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Best-O-Burger

A Cut Above Fast Food

It’s almost as hard to ignore Best-O-Burger’s blinding ketchup-and-mustard-colored sign, as it is to disregard the tempting call on its employee’s uniforms to “Burger up dude!” Yet many burgerphiles may have missed Best-O-Burger since Randy Lewis opened it in 2007. In the past few years, San Francisco has been inundated with splashy new burger concepts, making it difficult for culinary dilettantes to remember exactly which patty slinger is the “must try” of the moment.

But with the local chain’s newest location amidst the lunch staples at One Market, and a rumored third outpost to open with the Metreon renovation, the uninitiated are more likely to get a taste of Best-O-Burger’s signature sliders in the coming year.

Those who enter Best-O-Burger (nicknamed “BOB”) expecting a run-of-the-mill fast-food joint will be nicely surprised to see cast iron skillets, locally sourced Copa Loca gelato, and green packaging. The Belden Lane operation appears to be equipped only for ordering and take out, but a glance around the corner reveals a door and a set of stairs leading to its no-frills subterranean dining area: a 30-seat brightly painted tile-and-concrete space.

The restaurant’s menu touts “small indulgences” and “a great burger without the guilt!” But our table was glad to discover BOB’s indulgences come in an array of sizes, almost all of them deliciously shameful to some degree. BOB’s special sauce is a glorified mayonnaise rendered pink by seven spices, a mixture of strings (French fries) and ring-o’s (shoestring onion rings) come in a sloppy pile with every order, and the restaurant’s addictive, smooshy sandwich buns are baked fresh in-house daily.

Though the Spicy Crispy Chicken ($5) comes with all three of these decidedly indulgent components, everyone in our party passed it over after one bite. The chicken, besides being a bit gray and gristly, was too dry and did not live up to its promised heat.

The menu improved from there. The Bob Burger ($4) was among the smallest sandwiches, yet it was also one of the best. The meat-to-bread ratio was spot-on, and the skillet’s char added dimensional flavor.

The Vegg-O-Burger ($5), which we almost didn't order on principle, surprised all of us with its smear of housemade pesto. Mushrooms are fried into a slab of American cheese to form the patty and that slightly chewy crust only skillet-fried cheese can produce.

Next up, we wrangled the Sloppy Bob ($5) and the Sloppy Dog ($5), each topped with a mess of sloppy-Joe-style ground beef and crispy ring-o’s that make lifting the concoction neatly impossible. Regardless of how one elevates these offerings to the mouth, the crunchy onion wisps give balance and interest, with the hot dog lending particularly enjoyable structure and snap. With all these cute-sounding sandwiches to dig into, it’s easy to overlook the Best-O-Salad section. The Chop’t Greek ($6) and Chop’t Cali ($6) are better than your average fast-food iceberg concoction.

If your gullet can stand it, this lunchtime haunt also offers a serviceable Haagen-Dazs shake ($4) — the perfect pairing to the grease and meat. Or not. The main draw here is the speedy burger and fries, both of which deliver. Overall, Best-O-Burger provides an affordable shot of Angus that won’t send diners into a food coma or the poor house.

Burger Joints
Financial District
$
Reservations Essential? No