our first real stop in San Francisco was at Gott’s Roadside, a micro chain with three locations (SF, Napa and St Helena). The first time I ate there, five years ago, it was still known as Taylor’s Refresher, as it had been for 50+ years and has since changed over to Gott’s Roadside, who leased the original property from the Taylor Family. This actually caused a bit of a feud/legal issue. But, feuding aside, we homed in after dropping our bags and making the mile or two walk from our hotel down to the Ferry Plaza where the only San Francisco location is housed. We arrived close to noon and we just beat the rush and walked right up to the register and by the time our food arrived a line snaked out the door-this place felt mostly populated by locals but I have found that most tourists don’t gauge their eating right and tend to eat late and hangry. We ordered and chose seats at the big communal style high top tables. Our food took a little bit to be prepared and while we waited I people watched.
A few observations. Locals here are convivial. Over the course of our visit I can’t say how many people we saw, jump up, embrace, welcome, greet and eat together. It was so refreshing to see people take time out of their day to eat, chat, have a cup of coffee. The color palate is a study of neutrals and everyone wears a scarf. Oatmeal, greige, and charcoal are the business in the general color scheme of clothing and everyone seemed to wrap their neck in a scarf. I have never seen so many coats in July no matter where I’ve been. The weather was brisk but the sun decidedly came out every day.
Our food arrived and we dug in. I had a bacon cheeseburger and Z had the Wisconsin Sourdough. I’m not sure why it would be Wisconsin in this city that has a Boudin Sourdough sandwich shop every 1/2 mile but his was a burger with roasted mushrooms and cheese all melted together. My burger was juicy and hefty and had the most delicious ‘special sauce’ sticking it together. Kind of one of those ketchupy mayo pickle type sauces. Z had an espresso bean shake, which was just, ok-not bad but not over the top either. We also ordered a side of garlic fries to split. They come out speckly green with parsley, garlic and butter. The flavor of these fries is bold bold bold. If you don’t like garlic they aren’t for you. Over the weekend Gilroy, CA (an outlier burb of SF) held it’s annual garlic festival and they were invented by this guy. They are definitely bring a friend and you should both eat them so you can share the garlic breath and have someone to check your smile before you head back out into the world.