Established 1978

The Burger Frenzy

by James Stolich

The hamburger has always been an American classic and top chefs are now trying to distinguish themselves with unusual and non-traditional preparations and over-the-top ingredients. Some combinations work brilliantly, while others only offer shock appeal.

The Stonebreaker
It all started about two years ago when Prather Ranch retail shop owner Doug Stonebreaker opened his American Eatery inside the Ferry Building. In what appears to have been in homage to her boss, the chef created a monster burger called–The Stonebreaker. Though no longer offered, this writer recalls that it was at least a one-pound beef burger “poutine” with cheese curd, house-made gravy, and tallow fries (fried in Prather Ranch beef tallow) on an organic Acme bun. A 10-mile run or 50-mile bike ride would probably burn through most of the calories. Prather stopped making this one, but, yes, it was delicious! Here are a few more places that are currently offering burgers that have taken the concept to a whole new level of excess.

The Monte Cristo Burger
Take, for example, the Monte Cristo Burger created by the Top Chef contestant, Michael Voltaggio, (owner of Ink in LA) for the Umami Burger chain. The burger features deep-fried buns soaked in vanilla custard, prosciutto, Gruyere fondue, a beef patty, and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. It comes with a side of syrup. According to Voltaggio, he wanted to make a burger that appealed to those looking for something that is both savory and sweet.

The José Andrés Burger
Umami also announced a new burger, created by renowned Spanish chef José Andrés. The patty is made from pork and cured ham with a piquillo pepper confit, caramelized onion, Manchego cheese, and aioli. Yum.

4505’s Secret Burger
Okay, this secret burger at Ryan Farr’s just opened 4505 Burgers & BBQ (inside the former Da’Pitt and adjacent to a pot dispensary at 705 Divisadero Street) has got to take the award for the most towering burger with highest calorie count. Ryan has a way with meat and his basic burgers are absolutely delicious. Why he would create this monstrosity, well, let’s just say he must get a huge laugh watching his customers try and eat this thing. It’s essentially a “Big Mac” that consists of a double cheeseburger with the crazy addition of a wedge of his infamous “frankaroni,” which is deep-fried mac and cheese studded with chunks of house-made hot dogs all piled high on a pain de mie bun. I dare you.

Marin Sun Farms Butcher Shop & Restaurant
Located at Point Reyes Station (10905 Shoreline Highway 1), the Marin Sun Farms restaurant prepares a burger that satisfies like no other—at least for this writer. Stake out a seat in the garden along the funky wooden table and put in an order for the signature goat burger (chenel chevre, mushrooms, caramelized onions) with fries. The goat meat is more delicate than lamb and goes so well with the earthy mushrooms and mild goat cheese. Pair with a glass of rosé and enjoy a small piece of heaven.

Photo credit: EaterSF

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