Many of the Fisherman's Wharf restaurants are named after the family that has operated the establishment for generations. It is part of the charm of the Wharf, where the heritage of the Italian fishermen continues to this day.
Cioppino's continues that tradition. Almost. We are third generation native San Franciscans who take great pride in both our city and our restaurant. The only difference between us and many of the other family-run restaurants at Fisherman's Wharf is that our family name is not Cioppino. We would have used our family name, but we were forced to admit it simply does not look good in lights.
So we settled on Cioppino's, which is what we do best. Cioppino is a lusty and flavorful seafood soup which is uniquely San Franciscan. The origin of both the dish and the name came from the Italian fishermen in the early 1900's, when Fisherman's Wharf was still called Meigg's Wharf. Someone would make the rounds of the moored fishing boats, calling out for for contributions to a common, festive stew. One fisherman would toss a nice, fat fish into the bucket, another would drop in a succulent Dungeness crab, another some herbs and vegetables. The cry that prompted each contribution was :Chip In!, Chip In!". But coming from an Italian throat, this American slang had to end in a vowel. And the "in" was, of course "een". So "Chip-een-o" was born.
It's been 100 years, but the Italian fishermen are still here, and so is Cioppino, which is our signature dish. Our Cioppino is so good we named our restaurant after it.