Scanning over the Giants' pre-season press release, the mention of a new Original Joe's burger being served at AT&T Park drew my ire. Why would a vaunted institution like Original Joe's lend its name to what was sure to be a pale imitation of a local classic? My suspicions amplified during Monday night's game, when I had to hunt down the burger at a semi-hidden Derby Grill stand next to the mini-ballpark behind the left field bleachers. Were the Giants already hiding this thing? Then came the sight of six sedentary burgers under heat lamps. I almost bee-lined my way back to the safe haven of the gourmet sausage kiosk, which serves my go-to kielbasa.
Approaching the counter, olfactory memories of the open kitchen at the original Original Joe's in the Tenderloin set in. Beef was in the air. My attitude began to change and finally, upon first bite, I admitted aloud that I was totally wrong. The burger had almost all of the characteristics of its standard bearer across town: cooked a shade past medium rare, oniony but not too much so, hefty, and draped in a hunk of sharp white cheddar that somehow managed not to rubberize. The roll? The same crusty, sour-tinged version hollowed out on the bottom side to make way for the meat.
Missing only was the slow drizzle of juices down my wrist, not such a bad thing considering I was napkinless and headed back up to section 308. And in a world of $10 Coors Lights, $9 is downright sane for grub that will keep you bloated until well past the final out.