Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Burgers over the Bay

Lori's Diner
900 North Point Street (on Ghirardelli Square)
San Francisco, CA
Three other regular locations; three in SFO Airport

Alcohol: several mass-produced beers and wines
Hours: 8 AM-9 PM (10 PM Saturday-Sunday, Mason location 24 hours)Food: Diner Food 
I was actually surprised how well I liked San Francisco during a recent visit. 

There's a lot of culture there. 

Great ethnic neighborhoods, lots of gourmet stuff. 

I didn't much like the fact that half the place smells like marijuana -- that’s not a political statement, I just don’t like the smell; it smells like stupid -- but I wouldn't mind having a few days to explore the place. 

One place I did hit was Ghirardelli Square, the first major "adaptive use project" (for example, turning a factory into shops or condos) in the United States.

In the early 1960s, when the Ghirardelli chocolate company was bought out and the headquarters moved, the old factory was put up for sale, and one family bought the property to avoid having the landmark torn down and replaced by a boring apartment building. 

It was a shining example of private citizens taking the lead to save a piece of history. 

Ironically enough, though, part of it was recently re-developed into condos from shops. 

And even though Ghirardelli's corporate parents haven't owned the place with a giant Ghirardelli sign on it in nearly 50 years, there are now three Ghirardelli stores in the plaza, or approximately half the total number of stores.

The place is roughly half empty at the moment, after the recent renovations.

Which isn't a bad thing, honestly. 

It means the place isn't totally mobbed like nearby Fisherman's Wharf, a first-rate tourist trap complete with store after store loaded with "Escapee from Alcatraz Psych Ward" t-shirts and similar.

I had noticed Lori's Diner on my morning walk, and since the view from there looked nice, I decided to eat lunch there.

It's a pretty standard diner, and not of the New Jersey style with a twenty page menu -- just the basics on their menu, pretty much.

Prices are about what you would expect for the tourist district in an expensive city, but you at least get something for it.

I ordered the hot rod burger, which is served open-faced with chili, cheddar cheese and chopped onions on it, with onion rings on the side.

It was tasty -- the chili wasn't particularly spicy, but it also wasn't overly sweet, and the burger patty was pretty good.

The onion rings were decent, but featured thicker pieces of onion than I really like (I view the onion as a breading delivery vehicle), but not bad at all.

And the service was solid. My waitron (I figure they say that in such a PC place) was quick to bring refills on my soda while not being overly obtrusive.

And the view of San Francisco Bay was great.

I couldn't quite see the Golden Gate Bridge from my table, but I had a great view of Alcatraz Island and the opposite shore.

It definitely made the visit worthwhile.

And it wasn't packed like sardines like the places on Fisherman's Wharf.

All-in-all, not the best meal I've ever had by any stretch of the imagination, but not bad, and I'd certainly consider going back if pressed for places to go near there.

Rating: Considered Buying A Shirt 'Cause of the View, Would Wear the Shirt If It Was Free at Other Locations


  1. Suit420 is "highly" disappointed.

    Out of all the things to not like about San Francisco -- queers, taxes, regulations -- you choose the smell of Suit420s favorite plant?

    In Suit420s opinion, that's about the only thing to like about that place.....

  2. The pot smell is indicative of hippies, which is indicative of high taxes and tofu, which brings all other sorts of bad things to mind...