Nick Hoppe was
born into poverty in 1954 in San Francisco. His father was an aspiring
novelist who moonlighted as a newspaper columnist for the local rag. His
mother was a homemaker, who claimed cleaning up after Nick left her no
time for any other job. Food was always scarce, but the family managed to
survive, thanks to Nick agreeing to go to public schools. He graduated
from Lowell High School in 1972, and promised to support his family by
skipping college and going right to the NBA, like Kobe Bryant did a few
That didn’t work, so he
tried college and graduated from UC Berkeley in 1976.
He also managed to get married in 1974, between classes. He was
only 21, and she was only 19, and she wasn’t even pregnant. But she was
Canadian and needed a green card.
Still looking to support his parents
and growing family, Nick opened his own retail stores and restaurants in
San Francisco, eventually expanding over the years throughout California, allowing him to have
all the food he ever wanted. He faithfully repaid his parents for their
struggles, offering them 20% off on any meals at his restaurants, as long
as they came in for the “Early Bird Special” between 4 and 6. They
declined his generous offer.
He also found the time
to attend law school, graduating from the University of San Francisco in
1985. When he passed the professional ethics exam, he decided he wasn’t
cut out to be a lawyer, so he never took the California bar. His Juris
Doctor degree in hand, he went back to running his business. Despite his
urging, no one would call him Dr. Hoppe.
Nick and the Canadian were
married for 12 years, had two daughters, and then there was that little
diversion when Nick married another woman for seven years, and had two sons.
Then in 1997 Nick married the Canadian again. So basically they’ve been
happily married, off and on, for the last 40 something years---a typical American
They live on the waterfront in
Strawberry in Marin County, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San
Francisco. Nick’s hobbies
include tennis, golf and never getting divorced again.