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.