2315 Clement Street/24th
at Trad'r Sam's
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.