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Bill's Place lost a Burger Trial
versus Joe's Cable Car

Bill's Place
2315 Clement Street/24th Ave., SF
Map This Restaurant

Pretrial hearing at Trad'r Sam's
4/30/02

 

Turner

Bill's Place, out front.Top-flight burger. TOP...FLIGHT...BURGER. Heretofore, I thought Joe's Cable Car had no serious competition for best damn burger in the world. But here come's Bill's Place. Well, they came around 1942 or something, but being tucked away in the corner of the Richmond District makes them a little hard to find. The Füd Court will not falter in its quest, however, and thanks to City CarShare, we were able to make the trek to this holy temple of burger delights.

Like Joe, Bill grinds his own chuck (choice center cut) fresh daily. This is the key! The meat is fresh, juicy, flavorful, and bordering on "fluffy" compared to your standard frozen patty. I believe this freshly ground patty is what makes Bill's and Joe's burgers so freaking good.

As I'm still relatively young, I threw caution to the wind and ordered the Giants burger ($7.50), which was a special. That was a heart-shaking combo of a 1/3-pound patty (as they all are), bacon, cheddar cheese, and avocado. They all come with lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo. I added grilled onions (free). And, unlike Joe's Cable Car, they come with fries, which is the way it should be. Joe really should reconsider this policy, because you need fries and it just jacks the price up at Joe's. In fact, if Bill's Place beats Joe's Cable Car, it's in the value department.

That said, the fries are fresh-cut, and let me be the first to say that "fresh-cut" fries are not necessarily the best. Sure, they've got that stronger potato flavor, but then they tend to be more soggy than, whatever, frozen. It seems all fresh-cut fries are cut like big logs instead of shoestrings, and they just don't get crispy. But, the fries were pretty good, and at least they throw them in with the burger.

The burger itself was superb. The aforementioned fresh-ground patty was juicy and flavorful, all piled up with generous helpings of cheddar, thick bacon, and ripe avo. Pretty damn near perfect. Sesame seed bun that held up nicely to the mound of goodness. Hit me!!!

I don't know if I was waxing nostalgic for Joe's, but it seemed this patty was just SLIGHTLY less flavorful. Just slightly. Still, it's definitely at least the second best burger I've ever had, and quite possibly tied for first place. And with that, I bestow the coveted five corn dog rating upon Bill's Place. If you truly love a good burger, you prefer north SF to south, and don't want to pay Joe's premium prices, Bill's Place is your destination.

 

Vardigan

Bill's Place had a lot riding on it. Not only was this our first-ever CarShare expedition (see photo), but it was our first burger judgment in some time. Expectations ran high. And, of course, it's way the hell out there.

But Bill -- or, the current proprietor, who's not a man and whose name is not Bill -- delivered in avenue-erasing fashion. This burger is worth the trip. I ordered the Al "Jazz Beaux" Collins Burger (don't ask me), a bacon cheeseburger on a french roll ($6.70). I couldn't put the thing down. Fresh, fresh beef, just a bit pink, on a top-notch roll. Fries come with it. Fresh-cut, and just fine, but not superlative like the burger. We also had some onion rings that were pretty good but nothing to write your senator about. Oh, and don't pass up the complimentary grilled onions, which not only top off a burger quite nicely but are a treat on their own.

Throw in a very thick strawberry shake ($3.35) -- which is more like two shakes with the accompanying tin -- and you've got a very stuffed judge. Even after I clutzed most of the shake tin's contents all over the table, I was too full to finish everything.

Cable Car Joe would charge you a monkey and a goose for all this food (especially with the fixin's), but that being said, I still can't quite say I like Bill's better. But I'm not saying I won't one day. Hey Joe, meet the competition. Name's Bill.

 

McClure

Why are all the tastiest burger shacks located off the beaten path? I guess they want you to really want 'em. Bill's Place is in the Richmond -- mid-Richmond, if there is such an area -- mid-20s of the avenues. If a trek is what it takes for you to get out there, get going.

Bill, or whoever the guy at the grill was, does the burger right. They grind choice center cut chuck daily for one moist, light, downy, full-flavored burger (not as much flavor as Joe's Cable Car but it's not worth harping on). I went for a BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger off the "specials" menu (around 7 or 8 bucks). The bun was soft and fresh, the bacon crispy, the onions grilled, the sauce tangy/not too sweet and the cheese, well, was cheese -- gotta have the cheese. I upgraded to curly fries for an extra $1.25 -- as yummy a curly fry as I've had the pleasure of snacking on. We shared a plate of onion rings (no idea how much they were) for an appetizer and they were done up so very nicely, crispy golden fried, with dippin' sauces of ketchup and mustard.

I washed it all down with a cold frosty banana milkshake($3.75), real ice-cream and real bananas and lots of it -- a full glass with another waiting in the silver mixing cup. The shake was a little thin for my liking but with the way Judge Vardigan poured a third of his on the table I know they can make 'em thick. Actually the shakes are worth a trip to Bill's -- another favorite of mine is the peanut butter with chocolate ice cream shake.

They have a full list of crazy named specialty burgers like the Red Skelton -- looks like a clown and the Jack Shelton Burger, what fun. They also serve up the sandwiches, the chicken breast "burgers," and hot dogs. If it's a nice afternoon you can enjoy your meal out on the back patio if you like. Our waitress for the evening was friendly and quite a card but did what needed to be done: brought us the burgers.

So, git git git going, find a way to Clement Street, jump on the 38 Geary, ask Judge Turner about City CarShare, or git in your car and drive to Bill's Place. Open Fridays and Saturdays until 11 PM.

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