There’s a white horse on the top of Newkirk’s Deli, which opened two days ago at 1002 Potrero street. Although it looks like a plaster of Paris statue, it’s made of fiberglass. “It weighs sixty pounds. You can sit on it!” owner Ryan Newkirk Blumenthal, who has been working for a couple months renovating the former site of the New Aux Delices Vietnamese restaurant, told me gleefully. When asked what the horse had to do with the menu, the answer was (mercifully) nothing.
Newkirk’s serves sandwiches, including a east-coast style fried egg sandwich with a custom-made Kaiser roll, big salads, ritual coffee, the sort of food that the busy staff of the San Francisco General Hospital across the street can grab as they hurry into work. Still it’s an apropos animal to adorn any establishment in the Mission, which used to be horse-mad: Stables and commercial horse liveries, and farriers, or horseshoers, abounded in the Mission District.
Was the horse a tribute to the horses of the Mission’s past? The answer is simpler than that. Blumenthal just likes horses. “I used to own one, when I was a kid, in Vermont,” he replied and then hesitated. “Well, maybe it was more of a pony.”