the Gay '90s room, with "surrey with a fringe on top" tables.

Tony's Cable Car Restaurant

Tony's Cable Car Tony's Cable Car neon sign. August 2006. September, 2006 Picture of the Month.

Tony's Cable Car, a tiny hamburger stand, is located at Geary and Lyon in San Francisco. I've never eaten there, but I have always admired their neon sign. People speak highly of their shakes and curly fries.

Tony's Cable Car exterior An exterior view of Tony's Cable Car. August 2006.

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Last updated 01-April-2023