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Burgers in SF

Flickr photo

After a chill after­noon at Chi­na Beach, we checked out some burg­ers at Bill's Place, which made me think about all of the good burg­ers to be found in San Fran­cis­co:

  • Bill's Place (pic­tured) grinds its own, and names its burg­er plat­ters after local celebri­ties. Extra cred­it for the chan­de­liers and non-mayo cole slaw. On the down­side, it's unjus­ti­fi­ably pricey. $10 for a burg­er? Maybe at Zuni, but it seems weird to pay this much at a din­er.
  • If you're inter­est­ed in din­er-style ambiance more than good-tast­ing burg­ers, you can check out Joe's Cable Car. I real­ly wish that the burg­ers tast­ed good there, but the real­i­ty is that they don't.
  • For fake retro ambiance, high tourist quo­tient and real­ly mediocre burg­ers, Mel's is your place. There are at least three very uncon­ve­nient Mel's loca­tions, if you're Mis­sion/Low­er-Haight based.
  • Slow Club has (or used to have) a good yup­pie burg­er — sprouts and fan­cy aioli, on some kind of Euro roll. Being from the Mid­west, I dis­like froofy inter­pre­ta­tions of burg­ers, but in weak­er moments I have been known to order this burg­er. And enjoy it.
  • Speak­ing of froofy, Zuni serves a burg­er amidst its gen­er­al­ly tasty Cali cui­sine. In 1996-ish, I could not bring myself to admit that it was good; in 2005, I can.
  • On cold nights, Zeit­geist can ring your chimes with a good char-burg­er. On warm, busy nights, expect extra char.
  • Burg­er­Meis­ter and Burg­er Joint are all about hap­py cows (Niman Ranch beef), ster­ile, flu­o­res­cent-lit din­ing rooms (creepy) and, in the end, sim­i­lar burg­ers. Hip­sters split hairs about which is bet­ter. I call it a tie. (But the Meis­er has Mitchell's ice cream.)
  • I'm a recent con­vert to the virtues of Big Mouth in the Mis­sion. Qual­i­ty con­trol is in full effect on both fries and burg­ers, plus greasy-spoon atmos­phere dis­tin­guish­es it from the ster­ile envi­rons of the BJs and BMs of the world.
  • Every­one talks about Barney's Gourmet Ham­burg­ers but I per­son­al­ly don't see what the fuss is about. It's not that I dis­like white peo­ple, but it annoys me that the own­ers avoid all but the whitest of white neigh­bor­hoods — North Berke­ley, North Oak­land, Noe Val­ley. Dude, next stop: Mill Val­ley.

    There are lots more. I'll update soon.