Review featured in Burger Blurb. â€˜Twas a few days before Christmas and what was that sound? My stomach was rumbling, but there was no food to be found. Something juicy and tender, I had burger on the mind. All signs pointed to Bill’s Place, jackpot! What a find! I know, Santa and all that have come and gone, but I couldn’t let the new year start without sharing this gem of a burger joint I discovered late one hungry, tired night before heading home for the holidays. We stepped through the door and pretty much entered Santa’s burger joint, location: The North Pole. Decked out in garlands, wreaths, icicle lights, reindeer, and a tree with all the trimmings, Bill’s Place has it in with the jolly fat man. While the decorations may be seasonal, the chandeliers dripping with crystals are perennial, and lend a lovely unexpected old-time glamour to this burgers and shakes diner. Giddy with excitement, we sat down and ordered from the menu of 1/3 lb+ burgers.
Since 1959, Bill’s Place personally selects and grinds choice center cut chuck daily. All of their hamburgers are medium rare unless otherwise specified, served with lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayo, and a choice of fries, potato salad, or coleslaw.
We selected from the listing of Celebrity Burgers, named after local sweethearts...like Carol Doda, who introduced topless dancing to the city. This special features two patties, served side by side, each topped with an olive. Cute.
The Works is a popular order – a gorgeous cheeseburger with bacon, avocado, grilled mushrooms, and alfalfa sprouts piled on top of a French roll.
Bill’s fresh cut their own French fries, but we saw the curly fries and onion rings and opted to substitute for the $1.75. Worth it! The curly fries are well seasoned, and not a soggy one in the bunch.
And the Onion Rings! I don’t say this lightly, but these are the best onion rings I’ve had yet in SF. Bite through the crunchy, soul-satisfying, golden fried crust of these huge rings, and sink your teeth into sweet, soft onion. These babies put many an onion ring to shame.
They grace the plate of the Chantastic. Named after CBS Channel 5 TV personality Lisa Chan, this cheeseburger is topped with two heavenly onion rings, grilled beets and pineapple, and coleslaw on the side.
This strange mix of sweetness is something I would normally not choose for my burger, but something in me was drawn to it. Once I took a bite, I was hooked. The beets reminded me of a great Aussie burger I once had at the Sunburnt Cow with beets and a fried egg on top, and the pineapple surprisingly worked beautifully with the flavor combination. Bill’s got it just right by grilling the fruit so that it was just mildly sweet (not syrupy from the can), and melted in with the other ingredients. The Coleslaw was another pleasant surprise. Made with a vinaigrette rather than mayonnaise, it added just the right amount of tang and light crunch to the mix.
The 49er Burger, topped with creamy, cool, ripe avocado and crispy bacon, really let the high quality meat shine through.
In the end, that is what a truly spectacular burger joint must be founded on: the Meat! Bill’s has perfected its signature grind. No crazy seasonings to distract from the complex enough flavor of really good beef. No tricks, no short cuts. Just amazing meat with a melt-in-your mouth fat percentage.
A burger like this makes it feel like Christmas every day.
2315 Clement Street
(between 24th Ave & 25th Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94121
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