From Bonds to Dwight Clark, MoMo’s has hosted the best of the Bay Area

It’s October 2012 and the San Francisco Giants are in the middle of their second playoff series in three years. Barry Bonds, no longer introduced, is sitting in his car on the corner of San Francisco’s 2nd and King Streets, right next to MoMo’s Bar and Grill. Bonds does not necessarily join patrons, but it does is interact with them – whenever something good happens at nearby Oracle Park, it honks and ignites the MoMo crowd who are packed out on the patio.

For the famous Recluse Bonds, it is as close as you will be able to get closer to a co-signer. And for good reason: During baseball season, MoMo’s is a Bay Area sports fan’s paradise at the foot of Heaven’s Gates, aka Oracle Park.

MoMo’s has been a mainstay of the neighborhood since 1998, even before the Giants took up residence at 24 Willie Mays Plaza.

restaurant across from Oracle Park in San Francisco on October 8, 2021.”/>

San Francisco Giants fans share a laugh under a photo of Giants Hall of Fame Willie Mays at MoMo’s, a sports bar and restaurant across from Oracle Park in San Francisco on October 8, 2021.

Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

Originally opened by Peter and Janet Osborne, MoMo’s was acquired by Scott and Caitlyn Morton on October 1, 2019. They say they want to build on the legacy created by the Osborne family. “This place was here in 1998, long before any housing development, two years before the stadium was built, and we’re trying to bring out that nostalgia and that history,” Scott Morton recently told SFGATE.

Morton said buying the Osborne restaurant was not a difficult decision. They were like family, after all. Grandpa Osborne and Grandpa Morton already knew each other, and Scott Morton was friends with the Osborne children. Morton basically grew up at MoMo, he said. He started as a seasonal employee, then became a general manager at the end of 2016. When the Osborne (and their other business partners) were ready to go into other businesses, Morton stepped in.

MoMo owner Scott Morton poses with his wife Caitlyn outside their sports bar and restaurant, which is across from Oracle Park in San Francisco.

MoMo owner Scott Morton poses with his wife Caitlyn outside their sports bar and restaurant, which is across from Oracle Park in San Francisco.

Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

“I didn’t want this place to be abandoned and fallen into idle hands, whether it was a redevelopment project or another restaurant chain,” Morton said. “This place has a pretty unique soul and I wanted it to stay in the closest family possible.”

What Morton is referring to, of course, are the Giants.

San Francisco Giants fans sit at the bar at MoMo's, a sports bar and restaurant across from Oracle Park in San Francisco on October 8, 2021, ahead of Game 1 of the National League Division Series.

San Francisco Giants fans sit at the bar at MoMo’s, a sports bar and restaurant across from Oracle Park in San Francisco on October 8, 2021, before the National League Division Series opener.

Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

Everything the Osborne originally planned for MoMo’s was quickly usurped by the city’s main ticket, Oracle Park. MoMo has turned into a mainstay of the Giants that crushes fans who live in San Francisco and especially those who come from elsewhere.

The interior part has two gathering places, the main bar to the right of the host counter and a larger dining room to the left, which includes a semi-open kitchen and a brick oven for pizzas that burns wood at 900 degrees. The entire place is adorned with sports memorabilia from the giants and the Bay Area. In the main dining room, large TVs are mounted above 10-foot-high windows that overlook the patio, and the room has an open feel thanks to an elongated cubicle against the back wall.

The indoor spot is not calm, by all means, but it’s a bit more traditional, if you’re less into the game and just want to nibble on a classic range of American cuisine options. (Morton humbly submits MoMo’s as having the best fries in San Francisco.) But the biggest and biggest party is happening on the front patio. Technically, there are two patios: one with high tables and stools, the other with four-tray tables along a wall of low bushes and umbrellas for protection from the rain (plus lamps. heating for cold).

Patrick Nuck, right, shares a laugh with a bartender while paying for drinks at MoMo's Outdoor Patio Bar, a sports bar and restaurant across from Oracle Park in San Francisco on October 8, 2021.

Patrick Nuck, right, shares a laugh with a bartender while paying for drinks at MoMo’s Outdoor Patio Bar, a sports bar and restaurant across from Oracle Park in San Francisco on October 8, 2021.

Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

San Francisco Giants fan Rik Thomas has traveled from Idaho to watch Game 1 of the National League Division Series.  He had a drink on MoMo's crowded outdoor terrace on October 8, 2021.

San Francisco Giants fan Rik Thomas has traveled from Idaho to watch Game 1 of the National League Division Series. He had a drink on MoMo’s crowded outdoor terrace on October 8, 2021.

Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

The energy inside and out is contagious and has lent itself to some unique MoMo stories. The late 49ers wide receiver Dwight Clark “was known to arrive with a cigar case filled with his five Super Bowl rings,” Morton said. “He would walk through the dining room and let people try them on. That’s when we had groups of 200, 300 people here and they were running around with his Super Bowl rings on and he didn’t care. He knew he would get them back.


Over the years, countless baseball players and coaches have also visited MoMos.

As Morton recounts, during the 2002 or 2003 playoffs, Osborne was “so overwhelmed with goodwill and excitement” that he closed the restaurant to the public and invited the entire Giants squad and staff in. ‘trainers for dinner at MoMo. Players have become guest bartenders and pizzaiolos for their teammates. (Osborne took care of the bill.)

As this unfolded, a keen-eyed child spotted the tag team event from outside the restaurant. His father greeted then General Manager Paul Cardinale (who now owns Local Tap at 3rd and Brannan) and asked if his son could get an autograph. Cardinale gave him more than that. He took the kid into the dining room and said to the team, “Hey, that kid is my nephew.” The child has met everyone. By the time he got out of MoMo, he had a baseball so covered in black Sharpie autograph ink that it was barely recognizable as a baseball. “It’s just a part of what has just been next to the stadium,” Morton said.

A cutout of Bert Crosthwaite, center, at the table with sons Ron, left, and Jim as they enjoy a pre-game meal at MoMo's.  The Sacramento-area Crosthwaites love to go to Giants games, but Bert couldn't make it to that game.  Instead, his sons brought a cutout that was inside Oracle Park during the 2020 pandemic season.

A cutout of Bert Crosthwaite, center, at the table with sons Ron, left, and Jim as they enjoy a pre-game meal at MoMo. The Sacramento-area Crosthwaites love to go to Giants games, but Bert couldn’t make it to that game. Instead, his sons brought a cutout that was inside Oracle Park during the 2020 pandemic season.

Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

But you can’t give Giants players free food and drink every night, and it’s not always an easy business to run when so much income is being generated during baseball season, which is the games out. residence.

“Time is a flat circle around here that revolves around when the Giants are in town and when they aren’t,” Morton said. “Every day you have to have the most competitive happy hour, you have to have dynamic pricing that works not only for people who come to the bar for a cold beer, but also for a family who wants to go to the dining room. and entertain their children a bit.

Giants fans enjoy a pre-game meal at MoMo's, a sports bar and restaurant across from Oracle Park in San Francisco on October 8, 2021.

Giants fans enjoy a pre-game meal at MoMo’s, a sports bar and restaurant across from Oracle Park in San Francisco on October 8, 2021.

Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

Morton said that even before the pandemic he established a two-pronged business model. “There is a big and big volume capitalization during the baseball season. And there’s the reduction in everything – labor, freight costs – we try to save as much as possible in the offseason.

These same strategies were used when the pandemic struck. But Morton would be remiss if he didn’t mention that MoMo received two large loans from the federal government’s paycheck protection program. MoMo’s was also fortunate to have a flexible owner. “They believe in MoMos. They believe in my wife and I as the new owners, ”he said.

San Francisco Giants fans Vic Gets, left, and Jeff Markley, center, enjoy drinks on MoMo's crowded outdoor patio on October 8, 2021, ahead of the National League Division Series opener.

San Francisco Giants fans Vic Gets, left, and Jeff Markley, center, enjoy drinks on MoMo’s crowded outdoor patio on October 8, 2021, ahead of the National League Division Series opener.

Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

Partly, that’s because Morton exudes the spirit of MoMo – great hospitality at the “hand and hand corner” when the Giants are in season. Born and raised in the Redwood City area, Morton himself has been a lifelong Giants fan. He was dizzy to talk about this year’s team and his favorite players.

“Brandon Crawford should be the MVP. He’s the best player on the best team. What about Buster Posey? “When everyone thought he was done, he jumped the shark on all of us.” Morton also praised the depth of the team with players like Thairo Estrada dressing up and not missing a beat.

(Left to Right) San Francisco Giants fan Chris Sammet chats with Los Angeles Dodgers fans Dan Cota, Steve Quinn and Henry Eshom at Momo Sports Bar and Restaurant across from Oracle Park in San Francisco on October 8, 2021.

(Left to right) San Francisco Giants fan Chris Sammet chats with Los Angeles Dodgers fans Dan Cota, Steve Quinn and Henry Eshom at Momo Sports Bar and Restaurant, across from Oracle Park in San Francisco on October 8, 2021.

Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

Now the San Francisco Giants face the Los Angeles Dodgers for the very first time in the playoffs, and fans will be crowded around the stadium. MoMo hopes to capitalize on the sure-fire boisterous crowd. “It’s going to be a fun month of October,” Morton said.

Who knows? Maybe Bonds will even make another appearance adjacent to MoMo, honking for the Giants and their fans.

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