We Wanna Be Friends With: Hat King Ben Goorin
Our city is chock-full of interesting people and wild personalities. Overwhelmed by the coolness? Every week we'll pick one standout local we'd love to be friends with to answer seven essential questions about their life in San Francisco.
Ben's great grandfather, Cassel, was a major BAMF. He was the original Goorin hat maker, and sold custom hats off the back of his horse on the streets of Pittsburgh in the last 1800s. Later in 1921 his sons Alfred and Ted took over the business (and added the "Bros.") and in 1949 moved the company's HQ to First and Mission in SF. After being named the "official headwear" for the VIII Olympics in 1960, the hat company laid low for a while, until fourth generation Ben Goorin saw a fabulous opportunity to make his mark on the Goorin legacy.
Along with reintroducing signature styles from the archives with modern twists, Ben also brought back the concept of a "neighborhood hat shop." Instead of just selling their wares in other stores, Goorin Bros. opened up their first brick-and-mortar shop in SF, they've now expanded across the US and Canada. Just like a community barbershop, Ben is making the Goorin Bros. store feel like community fixtures, full of vintage details and awesome sales people.
Each shop reflects the community where it's located, and we have it on good authority the North Beach location was built over a speakeasy, which can now be accessed through the basement of the store!
Thanks Ben for taking a minute to answer our We Wanna Be Friends With Q&A!
1. What neighborhood do you currently call home? Would you ever move or are you happy in your 'hood?
I live in Noe Valley with my wife and three kids, and love it. There are so many great neighborhoods in this city. Russian Hill or North Beach are on my list to live in some day.
2. What's your hands-down, absolute favorite thing to eat in SF?
I have been going to the Sub Center in West Portal since I was a kid. There is nothing better. Although the pot-stickers at Hunan Homes in Chinatown are pretty amazing.
3. What's your perfect night on the town?
AT&T Park at a SF Giants play-off game with my wife and kids.
4. When you need a low-key afternoon, where do you go for down time
24th Street is our go-to spot. Eat, walk, then coffee.
5. What's your favorite place to go on a day trip from the city?
We love going to Napa and Carmel.
6. Quick-fire round:
Burrito or Burger?
Presidio or Golden Gate Park?
Golden Gate Park.
BiRite or Mitchell's?
Bike or MUNI?
Fort Mason or Dolores Park?
The Independent or the Fillmore?
Baker Beach or Ocean Beach?
7. Three words that describe your life in SF?
My past, my present, my future.
Want More Goorin?