With locally-sourced, high-end burger chains proliferating across San Francisco, you could be forgiven for assuming that the city had no old-school burger joints left. But when you're looking for a simple burger without frills or pretense, these 9 icons, some of which date as far back as the '50s, will fill the bill without costing a lot of bills.Read More
San Francisco's 9 Best Old-School Burger Joints
Where to go when you want a classic burger on the cheap.
Out in Ingleside, this little stand has been serving up burgers since 1962, with picnic tables in the parking lot for hanging out with a cheeseburger and one of their beloved pineapple shakes.
A Richmond staple for 55 years, this "Home of the Hamburger" is light on the frills (beyond two bizarrely placed crystal chandeliers), but delivers on flavor. All of its burgers are named for San Francisco celebrities, and the meat is ground in-house daily.
Since 1979, this West Portal spot has devoted itself to serving up bison steaks and bison burgers, and it has a loyal following of neighborhood regulars as a result. If it's been a while since you went to a restaurant with a salad bar and a glass meat display, go give it a spin.
This old-school diner has been holding it down on Clement since 1968 with its green vinyl booths and inexpensive menu. The late Robin Williams was a fan, and photos of him with customers are all over the walls.
A North Beach favorite, Mo's grinds its beef fresh daily and grills it over a bizarre rotating contraption made of volcanic rock. It totally works, though: the burgers here are juicy and delicious.
Red's Java House
There's nothing quite like a burger and a beer at this outdoor spot on the Embarcadero (since 1955), preferably consumed before heading over to the ballpark for a Giants game. It's not to be confused with the similar, equally historic Java House, which is also worth a visit.
North Beach drinkers turn to this glorious dive for booze relief, with old-fashioned burgers and fries served up on paper plates for crazy-reasonable prices. Atmosphere is nil and the specter of drunk shenanigans looms large, but it's the kind of place where those things are less important than sustenance.
Tony's Cable Car
Lebanese immigrant Tony Falloun has been serving burgers since 1972 at this little spot atop the Geary-Masonic tunnel, where the simple, fast-food-style patties and crinkle-cut fries have drawn generations of fans.
This adorable little stand (since 1955) has somehow survived wave after wave of Mission gentrification, and is still a go-to for simple burgers and shakes to wolf down at the parking-lot picnic tables or on a barstool at a nearby dive.