A long-time Goat Hill Pizza employee recently saved the restaurant’s iconic goat hoofprints from destruction.
In early August, a San Francisco Department of Public Works crew began jackhammering the sidewalk outside Goat Hill Pizza on 18th and Connecticut streets to prepare to put in a new path. Embedded in the walkway were goat hoofprints dating from around 1920. Manuel Dzib, an 18-year Goat Hill employee and current head chef, darted out of the restaurant to stop the crew from destroying the hoofprints.
“They didn’t tell us they were going to pull up the sidewalk,” Dzib told the View. “One morning I was at the restaurant as usual and the construction crew had already painted lines on the sidewalk.”
Dzib asked the DPW workers if they planned to tear up everything, including the hoofprints; they replied in the affirmative. He told them about the hoofprint’s history; the crew cut them out and set them aside while they continued replacing the sidewalk. After they finished, the workers reinserted the hoofprints, pouring new concrete.
“The hoofprints are important just like history is important,” Goat Hill Pizza co-owner Philip De Andrade said. “It takes you back to your roots.”
When De Andrade and his co-owners founded the restaurant in 1975 they heard that Italian-Americans used to raise goats on the Hill, and decided to name their eatery Goat Hill Pizza. In the 1990s, Hill resident Rosemarie Ostler noticed there were three sets of goat hoofprints by steps being rebuilt at the Victorian Mews on Carolina and 19th streets. Ostler thought the hoofprints were from the 1920s because another resident told her that the imprints were from her pet goat, which roamed the area during that period. The developer gave Ostler one of the sets, which she displayed on her front porch until 2011, when she gifted them to Goat Hill Pizza, in honor of the restaurant’s mascot.
In 1975, the pizzeria purchased a goat from a Sonoma farm. In 1979, that goat became the restaurant’s official mascot after a naming contest. A 10-year-old girl won with her submission of “Goat Hilda de Anchovy.” Later, Hilda gave birth to Loretta and Bucky. From 1975 to 1985, the small family grazed in the rocky pasture behind the eatery. In 1985, the pizzeria built a rear dining room on top of the empty lot. The goats were relocated to Sonoma State Hospital, where they became amateur mascot therapists.
“I don’t want to give false importance to the hoofprints, but it’s always been an interest of people to follow the history and trace back the origin,” De Andrade said. “It gives a special and unique character to Goat Hill Pizza by being able to tie to the history.”
“History is important; almost 20 years I’ve been in this area and it has changed a lot,” said Dzib. “I started when I was maybe 19 years old, and it all has changed.” But through all that, the neighborhood, and Goat Hill Pizza in particular, has been like a family for Dzib, he said.
While walking her terrier, Gloria, Leah Grant also noticed the jackhammering and worried about the hoofprints. A restaurant employee assured her that they’d been saved.
“They have a bronze plaque at the restaurant about the hoofprints so they’re important,” she said. “I’m really happy the hoofprints are back where they belong.”