gott’s roadside + show dogs
After a dismal restaurant lunch experience at Boulevard we returned to casual eats on the third day of our San Francisco sojourn. Having skipped breakfast and eager to avoid the lunchtime rush we rocked up at Gott’s Roadside in our beloved Ferry Building shortly after their opening time of 1030am. Formerly known as Taylor’s Automatic Refresher, it originated as a family-run roadside fast food stand in St. Helena which is still serving today (along with the SF branch and another outpost in Napa’s Oxbow Market). The headliners are their burgers but the menu is vast, including hot dogs, sandwiches, tacos, salads and fried tidbits, all made with fresh artisanal ingredients, some of which are directly sourced from the restaurant’s St. Helena garden.
There’s usually a line snaking out the door but due to our early arrival the place was completely empty so we leisurely placed our order and took a seat with our drinks (Iced Tea and Homemade Lemonade) and waited for the portable buzzer we were given to sound. Roughly 10 minutes later our food was up and we were in business.
The Double Cheeseburger featured two freshly ground beef patties with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, secret sauce and their signature toasted egg bun. It was an exemplary specimen, with perfectly melted cheese enrobing patties that had been nicely charred on the flat top but still pink and moist in the centre, sitting snugly between yielding pillowy bread.
Wisconsin Sourdough also listed under “Burgers” resembled more of a sandwich – griddled mushrooms, bacon, cheddar-topped beef patty, BBQ sauce and mayo within two thick slices of toasted sourdough. Very messy to eat and totally delicious.
Chicken Tenders lived up to their name – juicy buttermilk-dipped chunks of breast meat, breadcrumbed and crisp from the fryer. Smashing with the accompanying house-made ranch dressing. The scarily radioactive-looking Garlic Fries were actually really good and incredibly addictive thanks to a liberal coating of garlic butter and parsley.
Despite the rebranding a couple of years ago, the menu has been left untouched and we’re happy to report that standards have remained the same from our first visit to Gott’s (then Taylor’s) a few years ago.
Burgers demolished, we set about burning it off while trawling the shops, covering Chestnut, Fillmore and Haight. A few hours later, weary and spent, we wandered back towards Union Square via Show Dogs for pints and sustenance.
As the name suggests Show Dogs specialises in hot dogs (although sandwiches, ribs and fried chicken also moonlight on the menu), and the Chilli Cheese Dog we shared boasted a tasty house beef chilli and a very fine sausage indeed. I was however less taken by the dense sesame bun and would have preferred it to be much softer.
There were no complaints with the Onion Rings which were crisp, greaseless, with a perfect batter to onion ratio. We wolfed the lot down. Herb-specked Barbecue Fries were slightly smoky (according to the waitress they are cooked further on the barbecue after coming out of the deep-fryer for extra flavour) but otherwise didn’t differ greatly from ordinary fries and were slightly flabby for my taste.
Not bad but hard to judge the place based on one hot dog and a couple of sides – that said, those onion rings were pretty amazing. Possibly worth a pitstop if you’re in the vicinity (Westfield shopping mall is just down the road) but if it was a case of either/or, then Gott’s Roadside definitely takes the cake.
1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111
t. 866 328 3663
1020 Market Street (near Sixth Street)
San Francisco, CA 94102
t. 415 558 9560