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15 Iconic San Francisco Greasy Spoons

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Silver Crest Donut Shop in the Bayview. [Photo: thomashawk/Flickr]

It's Greasy Spoons Week in the Eaterverse this week, and while Eater SF will be doing a more scaled-down version of the full-on diner mania going down at our New York and Los Angeles counterparts, we'll still be bringing you a story each day surronding our great local diners and corner joints. First up: a map of 15 iconic SF greasy spoons (listed in no particular order), and recommendations for what to order at each, if they have special dishes. From 24-hour post-party meccas to quiet counters in the Outer Sunset, each has its charms: hearty portions, warm service, rock-bottom prices, or a combination of the three. Thanks to the readers who commented and wrote in with their favorite spots.


· Open Thread: What Are Your Favorite Greasy Spoons? [~ ESF ~]
· All Greasy Spoons Week 2013 posts [~ ESF ~]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Joe's Coffee Shop

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Pancakes, eggs, bacon: they're all here, along with Americanized Chinese fare like chicken chow mein and dumplings. Also of note: they have a rare 100 health score from the DOH, which is definitely a badge of honor for a greasy spoon.

Art's Cafe

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Reverse your breakfast with Art's hash-brown sandwiches, stuffed with mushrooms, onions and peppers and served with a side of eggs. Or opt for one of their Korean specialties, like the beef bi bim bop (also available in an omelet). Like many of SF's diners, it's owned by a Korean family, and they're known for their genial customer service.

Lucky Penny

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Located at the very central point of Geary and Masonic, this no-nonsense, 24-hour spot draws night owls and drinkers for hash browns, pancakes, and potato skins loaded with bacon and cheese. Warning: don't pull out your cell to make a call, as it's against the rules.

Tony's Cable Car Restaurant

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You've undoubtedly seen Tony's sign while cruising out to the Richmond on Geary, and as the sign promises, it's a classic old-school burger joint specializing in gut-busting patties, crinkle-cut fries, and the can't-miss hot chocolate milkshake, otherwise known as hot chocolate with ice cream in it.

Eddie's Cafe

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This Korean-run NOPA diner has a Southern twist, with grits, biscuits, and collard greens subbing in for hash browns and toast (though you can get those, too). An extra dose of charm comes from the eclectic thrift-store coffee mugs; you're unlikely to get the same one twice. One note: it opens late for a greasy spoon, at 8 am on weekdays and 9 on weekends.

Grubstake Diner

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One of SF's only Portuguese restaurants, the Grubstake sneaks in hearty helpings of eggs with linguica, garlic shrimp, and caldo verde soup with the standard pancakes, burgers, and corned-beef hash. Prices are a bit higher than the standard greasy spoon, but the quality is higher as well, and they're open until 4 am.

Golden Coffee Shop

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Simple and classic, this no-frills, Cantonese-owned joint offers cheap eggs, bacon, hash browns, and pancakes. Prices are low, service is polite, and they keep the sports page behind the counter if you need some reading with your morning coffee. Open daily from 7 am-3 pm. Cash only.

Lafayette Coffee Shop & Diner

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The location in the thick of the Tenderloin may be a deterrent to some, but quirky offerings like turkey mac and cheese and the cheapest prime rib in town ($12!) draw an equal mixture of FiDi suits and downtrodden locals. It's open straight through from 7 am to 10 pm, so while it's not exactly late night, it's a good standby option.

It's Tops Coffee Shop

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Another iconic San Francisco facade, It's Tops and their "AWESOME HOT CAKΣS" are known to anyone who's driven down Market. Said hot cakes are awesome, as are the bacon waffles and apple pie. They're open until 3 am every day but Sunday, and they've got free wifi.

Sparky’s 24 Hour Diner

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Another all-day, all-night refuge for the drunk and sleepless, Sparky's does a solid trade in milkshakes (try the peanut butter and banana Elvis shake), tuna melts, chili-cheese fries, and other favorites. If Chucky freaked you out as a kid, keep a wide berth from their creepy, redheaded namesake mannequin. They also deliver all night long.

Orphan Andy's

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An eclectic crowd can be found at this 24-hour Castro dive, which draws gay-club partiers, drag queens, and night-shift workers for a dose of attitude from the staff and a dose of grease from the famed chicken-fried steak sandwich.

Jim's Restaurant

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Given its Mission location, it's no surprise that there's a Latino influence at Jim's, primarily conveyed through the housemade green salsa that regulars use to smother their eggs and hash browns. The chicken fried steak is popular, too.

Red Cafe

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While Jim's has a hint of Mexican about it, Red Cafe is more straight-up Mexican, with chilaquiles, fried plantains, and huevos rancheros among the highlights. The oatmeal pancakes are a slightly healthier alternative to the regular kind, and the standard bacon and eggs can be found as well.

Silver Crest Donut Shop

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Donuts are certainly available at this 24-hour Bayview spot, but those in the know come for drinks, 25-cent pool, and a blast from the past via the heavily '80s jukebox. Enjoy a shot of ouzo and a bottle of Bud with the Greek owners when the bar opens at 6 am, then head to the donut room for eggs, chocolate-glazeds, and pinball.

Tyger's Coffee Shop

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Big, fluffy pancakes in flavors like banana and blueberry are the draw at this Glen Park standby, as are fresh orange and apple juices. It's a hit with local families, and the owners keep a photo gallery of the neighborhood kids on the wall.

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Joe's Coffee Shop

Pancakes, eggs, bacon: they're all here, along with Americanized Chinese fare like chicken chow mein and dumplings. Also of note: they have a rare 100 health score from the DOH, which is definitely a badge of honor for a greasy spoon.

Art's Cafe

Reverse your breakfast with Art's hash-brown sandwiches, stuffed with mushrooms, onions and peppers and served with a side of eggs. Or opt for one of their Korean specialties, like the beef bi bim bop (also available in an omelet). Like many of SF's diners, it's owned by a Korean family, and they're known for their genial customer service.

Lucky Penny

Located at the very central point of Geary and Masonic, this no-nonsense, 24-hour spot draws night owls and drinkers for hash browns, pancakes, and potato skins loaded with bacon and cheese. Warning: don't pull out your cell to make a call, as it's against the rules.

Tony's Cable Car Restaurant

You've undoubtedly seen Tony's sign while cruising out to the Richmond on Geary, and as the sign promises, it's a classic old-school burger joint specializing in gut-busting patties, crinkle-cut fries, and the can't-miss hot chocolate milkshake, otherwise known as hot chocolate with ice cream in it.

Eddie's Cafe

This Korean-run NOPA diner has a Southern twist, with grits, biscuits, and collard greens subbing in for hash browns and toast (though you can get those, too). An extra dose of charm comes from the eclectic thrift-store coffee mugs; you're unlikely to get the same one twice. One note: it opens late for a greasy spoon, at 8 am on weekdays and 9 on weekends.

Grubstake Diner

One of SF's only Portuguese restaurants, the Grubstake sneaks in hearty helpings of eggs with linguica, garlic shrimp, and caldo verde soup with the standard pancakes, burgers, and corned-beef hash. Prices are a bit higher than the standard greasy spoon, but the quality is higher as well, and they're open until 4 am.

Golden Coffee Shop

Simple and classic, this no-frills, Cantonese-owned joint offers cheap eggs, bacon, hash browns, and pancakes. Prices are low, service is polite, and they keep the sports page behind the counter if you need some reading with your morning coffee. Open daily from 7 am-3 pm. Cash only.

Lafayette Coffee Shop & Diner

The location in the thick of the Tenderloin may be a deterrent to some, but quirky offerings like turkey mac and cheese and the cheapest prime rib in town ($12!) draw an equal mixture of FiDi suits and downtrodden locals. It's open straight through from 7 am to 10 pm, so while it's not exactly late night, it's a good standby option.

It's Tops Coffee Shop

Another iconic San Francisco facade, It's Tops and their "AWESOME HOT CAKΣS" are known to anyone who's driven down Market. Said hot cakes are awesome, as are the bacon waffles and apple pie. They're open until 3 am every day but Sunday, and they've got free wifi.

Sparky’s 24 Hour Diner

Another all-day, all-night refuge for the drunk and sleepless, Sparky's does a solid trade in milkshakes (try the peanut butter and banana Elvis shake), tuna melts, chili-cheese fries, and other favorites. If Chucky freaked you out as a kid, keep a wide berth from their creepy, redheaded namesake mannequin. They also deliver all night long.

Orphan Andy's

An eclectic crowd can be found at this 24-hour Castro dive, which draws gay-club partiers, drag queens, and night-shift workers for a dose of attitude from the staff and a dose of grease from the famed chicken-fried steak sandwich.

Jim's Restaurant

Given its Mission location, it's no surprise that there's a Latino influence at Jim's, primarily conveyed through the housemade green salsa that regulars use to smother their eggs and hash browns. The chicken fried steak is popular, too.

Red Cafe

While Jim's has a hint of Mexican about it, Red Cafe is more straight-up Mexican, with chilaquiles, fried plantains, and huevos rancheros among the highlights. The oatmeal pancakes are a slightly healthier alternative to the regular kind, and the standard bacon and eggs can be found as well.

Silver Crest Donut Shop

Donuts are certainly available at this 24-hour Bayview spot, but those in the know come for drinks, 25-cent pool, and a blast from the past via the heavily '80s jukebox. Enjoy a shot of ouzo and a bottle of Bud with the Greek owners when the bar opens at 6 am, then head to the donut room for eggs, chocolate-glazeds, and pinball.

Tyger's Coffee Shop

Big, fluffy pancakes in flavors like banana and blueberry are the draw at this Glen Park standby, as are fresh orange and apple juices. It's a hit with local families, and the owners keep a photo gallery of the neighborhood kids on the wall.