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More Sad News - Cliff BBQ Closed

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After too much procrastination, I finally went over to Cliff's BBQ on Bayshore for the baby back ribs (highly recommended on this site), only to find Cliff cleaning out the place. The building was sold and will be torn down for Condos. Cliff is retiring and seemed very sad to be doing so. What a drag.

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  1. Definitely too bad. I've only been there a couple of times because it's way off my "main route", but the ribs (and hushpuppies) were great and the whole place the real thing.

      1. Wow - how sad. My favorite BBQ in SF. The best by a long shot.

        1. Personally it makes little difference to me ..the 3 times I went, the food was very disappointing..tough and quite flavorless...I won't be sad to see it go..but I am saddened for those to whom Cliff did appeal ...

          2 Replies
          1. re: ChowFun_derek

            Wow, Cliff's and flavorless in the same thought? I didn't even think that was possible! I have gone there countless times, and though I have come across a tough sparerib or two, I have never encountered anything that could be considered flavorless.

            I have to ask, what did you try. To be honest, I have only had the BBQ and the regular sides (greens & beans). Their rub is (er, was) the best in the bay and full of flavor, IMHO. I also liked their thin savory sauce, but only used it sparingly as to not intrude on the rub.

            1. re: Civil Bear

              Ribs..for certain...pork for certain and if they have beef... I think they did...I tried them as well...didn't care for the sauce and IMO bbq shouldn't need any....they were tough...almost 'old'..quite dry..stringy ..but each time someone spoke highly of them...out I would troop.. watching the new 3rd st. Muni line progress..I just dumped the platter mostly uneaten the last time I was there...their sides were for me forgettable (and in fact I have forgotten them)...even the cake didn't speak to me...flavor...sweet....sorry...this was just MY experience...

          2. I discovered this tonight myself, when I called to place an order and got a recording saying the phone was disconnected. Damn. Damndamndamn. DAMN. I thought Cliff's pork ribs were among the best in town, and his sauce rocked. The hushpuppies were exactly what a hushpuppy should be, crunchy and light, not greasy. (OK, maybe *light* is not exactly the right description for a hushpuppy.) And on when they had it on weekends, the gumbo was not to be missed. Big ol' crab claws and hunks of chicken and sausage with peppers and veggies--MMMMMmmmmm. I'm about to start crying just thinking about it.

            Just doesn't seem fair--the man endures the never-ending construction of the 3rd street light rail, and just as it's just about done and he can start making some decent money again (one hopes), the rug is pulled out from under him.

            So what does that leave us within SF proper? Is there a new barbecue place in waiting, ready to ascend the throne? Don't give me Brother-in-laws or Big Nate's--they're OK but just leave me wanting. And Memphis Minnie's is hit or miss--I've had some good ribs there, and I've had some pretty dry ones. And the last time I went out to Leon's out by the zoo, it was pretty sad. I'm not sure it's even still open. Oh, for the good ol' days of Do City BBQ on Divis.

            Hope Cliff enjoys his retirement--he earned it. That man knew how to cook meat. Cliff's was the s***.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jimmyhoffa

              Sad news indeed. The ribs were quite good most of the time - I've never found a BBQ joint with real consistency. The one time I tried the beef brisket, it was dry and tough. Best wishes to Cliff.

            2. I always thought that Cliff's fried foods were good. He had a different fry mix for each item - chicken, oysters, catfish, okra, etc.

              Rather sad that he's forced to close due to development. The neighborhood loses character, they'll probably add chain restaurants or a starbucks on the corner.