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Local Food Writers on Their Favorite Burgers and Fries

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Chris Kronner holding a Kronnerburger. [Photo: Facebook]

After conducting extended interviews with Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer and A Hamburger Today's lead SF blogger, Wes Rowe, we wanted to round out Burger Week with the favorite burgers and fries of a few other local food-writing luminaries from our Eater panel. Here are their favorite local takes on the iconic duo, in their own words. (And in case you haven't read the interviews, Bauer's favorite burger and fries are at Marlowe and Park Tavern, while Rowe likes the burgers at Zoe's, Rickybobby, Dear Mom, Monk's Kettle, and Garaje.)

Jonathan Kauffman, Tasting Table: "With nods to the burgers at Serpentine and Fifth Floor, I'm still sold on the over-thought-through, modernist-cuisine-influenced burger at Mission Bowling Club (Anthony Myint is no longer consulting on the food, but last time I ate there, his burger lived on). It's everything Umami Burger tries to be. More importantly, it's fried—sorry, pan-roasted—in beef tallow.

Instead of fries, which aren't that hard to do well, can I nominate the hush puppies at the Wexler's Back truck? Now that's a feat of frying."

Paolo Lucchesi, Inside Scoop SF: "4505 Meats, Kronnerburger, and Trick Dog come to mind for the burgers—I'm partial to those smaller patties. I'm of the mindset that burgers are best enjoyed in backyards or dark bars. 4505's version is the ultimate backyard burger, particularly for breakfast, and the other two are great bar burgers. (Kronnerburger's onion rings are pretty badass too.) Fries are almost always good, as long as they are not steak fries.

But truly, there is but one correct answer for the BEST PLACE to enjoy a burger and fries in San Francisco, and that is Red's Java House."

Jennifer Maerz, The Bold Italic: "As a vegetarian who doesn't eat fried food, I am of no help to you. But my boyfriend loves burgers and has a burger blog. In terms of veggie burgers, I love The Plant's veggie burger (the California Plant Burger), but it's also so outrageously pricey I finally got too mad about paying that much for mashed beets and lentils and stopped eating there. I mean, $14 for a veggie burger? Come on! But every once in a long while, I still crave it, like a hypocrite."

Mathew Sletten, Jennifer Maerz's boyfriend and burger blogger at Meat Me in San Francisco: "My favorite burger happens to be at Kronnerburger. It's a perfect salty and sweet balanced burger. The bun is soft but not mushy, and the toppings are perfect: lettuce, pickles and mayo. No ketchup, which I think is a useless condiment. The [cheddar] mayo is slathered on and is wonderful. The burger is cooked so nicely that the grease is there, but in a good way. I add marrow, which I think is great, but not necessary. My other two favorite burgers in the city are Rickybobby's, which I had when it was at Broken Record, and Nopa's.

My favorite fries are from Nopa, with their harissa aioli as the sauce. They cook the fries so well, probably twice, so that the pillowy potato is encased by a nice crispy and not greasy exterior. The harissa mayo, something on their burger as well is a great compliment to the salty fries. Serpentine's fries are probably my next favorite in the city."

Brock Keeling, SFist: "My favorite burger in the Bay Area is from Marlowe/Park Tavern. Not only does it taste astounding every time, it's not overwhelming on the plate. I have great contempt for burgers that come to my plate with options on the side. Tell me how to eat it, chef. I want to be the submissive bottom to a chef's dominant top, you know? Tell me what to eat and give it to me good. And that's what the Marlowe burger does. The rectangular plate is also totally cute.

My favorite fries, as cliche as they've become, are an order of animal-style fries from In-N-Out. The fries by themselves aren't so hot. Bland and bendy. They need dressing up. Further, animal-style fries remind me of my childhood in SoCal, waiting in the In-N-Out drive-thru with my dad each Saturday. I thought my pop's off-menu ordering was so VIP, so chic at the time."

Carolyn Alburger, San Francisco: "Rickybobby's burger is the one I can't get off my mind. It has just the right amount of salt and cheese to keep things interesting. A side of their crisp-yet-fluffy sweet potato tater tots makes a great break between bites. Other burgers I'd go out of my way for are at Slow Club, Zuni Cafe, and The Corner Store, where they slather the meat in housemade bacon jam."

Virginia Miller, The Perfect Spot: "On the lower end, I ADORE Scolari's burger in Alameda and my new cheap fave is at Garaje. As for fries, my current obsession is KoJa Kitchen's crosscut kamikaze fries (Korean BBQ beef, sauteed onions, kimchi, green onions, sauce, and Japanese mayo).

Laura Mason, "The Kronnerburger original burger with their fries or onion rings (both are super crispy and fried, just how I love them). SALTY and rare and BURSTING with juice. The brioche bun is fluffy and perfect for mopping up said juices with. Or 4505 Meats' cheeseburger. I love the sauce, the herby oniony bun that's grilled on the same griddle as the meat, the cheese."

Allison McCarthy, 7x7: "Kronnerburger tops my list for burgers. It's so rich in the best of ways and has been perfectly cooked (as in a real medium rare) every time I've had it. As for fries, I'm not sure this will count, but I'm a steak-fry freak, and I really love the ones at Irish Bank. A beer and a side of fries outside after work on a Friday is the perfect start to a weekend.

"Broke-Ass" Stuart Schuffman, gadabout: "Zeitgeist's burger is consistently perfect. It's inexpensive, delicious, and comes with a warm glass of Shut the Fuck Up."


500 Brannan Street, , CA 94107 (415) 777-1413 Visit Website

Fifth Floor

12 4th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 415 348 1555


560 Divisadero Street, , CA 94117 (415) 864-8643 Visit Website

4505 Meats/Chicharrones

Ferry Building SF, San Francisco, CA 94111 (415) 255-3094

Park Tavern

1652 Stockton Street, , CA 94133 (415) 989-7300 Visit Website