A few weeks ago, the wooden chrysalis surrounding a former tattoo parlor on Haight and Clayton came down, and Jack Mogannam and Sam Sirhed's Burger Urge erupted, all neon and windows The owners spent months refitting the floors with hardwood slats, installing a blindingly silvery new kitchen, and painting the walls the color of fresh paprika. Then they made the place look like a college pub, cluttering it up with cheap tables, pictures of Marilyn Monroe, and a television permanently tuned to sports.
The business is built on the Barney's Gourmet Hamburgers
template: Niman Ranch patties (turkey, chicken breast, or Garden Burgers can be substituted), priced $8-10, with names like the Pineapple (pineapple, Swiss, and teriyaki) and the Elvis (peanut butter, bacon, and fried bananas). Bonus: You can find Bi-Rite Creamery ice cream for dessert (Jack is Sam's cousin).
"Prepare to Be Filled!" is the business's motto, and the steakhouse burger SFoodie tried was, indeed, filling: A double-handful with a high-domed bun and a half-pound, half-inch-thick patty splayed atop giant leaves of lettuce and tomato slices. It's a burger that requires constant shifting to eat, with meat that slips across the vegetables at every move and mushrooms and horseradish sauce escaping with the ease of a wriggling two-year-old.
The quality was standard-issue, good beef cooked well past the medium SFoodie asked for. The accompanying fries: skinny and underdone. It was the kind of burger you seek out after spending too long at Trax's two-dollar-pint night.
Burger Urge's burger is not a destination, that's for sure, but that makes the restaurant perfectly pitched for this stretch of Haight Street. There's money in the neighborhood -- just stop in at the Stanyan Whole Foods and you'll see it -- but most residents avoid the commercial strip, thronged of European tourists and suburban high schoolers. And so Burger Urge's comfortably cluttered interior and kind-bud specialties like the Elvis burger are exactly what the market wants.