The name “Joe’s” is a generic name that dates back to the Barbary Coast in San Francisco. During the 1920s, a group of entrepreneurs decided to open a new restaurant on Broadway Street in San Francisco. The name “Joe’s” had gone dormant for a while and they determined that “New Joe’s” would be a good name. “New Joe’s” became the first restaurant in San Francisco to do exhibition cooking, where food was prepared in full view of the customer.
It was also the restaurant where the “Joe’s Special” was created. Folklore has it that a customer ordered a spinach omelette very late one night. When the customer asked the chef if he had anything else available to cook, the chef replied that he had some hamburger left. The customer asked him to throw some of the hamburger into his omelette. The dish became so popular that they eventually put it on the menu.
In 1937 the partners at “New Joe’s” had a falling out. One of the partners teamed up with Louis J. Rocca and Ante Rodin and started a restaurant at 144 Taylor Street in San Francisco. He insisted he was “The Original”, so they called the new restaurant “Original Joe’s.” The restaurant became extremely popular.