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Does anyone remember King Cotton [San Rafael] or The Hippo [San Francisco] ?

Any ole folks out there remember King Cotton in San Rafael or The Hippo in S F ?

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  1. I certainly remember the Hippo! Fun pictures on the wall, good burger. I'm reminded every time I go by the location. A definite loss.

    1. I remember Hippo and the giant copper hood.

      1. I remember the Hippo too, but prefer not to think of myself as "ole folks."

        1 Reply
        1. re: Rapini

          It closed in 1987, so you don't have to be all that old to remember it.

          The many-burger-variations menu has had something of a resurgence: Umami Burger, Eureka, etc.

        2. I remember Hippo. My junior high school used to go on a field trip there every a year. Hippo Burger and a play. It was the first time I'd ever tasted Béarnaise sauce. So yummy on a burger! I vividly recall one of my classmates getting a Cannibal Burger (raw) and someone else getting a hamburger sundae. Yes, with ice cream, hot fudge sauce (I think), and a pickle! I, too, think of it fondly every time I go by the location.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ubetty

            Really? My 7th grade English teacher used to take her class every year to Hippo, too! Mrs. Tremain, perhaps?

          2. I definitely remember The Hippo and, like TenderNob said, notice the location (almost) every time I drive by. What a classic fun place. Too bad it's gone with nothing anywhere to replace it that I know of.

            1. The Hippo, oh yes! I loved the Wolo murals as a kid. Still would, I guess.

              1. Ex was stationed at the Preasidio and brought the Hippo burger book into our kitchen. Something that I could see being far more fun to have served, as they were nothing special to make.

                Great imagination though.

                  1. What I loved the most was the deep fried bananas with maybe some sort of sauce, but cinnamon ice cream for sure!! I have never found them anywhere else nor been able to duplicate them myself. Old memories with my Father then with my husband and son. Ok, ya'll aren't old. Just ME.

                    1. Excellent 1998 article after the death of the founder. His son said "Everything my dad did here was so much a product of his personality. He was like a grand master, a party giver who was fun and innovative and inclusive. He was a character who loved life and people were drawn to him."


                      1. Here's the largest version of their menu I've been able to find.


                        4 Replies
                          1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                            Great find. The Liberationburger, lol! The owner had a great sense of humor. I also like the quote and link you provided about the owner. Thanks for sharing.

                            1. re: ubetty

                              I wonder if the Liberationburger was available in a Symbionese version...

                            2. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                              wow - the cannibal burger is something i've always wished places would serve

                            3. Oh my gosh on the $. Unreal! How'd you get the menu? Kool. You must remember Mels Drive Ins also? I worked at one in S F for a short time, I remember where, but cant recall enough to say which one. I came from Marin on 19th Ave and turned left where youd turn right to get to the beach, right at the end of the park.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: PhyllisSchultzBiggs

                                If you mean the one on Geary that opened in the 80s, It's still there. If you mean the one that was in American Graffiti, that was torn down in 1976.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  Neither of those.....I'm refering to the mid 60's but it wasn't the round one, which I think was in the movie. I am from San Rafael where a lot of the movie was filmed along with Petaluma. I remember when they closed 4th St. down to film. I now live in Ok!ahoma, after living in Minnesota for several years. Oh but I miss California SO much.

                              2. I think the first restaurant meal I had after I moved to SF was at the Hippo. Fond memories...

                                1. here is the matchbook from the Hippo

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: gordon wing

                                    Oh for kool. How'd you find that? Thank You!

                                    1. re: PhyllisSchultzBiggs

                                      I took some pictures of some of my more interesting SF matchbooks a few years back ...... fortunately for this discussion - the Hippo made the cut.

                                      1. re: gordon wing

                                        How cleaver of you! I think I lost all mine (match books) in first divorce. How dumb not to have taken a pic of all I left behind when I made my escape!

                                  2. I first went to the Hippo in the mid to late 60's. I fondly remember the Wolo murals. Thanks for the memories.

                                    1. My parents both grew up in San Rafael and King Cotton was the hang out for them. I still hear King Cotton stories...i used to grow tired of them (the stories, not my parents), but now that my parents are "getting up there" in age, i truly appreciate the stories more and more.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Ptowner

                                        I have lived in SF since 1972. I knew the Hippo, but have never heard of King Cotton. Where was it located? What kind of food did it serve?

                                      2. Omg, The Hippo is one of the few things I definitely remember about my childhood in California! Hands down the best burgers I ever had in my life!