Perry Butler


It was initially the San Francisco Giants that brought restaurateur Perry Butler, a native of New York’s Westchester County and a childhood fan of the team when they played for the Empire State, out West.

“I got a summer job in San Francisco in the early 1960s, because I wanted to come out and see the Giants play,” Butler recalls. “I just fell in love with the city.”

In 1969, Butler, then a 26-year-old advertising executive with energy and ideas to spare, set out to follow his dream of opening his own restaurant. Freshly relocated to San Francisco, and compelled to recreate the hustle and bustle of the New York neighborhood saloons that he missed, he opened Perry’s on Union Street. Perry’s opened amidst the heyday of San Francisco’s hippie scene, Berkeley’s People’s Park protests, the first man to walk on the moon, Richard Nixon’s presidency and the Vietnam War. The restaurant was an instant success, and soon became one of the city’s most popular gathering spots. Little did Butler know that in a relatively short period of time, Perry’s would become a San Francisco landmark.

For more than 40 years, Perry’s has thrived, maintaining its fresh, personable approach to the service of high quality food and drink – no small feat considering the ever-changing tide of the San Francisco dining scene.

Perry’s has inspired several spin-offs, including Perry’s on the Embarcadero, which opened in October 2008 and Perry’s at SF Design Center – Potrero Hill, which opened in May 2010.

A licensed version of Perry’s opened at San Francisco International Airport in 2005, and the restaurant has since become the airport’s top-grossing restaurant ever. Butler also owned a Perry’s in Marin from 1982 until 1989 and Perry’s Downtown in the city’s Financial District from 1995 until 2008.

Another longtime project of Butler’s is Union Street Catering, which serves as the catering arm for the San Francisco 49ers and provides services for corporate events, weddings and more.

Butler took over the lease of the former Prego location in 2005, and in 2006 partnered with Bacchus Management Group to create Café Des Amis. Butler serves as a co-owner of Café des Amis with Tim Stannard and executive chef Gordon Drysdale of Bacchus Management Group.

Butler is confident that Café Des Amis will bring a new flavor to the ever-popular Cow Hollow neighborhood. “No one else is doing true brasserie fare here in the city, and we hope to create an honest, straightforward place and that will become a neighborhood classic.”

Butler lives in Larkspur with his wife Jo, and has five children and a beloved Lab named Henry. He addresses every employee at Perry’s by name – and still roots for the Giants.


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