Today Al Baker’s seems to be remembered more as a bar than as a restaurant. It stood at the northwest corner of Clayton and Brentwood, where a CVS now resides. The bar certainly did a brisk business, particularly with well-dressed patrons from Clayton. The late, great columnist Jake McCarthy described it as the business card crowd. It was a popular place to meet, especially when there was live music.
But the dining room was the owner’s pride. There was fine meat—notably a dish called hobo steak, dressed with bordelaise sauce punched up with mustard—and fresh seafood. Al Baker’s was one of the first non-Asian restaurants in town to steam fish, although the fine sauces seemed to negate any loss in calories. The restaurant had one of the longest wine lists in town, full of excellent French selections.
Al and his wife, Mary, owned Sorrento’s on DeBaliviere years ago but sold it to open the eponymously named restaurant in 1966. He was serious about service but took considerable pleasure in his customers. The restaurant closed in the early ’90s, but it’s fondly remembered—for both its food and drinks—by countless fans.