Got 5 cents? Have lunch at Fior d’Italia 

America’s oldest Italian restaurant is hosting a blast from the past Friday when it brings back its menu — and prices — from 1886.

After surviving numerous earthquakes, recessions and other crises, the landmark North Beach eatery Fior d’Italia is celebrating its 125th anniversary and bringing back its vintage menu for the event, spokeswoman Elif Arslan said.

Between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Friday, meals at the restaurant will cost between 5 cents and 30 cents. According to the menu, you can order three dishes — the veal saute, chicken Parmigiana and tortellini — at the whopping cost of 25 cents.

While the menu has become pricier through the years — a veal dish at the restaurant today sets you back $33 — not much else has changed.

“We still have a very stubborn Italian chef,” Arslan said. All joking aside, “the 125th is a big year for us,” she said.

To commemorate the anniversary, 1906 earthquake survivor William Del Monte, 104, who was born behind the restaurant, will arrive for a meal at 11 a.m., organizers said. He will ride in on a vintage carriage led by the sheriff’s Mounted Posse.

State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, also is scheduled to pay a visit.

The 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed the Fior d’Italia, but the eatery quickly bounced back, serving meals in a tent and then a new building, according to an account from publicist Lee Housekeeper.

In 1953, it was located directly across from Washington Square Park, but moved to the historic San Remo Hotel at 2237 Mason St. after a fire on Valentine’s Day 2005.

maldax@sfexaminer.com


Taste of the 19th century

Fior d’Italia anniversary menu from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday:

Veal saute: 5 cents

Tortellini with meat sauce: 10 cents

Chicken Parmigiana: 10 cents

Linguini and meatballs: 10 cents

Eggplant Parmigiana: 20 cents

Roast sirloin: 30 cents

Note: Regular prices for drinks, wine and extras, including minestrone soup, Caesar salad and dessert

Source: Fior d’Italia

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