It's Fall. And with Fall, restaurant openings go haywire. Charles Phan's Wo Hing General Store, three new BBQ/Southern-inspired restaurants (in the Mission and the Marina) and the first of three Bay Area Umami Burgers should be opening in the next few months. And that's just off the top of my head. With soft-opening this, and grand opening that, firing off left and right, sometimes it's nice—necessary, even—to step back and relish the gems that've been sitting here, right underneath our noses, for years: the Chez Papas, Canteens, and Outerlands of our city. This post is dedicated to the San Francisco fixtures that haven't just survived for three, five, maybe even 20 years, in our cutthroat restaurant-scape; they've flourished. And you better believe they've got something good in the works for the next few months.
15 Romolo lets you eat its burger "yo mama style" with peanut butter and bacon. Heirloom Cafe tops its off-menu beauty with pungent Epoisses cheese. Chef Bruce Hill hand-designed a burger weight to evenly cook the patties at Bix. Hayes Valley's Straw serves its ground beef mounded on a donut. As any of these restaurants will tell you, when it comes to surviving the stiff burger competition in SF, you've gotta have an angle.
I just got back from a trip to LA—a city I wish I could somehow fuse with San Francisco to make what might be a perfect city. To this city I'd like to add LA's warm weather, amazing ethnic eats, al fresco dining culture (see: warm weather) and real respect for salads and burgers.
I feel a burger wave coming to SF (the new Super Duper in the Castro—which I have yet to try—will definitely be followed up with other all-burger spots), but LA has long been known for their burger culture. I'd been highly advised to try out the newish Umami Burger in LA of which there are a few outposts. So on a sunny Saturday, I stopped by the Santa Monica location with my family to try out pretty much every burger on the short menu.