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ISO Burgers, Fries and Shakes in SF

wineguy7 Nov 26, 2010 04:42 PM

Mrs. Wineguy is desperate to find great examples of all of the above in one place in San Francisco. Please help me satisfy her craving. Price is not a consideration. Any thoughts?

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  1. wolfe RE: wineguy7 Nov 26, 2010 04:53 PM

    Do you mean besides Mel's?

    5 Replies
    1. re: wolfe
      JasmineG RE: wolfe Nov 26, 2010 04:59 PM

      Mel's is not a great example of any of those things.

      Gott's whatever the new name of Taylor's Refresher is has great shakes, and the burgers and fries are pretty good, though not great.

      1. re: JasmineG
        wolfe RE: JasmineG Nov 26, 2010 06:15 PM

        WG said he was desperate. Desperate people can do foolish things.

        1. re: JasmineG
          wineguy7 RE: JasmineG Nov 26, 2010 07:09 PM

          I agree with you about Mel's and have always felt that Taylor's was overrated.

          1. re: wineguy7
            JasmineG RE: wineguy7 Nov 26, 2010 10:52 PM

            I'm not necessarily sure if it's overrated; the consensus from most people I know is that it's good, not great, but that it's too expensive for what it is. The fries are definitely the weakest point.

            I totally agree with the recommendation for True Burger in Oakland, their burgers are fantastic (I haven't tried their shakes).

            1. re: JasmineG
              nocharge RE: JasmineG Nov 27, 2010 12:17 AM

              Taylor's/Gott's is definitely overrated. I've never understood why people line up for mediocre food at Ferry Building prices, assembled factory style, and served in a place with the ambience of a prison cafeteria (indoors). In that part of town, I'd rather pay twice as much for a burger at Americano that is ten times better. Given that the requirement about serving shakes rules out most fancy restaurant burgers, I'd say Mo's. I'd rate their burgers about as highly as any fancy restaurant burger and they have good shakes and fries.

      2. n
        nocharge RE: wineguy7 Nov 26, 2010 05:38 PM

        Mo's in North Beach.

        2 Replies
        1. re: nocharge
          wineguy7 RE: nocharge Nov 26, 2010 07:09 PM

          I've been wanting to try Mo's. Thanks!

          1. re: wineguy7
            myst RE: wineguy7 Nov 26, 2010 07:59 PM

            I would try Barney's -- not the best hamburger, but a decent hamburger in a place with great fries and one of my favorite shakes - very thick turkish coffee shake. You can have steak fries, curly fries, thin fries, garlic fries, or fried veggies.

        2. b
          betterbeheaven RE: wineguy7 Nov 26, 2010 09:36 PM

          I know its not in SF but True Burger in Oakland, near 19th St bart, does all three quite well. Better than Taylor's/Gott's

          1. psb RE: wineguy7 Nov 27, 2010 12:46 AM

            What about PEARL BURGER?

            I havent been in a while, and the Post Street loc isnt much ambiance-wise, but I think they'd be a contender. I cant remember what the fries were like tho. Your "Value at Risk" would be small, anyway.

            ok tnx.

            1 Reply
            1. re: psb
              Violatp RE: psb Nov 27, 2010 01:35 AM

              I totally second Pearl's! The fries, sweet potato fries, and onion rings are fine, but the burgers and shakes are wonderful!

            2. theomordha RE: wineguy7 Nov 27, 2010 07:23 AM

              Bullshead, Cafe Maman and Larks Creek Inn on the Fourth Floor of Bloomingdales in SF Marketplace are notable as well.

              Bullshead Restaurant
              840 Ulloa St, San Francisco, CA 94127

              1. b
                BillSF RE: wineguy7 Nov 27, 2010 09:54 AM

                Check out Bill's Place on Clement.


                Bill's Place
                2315 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                5 Replies
                1. re: BillSF
                  wineguy7 RE: BillSF Nov 27, 2010 10:37 AM

                  Bill's has been my go-to forever. I used to go to the locations on 9th Av as well as Sloat, too. Their fries just don't hit my sweet spot. I do, however, love to get a chocolate banana shake there.

                  1. re: wineguy7
                    BillSF RE: wineguy7 Nov 27, 2010 12:30 PM

                    The Bill's Place on Clement is pretty Old School. I think it opened back in 1959. I always thought they only have one location. I'm not remembering that they have branches on 9th Ave as well as Sloat. How long ago was this that?

                    Bill's Place
                    2315 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                    1. re: BillSF
                      wolfe RE: BillSF Nov 27, 2010 01:18 PM

                      Sloat in the 70's, at least. Don't remember 9th.

                      1. re: BillSF
                        wineguy7 RE: BillSF Nov 27, 2010 01:27 PM

                        I don't remember when they closed...it has been some years. But the 9th Av one was between Irving and Judah near Milano Pizza and the Sloat Av one was in the shopping center where Lucky is located, just East of Sunset Blvd.

                      2. re: wineguy7
                        nsheth RE: wineguy7 Dec 6, 2010 01:40 AM

                        Inspired by this thread, went and checked out Bill's this weekend, not too far from my place. Definitely took me back, haven't had the burger / fries / shake meal in a while!

                        My burger was pretty good - not really comparing it to, say, Nopa, but it was good for a casual, diner-y place. They've got a number of topping options (including once with beets and pineapple). Menu says all burgers come out medium-rare, mine definitely came out cooked a bit past that, but still good.

                        Fries, eh. Very similar to In N Out's fries, not a huge fan.

                        Shakes made with Dreyer's ice cream. Served with the rest of the shake in the metal container, plenty for two.

                    2. n
                      Nopa RE: wineguy7 Nov 27, 2010 01:06 PM

                      For just burgers and fries, try Burgermeister.

                      Oh, too bad "The Hippo" isn't around anymore. For any SF old timers, you know what I'm saying....

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Nopa
                        Glencora RE: Nopa Nov 27, 2010 01:37 PM

                        Hippo Burger! My first thought was of chocolate sauce on a burger, second thought was, no impossible, but I found the menu online and there it is..the sundae burger with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and a cherry on top. And my parents actually let me order it.

                        Burger Meister has milkshakes, doesn't it?

                        1. re: Glencora
                          Nopa RE: Glencora Nov 27, 2010 02:47 PM

                          Some of my best childhood food memories are of the crazy and wonderful burgers you could get at The Hippo.

                        2. re: Nopa
                          ShopperGirl RE: Nopa Nov 27, 2010 09:14 PM

                          OMG! I miss Hippo's and Zim's. The best!!!

                        3. b
                          baseballfan RE: wineguy7 Nov 27, 2010 01:16 PM

                          We really like Burger Bar in Macys at Union Square. Not the cheapest and I know others will disagree but it is one of our favorites. I particularly like the Kobe burger and my husband is a fan of the buffalo burger. The fries are quite good as are the shakes and they have a great beer menu. We have always had excellent service as well.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: baseballfan
                            myst RE: baseballfan Nov 29, 2010 10:23 AM

                            My burger was not bad, but the shakes are $11. And if you want mayo (I don't) or dijon mustard plan on paying for it.

                          2. c
                            chuckl RE: wineguy7 Nov 27, 2010 01:37 PM

                            for burgers and fries, The Broken Record on Geneva is absolutely top notch. No milkshakes though. Nopa also makes a damn good burger.

                            560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                            Broken Record
                            1166 Geneva Ave, San Francisco, CA

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: chuckl
                              wineguy7 RE: chuckl Nov 27, 2010 01:40 PM

                              No milkshakes at The Broken Record, but they do have Four Roses on Tap!

                              Broken Record
                              1166 Geneva Ave, San Francisco, CA

                              1. re: wineguy7
                                chuckl RE: wineguy7 Nov 27, 2010 02:03 PM

                                that more than makes up for the lack of a shake, in my opinion. They have some very nice burger friendly brews on tap as well.

                                1. re: wineguy7
                                  chuckl RE: wineguy7 Nov 27, 2010 02:06 PM

                                  that more than makes up for the lack of a shake, in my opinion. They have some very nice burger friendly brews on tap as well. Pick up a shake for the Mrs at Cablecar Joes on Mission

                              2. s
                                stomsf RE: wineguy7 Nov 27, 2010 05:19 PM

                                How about Bistro Burger? I haven't been but think they are on the newish of nouveau burger scene -- and they have all of the above.

                                Bistro Burger
                                201 Mission St Ste 110, San Francisco, CA 94105

                                Bistro Burger
                                333 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94104

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: stomsf
                                  Windy RE: stomsf Nov 27, 2010 05:27 PM

                                  It's pretty awful. It's the kind of place you might like if you want a salmon burger or a veggie burger. And even then.

                                  There are lots of places with good burgers around town:
                                  Big Mouth on 24th St is my favorite, and they do have milkshakes, although I've never tried them
                                  Slow Club has the best fancy burgers in the city, and a great bar.
                                  Chow has really good burgers and shoestring fries.

                                  I think Barney's is awful too. Order a rare burger, get a raw lump of meat.

                                  Slow Club
                                  2501 Mariposa Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                  1. re: Windy
                                    Steve Green RE: Windy Nov 27, 2010 06:41 PM

                                    Bistro Burger seems unpopular on this board, but I've always liked it a lot, and IMO it's far better than Barney's. They use quality meat, have good toppings, and their fries are pretty good. Don't know how the shakes are, though, as that's not something I order these days.

                                    Since I haven't lived in the BA for some time, I haven't tried some of the newer places mentioned, but I always thought Bill's on Clement was great. As for Gott's (nee Taylor's).....meh. Same for Mo's, although I've only eaten at their Yerba Buena Center stand.

                                    I miss The Hippo.

                                    1. re: Windy
                                      myst RE: Windy Nov 29, 2010 10:20 AM

                                      Again, Barney's burger is decent not great, but I've never had a bad burger. But I don't order a rare burger unless I'm somewhere where I can see the steak being ground for me.... I would definitely put Barney's before Bistro Burger or Mel's. Bistro is just a FIDI chain for those of who don't have time to walk very far.
                                      Even then I will pass buy two Bistro Burgers and get my burger at the Irish Bank.

                                      Irish Bank Bar and Restaurant
                                      10 Mark Ln, San Francisco, CA 94108

                                    2. re: stomsf
                                      JasmineG RE: stomsf Nov 27, 2010 08:43 PM

                                      I'm with Windy, Bistro Burger is pretty bad. Gott's/Taylors is far superior and I don't think their burgers are great, but I think they're fine, especially for their class of burgers (a non waitstaff/not upscale kind of place).

                                      1. re: JasmineG
                                        nsheth RE: JasmineG Nov 27, 2010 11:54 PM

                                        Bistro Burger . . . we end up there fairly often, not because it's anything good, but because it's an adequate option for a reasonably priced burger meal for a workday lunch in the financial district. Nothing I'd ever go out of my way for nor recommend to anyone.

                                    3. s
                                      sugartoof RE: wineguy7 Nov 27, 2010 06:28 PM

                                      Burgermeister. I'm not really proud to say it, but that's probably the best burger and shake combo. Not all locations are equal though. Try Carl and Cole.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: sugartoof
                                        wineguy7 RE: sugartoof Nov 28, 2010 12:17 PM

                                        We've been to the Burgermeister at Westlake Village in Daly City twice and thought it was just OK. I've heard the one at the tunnel was better. May have to try it.

                                        1. re: wineguy7
                                          sugartoof RE: wineguy7 Nov 28, 2010 04:56 PM

                                          The Westlake version is a bit off. I've had a couple really good experiences there, but more often than not, there's something goofy happening, like lukewarm food, or they swap the buns out for what looks like the Trader Joe's wheat buns without asking. The Cole location is the same general idea, but a notch or two better.

                                      2. monku RE: wineguy7 Nov 27, 2010 06:43 PM

                                        Just an observer from afar and the OP said "Price is not a consideration".
                                        If money were no object how would Joe's Cable Car stack up?

                                        Only thing I know about the place is what I've seen on DDD and some Yelp reviews. Been meaning to try the place when visiting SF, but the prices scare me.

                                        Fresh ground chuck medium rare and Bud's ice cream shakes sounds pretty tempting.

                                        Joe's Cable Car
                                        4320 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

                                        14 Replies
                                        1. re: monku
                                          Windy RE: monku Nov 27, 2010 07:31 PM

                                          Not very well. The fries are awful. The meat may be fresh, but nothing special, served on a paper plate.

                                          Not sure how price figured into that rec. Joe's isn't going to break the bank. Or make you rush back in a hurry.

                                          1. re: Windy
                                            monku RE: Windy Nov 27, 2010 08:54 PM

                                            "Joe's isn't going to break the bank."
                                            Reading some Yelp reviews and people are complaining about spending $50 for a couple burgers, fries and shakes. For $50 it shouldn't come on paper plates.
                                            That would break my burger bank.

                                            1. re: monku
                                              Windy RE: monku Nov 27, 2010 09:20 PM

                                              That's the danger of hearsay. The prices at Joe's aren't that high.


                                              But I wasn't the one who "recommended" it.

                                              1. re: Windy
                                                monku RE: Windy Nov 27, 2010 09:33 PM

                                                "The prices at Joe's aren't that high."
                                                1/4 burger for $11 sounds a bit steep to me.

                                                1. re: Windy
                                                  Civil Bear RE: Windy Nov 28, 2010 04:50 PM

                                                  Joe' prices are ridiculous for what you get. A 1/4 pound burger on a paper plate for $11 without so much as onions or cheese, let alone fries. And there is a reason the prices for the shakes aren't listed. God forbid you should want to split an order

                                                  My one and only visit: $35 for a 6oz patty melt, small fries, a shake, tax & tip. The ketchup was free...

                                                  1. re: Civil Bear
                                                    psb RE: Civil Bear Nov 28, 2010 06:15 PM

                                                    Without stereotyping, who exactly eats at JOE CABLE CAR ... I dont get the sense people on expense accounts are eating there, and I suspect that neighborhood isnt filled with trust fund kids getting a $30 afterschool snack. Is it all tourist types reading the disservice articles/tv shows claiming they have the "best burger in SF"?

                                                    1. re: psb
                                                      sugartoof RE: psb Nov 28, 2010 08:07 PM

                                                      the pricing is untouchable, and it's long been overhyped, but the last time i picked up a take out menu, it looked like they had reduced the pricing a bit. either that, or the rest of the city has caught up to them, and it didn't seem as steep. the place was empty, and looked like it had seen better years.... but i don't recall those better years ever turning out a great burger either.

                                                      1. re: sugartoof
                                                        psb RE: sugartoof Nov 28, 2010 08:48 PM

                                                        I glanced at the current online menu ... $7 split plate charge, $15min per person, 4oz -> 6oz patty upgrade = $3 [$1.5/oz = $24/lb], 4oz -> 8oz patty upgrade = $5 [$1.25/oz = $20/lb] ... I'm kind obsessed with finding out how this place works ... is that min per person for real?

                                                        Also, can someone explain why they dont list the shake and soda (all Beverages) price on the menu? Did they discover people are highly likely to order a drink with their burger and listing the price would somehow deter this?

                                                        I cant remember if they have table service, but the menu says AutoGrat for 5 people or more, so I'm assuming tipping is standard here ... holy moley. I couldnt figure out if cheese was free or what the marginal cost for a slice of cheese was.

                                                        1. re: psb
                                                          monku RE: psb Nov 28, 2010 08:53 PM

                                                          Think cheese is $1/slice your choice of cheeses.

                                                          1. re: psb
                                                            monku RE: psb Nov 28, 2010 09:06 PM

                                                            Sure looks like $15 minimum/person....sounds a bit like they run it like a San Francisco tourist trap.
                                                            But, $15 isn't hard if you order a burger (no cheese) and who knows what any drink might cost?

                                                            1. re: psb
                                                              Civil Bear RE: psb Nov 29, 2010 09:25 AM

                                                              >>"can someone explain why they dont list the shake and soda (all Beverages) price on the menu?"

                                                              Yes, because sometimes folks order beverages without checking the price. That way Joe can hit 'em with the $7.50 tab and tell 'em they should have checked with their waitress if they had any questions.

                                                              1. re: Civil Bear
                                                                psb RE: Civil Bear Nov 29, 2010 09:51 PM

                                                                Oh the shakes are $7.50?
                                                                Do you know about the BLOGGER who was offered a bribe by one of those WE BUY YOUR GOLD JEWELRY operations to take down his analysis of how lousy their offers were? I wonder if you could stand outside CABLE CAR JOES with a sign of their beverage prices and be paid off to leave.

                                                        2. re: Civil Bear
                                                          BernalKC RE: Civil Bear Nov 29, 2010 03:03 PM

                                                          My family has gone there many times over the years, but the most recent one may have been the last. I really like their burgers. Fresh ground, good meat. Its worth paying a premium price for that. And the shakes are great.

                                                          But the paper plate service is new, and really ruins the experience. I do not understand why they'd cheap out on that. I believe they used to offer plastic plates which were not exactly high class. But paper plates? Really?

                                                          1. re: BernalKC
                                                            monku RE: BernalKC Nov 29, 2010 03:48 PM

                                                            Maybe they "cheap" out like that because they don't have a full time dishwasher.

                                                            Again, price aside....how can they not have a great burger if it's organically grown beef and freshly ground?

                                                2. bbulkow RE: wineguy7 Nov 28, 2010 12:25 PM

                                                  What about trying to talk the bartender at Nopa (or Zuni?) into making you a milkshake? I mean, it's a *bar* and they are supposed to make whatever you can describe. Blender, ice cream, bob's your uncle.

                                                  I don't think I can give you the trifecta. I don't eat enough milkshakes to have a strong opinion on that side. I do love Mo's for the other two.

                                                  560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: bbulkow
                                                    tvham RE: bbulkow Nov 28, 2010 12:50 PM

                                                    Roam on Union St. fits the bill for all three

                                                    1. re: tvham
                                                      sugartoof RE: tvham Nov 28, 2010 05:02 PM

                                                      I just tried Roam and have to disagree...the meat tasted as if it was from low end frozen supermarket patties, and the shake was more like a softy in a glass. Fries weren't much to speak of, though the sweet potato was the best of the 3 types, and passable. The food was outright bad, and looked nothing like pictures I've seen on review sites. Also, our bill somehow added up to just under what we would have paid for a quality burger at either Spruce, or Nopa.

                                                      560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                                                      1. re: sugartoof
                                                        sconover RE: sugartoof Dec 27, 2010 11:28 AM

                                                        Wow, harsh. Just ate there a couple weeks go and Roam was excellent as always (in my experience).

                                                  2. Shoefly RE: wineguy7 Dec 6, 2010 03:59 AM

                                                    Jack's Prime in San Mateo! Every Tuesday after 530pm, its $10 for a delicious burger, shoestring fries and a Double Rainbow milkshake. One of my favorites is the Ultimate Bacon - which comes with smoked applewood bacon mayo - yes, you saw it here, I said bacon mayo! If the line/wait is too long for you, you can enjoy a local Trumer Pils on tap or get it to go!

                                                    The only downer is the parking lot is way too small, so either get there early or late - otherwise you will be trolling for a space.

                                                    Other than that -- now you have a great reason to visit the Peninsula!

                                                    Jack's Prime
                                                    3723 S El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA 94403

                                                    1. h
                                                      HunterJay RE: wineguy7 Dec 6, 2010 04:06 AM

                                                      First place I thought of was Grubstake on Pine/Polk.

                                                      1. wineguy7 RE: wineguy7 May 3, 2011 03:16 PM

                                                        Mrs. Wineguy and I went to Hall of Flame for lunch yesterday at the recommendation of my doctor. (Yeah, my doctor recommends burger joints to me).

                                                        We didn't get any shakes but enjoyed the burgers and fries. My cheeseburger had pepper jack that was inconsequential. The meat (1/2 lb. Niman Ranch) was great, though and the fries were crisp and flavorful with soft interiors.

                                                        Kind of in a hidden location, and with not much atmosphere, we would definitely return. And try a shake next time.

                                                        Hall of Flame
                                                        73 Cambon Dr, San Francisco, CA 94132

                                                        1. wineguy7 RE: wineguy7 Aug 28, 2013 05:29 PM

                                                          I'd like to revive this thread. Are there any new places that would fill this request?
                                                          BTW, Mrs. Wineguy and I have been very happy going to Pearls. Good beef, good bun, good fries (regular fries ordered crispy) and good shakes (I'm partial to coffee shakes, Mrs. Wineguy likes chocolate banana). We didn't love the sweet potato fries, though.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: wineguy7
                                                            Ruth Lafler RE: wineguy7 Aug 28, 2013 06:18 PM

                                                            Pearl's was the first place that came to mind if you want both burgers and good shakes.

                                                            1. re: wineguy7
                                                              sconover RE: wineguy7 Aug 28, 2013 06:25 PM

                                                              The burger at Presidio Social Club is consistently excellent (in addition to just about everything we've had there). Great brunch place.

                                                              A step down from that, though also good (and notably better than it used to be), is the Beach Chalet in GGP. I wouldn't perhaps seek that one out, but if you're there for some reason, definitely order it.

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