Q&A with Rosamunde’s Josh Margolis

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Josh MargolisNext month, the Mission outpost of sausage and craft beer emporium Rosamunde Sausage Grill marks its third birthday. Partner-owner Josh Margolis shared some meaty updates with Bay Area Bites recently: plans for an East Bay Rosamunde location are in the works.

His longtime passion has been to open a beer restaurant, and he first came to San Francisco and worked at Postrio in 1990. The UC San Diego and Culinary Institute graduate is from Los Angeles, and gravitates to Saison and Belgian beer: “Duvel in the bottle is one of my go-to drinks.”

Margolis lives in the Bayview with his husband Raymond Lobato, who is a graphic designer, DJ, artist, and feng shui artist. The two have also lived in the Mission and Noe Valley. “We met in college and have been together 25 years... he DJs here on Friday nights. He did all the artwork. We've been married four times. In 1991, we became domestic partners. Then we did a ceremony in 2000. 2004 was the best one. We saw Gavin Newsom on the news. Then we got in line and we’re probably 80th or 90th in line at City Hall. The place was on fire! The energy and ceremonies were happening every 5 minutes. It was just the two of us, and we saw our old next-door neighbors. They took pics--via cell phone--and became our witnesses.”

How did you open Rosamunde? Any chance of bringing the Tuesday Rosamunde burger to the Mission?
I partnered with Jennifer Tucci to open the Mission one. We’ve decided to keep the Rosamunde burger at the Haight only. There is a steak sandwich now every day in the Mission. We started the steak sandwich in the summer, as well as a mushroom sandwich. Our vegetarian orders are significant, and we are one of the biggest destinations for veggie diners in the city.

Lady Gaga visited in August 2010. Do you get Gaga fans trying to see where Lady Gaga hung out?
People still ask about it. It was around three in the afternoon, and only a few people were around. She came in with her boyfriend and bodyguard and was wearing a red leotard outfit. She said to the bartender Claire, “I'm Gaga” and Claire told her, “I’m Claire.” Then Claire came into the office to look her up online. Gaga hung out, drank several glasses of white wine, and stayed for two to three hours. Apparently she was on her way from San Jose to dinner in the city. She wanted Mexican, and a friend told her to go to the Mission. She saw the sign for sausages, and decided to go to Rosamunde instead.


Raymond Lobato, Josh Margolis, Jennifer Tucci - Rosamunde
Raymond Lobato, Josh Margolis, Jennifer Tucci - Rosamunde First Year

What’s new at the restaurant?
We’re getting ready for our 3rd anniversary on January 18. There’ll be a party of some sort. Then, there’s SF Beer Week February 10-19. We’ll host some breweries and also have a beer drinking & sausage-eating contest that will be something classy. Teams of two will compete together. Rosamunde will choose the sausages cut in 1/2 while each team will choose a unique beer. Eat as many 1/2 sausage as you can with as much beer as you need to get it down in 15 minutes. The winner gets $100 in Rosamunde gift certificates. Everyone gets $1 off the winner’s beer choice the rest of the day or $2 for the beer choice with winner’s sausage choice. All contestants get a Rosamunde T-Shirt. Team signup begins January 25th at the Mission Street location.

What are your favorite spots to shop for food?
Rainbow is my standard go to for dairy, pantry, vinegars, oils and sauces.

Sun Fat Fish Market is the cleanest, nicest of all old time seafood shops. Since November 15, I’ve been visiting them every day. I’ve been eating a lot of crab.

On Saturdays, I go to the Alemany Farmers’ Market.

I also like the European Market on Clement. They have whole walls of refrigerated cured meats, salami, sausage, and things like that. They also bring in really good German bread. It’s frozen and they bake it off. That’s the only place in town you can get that. They cure and smoke own fish, salmon, white fish, herring.

Where are your favorite date spots?
Besides home?... We drive down to Santa Cruz and make a day of it. We usually take our bikes and ride on the north side of Santa Cruz. It’s such a beautiful place and one of the best times to go is not summer. On the way, our favorite lunch spot is Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay. I like both their red and white chowder, and fish and chips.

What is your favorite meal to have with your family?
I’m pretty famous for not cooking the same thing twice. Ever. Restaurants and farmers’ markets constantly inspire me. We may have pizza once a week at home, but I’ll never make the same pizza twice.

Do you have plans for the holidays?
Kathleen is my friend from San Diego. Together we make “Turkey Prince Edward”: take the skin off a turkey, and completely debone it. Lay the meat down on the turkey skin so that you basically make a roulade. You can do Turkey Prince Edward with two turkeys, rolled and stuffed with prunes, port and chestnut. Kathleen fed us when we were opening the new place (Mission Rosamunde).

Turkey Prince Edward
"Turkey Prince Edward"

What’s your guiltiest food pleasure?
Which one should I choose? The burrito mojado al pastor at Taqueria Cancun is a huge, swimming in sauce delicious meat thing that you pay for later. Then there are super nachos, but I don’t treat myself to that anymore.