Tiki Central / General Tiki
Obituary for Trader Vic's maitre d'
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This was in today's San Francisco Chronicle. Please note that he worked at the old SF Trader Vic's, not the one in Emeryville, so we probably never met him....but he probably got to meet the Queen!
Mike Gutierrez -- maitre d' at Trader Vic's
Michael O. "Mike" Gutierrez, the longtime maitre d' at San Francisco's exclusive Trader Vic's restaurant and a frequent source of news tips for the late Chronicle columnist Herb Caen, has died after a long struggle with esophageal cancer. He was 80.
Mr. Gutierrez, who retired about a decade ago, died Nov. 11 in San Francisco. He was long a source of news tips and society gossip for Caen and columnist Pat Steger while he worked at Trader Vic's during the restaurant's heyday.
He was born in Santa Barbara in 1923. He was a U.S. Marine sergeant during the Korean War and began his career in the restaurant industry at the Santa Barbara Biltmore Hotel.
He came to San Francisco in the 1950s to work at the El Prado on Union Square and then went on to become the maitre d' of San Francisco at Trader Vic's Restaurant for more than 37 years.
In a 1979 interview, Mr. Gutierrez told The Chronicle that on the opening nights of the opera or symphony or other major events don't plan on getting a table in the prestigious "Captain's Cabin" unless "your family fortune was made in the 19th century.''
Over the years, one of his main jobs was enforcing the coat and tie dress code during times when dress became more casual.
Mr. Gutierrez told Caen a story in 1989 about a tourist who came in to Trader Vic's in shirtsleeves. When the maitre d' informed the guest that a coat and tie were required, the tourist replied, "Got 'em in the car." The man rushed back a few minutes later wearing the requisite coat and tie -- but no pants.
Mr. Gutierrez loved gardening and dining at all the best and latest restaurants.
He is survived by a daughter, Yolanda Gutierrez of San Francisco; a son, Michael P. Gutierrez of San Francisco; and his companion of many years, Anita Louise.
The family suggests donations to the Esophageal Cancer Research Center at California Pacific Hospital, San Francisco. Services will be private.
Thanks for posting this cynfulcynner. I'm an avid obit reader myself. It sounds like Mike really lived a full and fantastic life.
I think I mighta met that guy...
My Grandma had a party there at TVSF on Cosmo St. in the 1980-82 era... I drank.
9 Days til NZ!
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