We get letters all the time, and on occasion, repost interesting ones from here. This one in with some great burger recommendations for the Bay area, with our thanks to reader Robert Schembs: (with a reminder, folks, always feel free to post your comments or “finds” on this site! )
Have just spent an enjoyable hour or so reading thru reviews on yer site. I’m a Portland-raised boy who loves burgers, sausages, pizza, grilling/smoking, and any and everything having to do w/NOLA, so you can imagine that I saw many familiar places reviewed in your blog, and now have many new places to try — thanks!
I’m currently living in the east San Francisco Bay, but have previously lived in SF and on the SF Peninsula.
Next time you are down in the SF Bay area I have some recommendations for you. I won’t say any of them are “the best” b/c your posts make it pretty clear that is a turn-off for you. Suffice it to say each of these places has stood the test of decades with fan bases that are both large and devoted. Recommendations below; happy to join in if that suits you.
In/around Palo Alto on the Peninsula:
(1) The Oasis, 241 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
Peanut shells on the floor, carved up tables and booths, tasty food, cold beer.
– Burgers definitely; fries yes; the pizza is alright
– Order/pay for food at the grill, and separately for drinks at the bar
– Cash only (I think); ATM w/in a couple blocks
– Typical burger joint beer options, including draft, bottle and can
– Handful of TVs (including on outside patio) for pro sports viewing
(2) The Alpine Inn, 3915 Alpine Road, Portola Valley
Order burger/fries, grab a pitcher or a quart at the bar, take all out to the picnic tables in the expansive back area. Hit this place in daylight; they close early i.e. at 7pm (or earlier?) on Sat/Sun.
– Burgers; fries
– Order/pay for drinks at the bar, and food at the grill
– Cash only; nearest ATM is about a 5 minute drive or 25+ minute walk
– Beers range from micro-brew on tap and in bottle, to bud light/pbr etc… on tap and in bottles and cans
– Formerly Risotti’s, and so universally known as “Zot’s” (if you need to ask anyone for directions)
One place in the east SF Bay:
(3) Emil Villa’s Original Hick’ry Pit, Walnut Creek
(Be sure it’s the one in Walnut Creek; used to be a small chain of 3-4 restaurants but all are under separate ownership now.)
Stick w/me here — this is a long-time family-owned diner type place, but they have a huge smoker in the restaurant and smoke ham, bacon, turkey, beef, ribs etc… more or less all day long. Nothing fancy, just well executed staples and smoked meats. I’d recommend the beef French Dip, anything w/smoked ham, and ribs. I’ve never ordered a burger here, but can recommend brunch, ribs and the French Dip.
Also, one thought in re Portland burger joints:
(4) Skyline Restaurant, 1313 NW Skyline Blvd (Skyline @ Cornell)
I didn’t see a review for the Skyline on your site; have you ever tried it?
Hope you get a chance to try ’em all, and that you keep on blogging!