When someone offers to drive their truck up to your front door, and make you a burger, it's a hard thing to refuse. Which is why I found myself running from my office in Union Square out into the rain yesterday to have lunch in the back of a truck. Fivetenburger—remarkably, the first burger truck to land in SF—parked in front of Hermès and let a few lucky editors climb on board to get burgers with the works.
Owner-cook Roland Robles—who made a mean burger at Bar Johnny, so they say—is a beefy (I crack myself up), dreadlocked, tatted-up guy. He threw a few grass-fed beef patties on the griddle, took our orders for cheese (I got Cheddar) and fried us up some burgers cooked perfectly to the medium-rare I'd requested.
These are classic American burgers, with buns custom made by North Beach Bakery that are soft enough to kind of mesh with the rest of the ingredients (your standard works: pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion). Though the pickles are homemade, there's nothing else fancy going on, barring the fact that you can choose from natural grain fed beef from Golden Gate Meats Co. or Eel River Ranch 100 percent grass-fed organic meat. It's refreshing to have a burger that's just a burger. Nothing was grilled over grapevines, the cheese came in a square and the ketchup wasn't made with heirloom tomatoes by magical gnomes. You can add a cage-free egg or Applewood bacon on top—standard choices by today's practices. It's all wrapped up in paper and topped with fries that are tossed in garlic oil, a slightly less assaulting touch than the Gilroy Garlic fries you can smell before you even enter the ballpark.
Although there are a few other items on the menu, Robles is clearly a patty man. The truck, which has been based solely in the East Bay, launched today at Off the Grid at the Civic Center.