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Food & Drink

Best Glimpse of Old San Francisco, Sans Tourists and Yuppies 

Original Joe's

A throwback to San Francisco of the '50s -- down to the aloof, jacket-clad male waiters -- Original Joe's maintains its tradition of no-frills Italian-American cooking smack in the middle of the Tenderloin's squalor and destitution. The décor is closer to that of an upscale coffee shop than a homey restaurant, which suits the long-standing clientele of cops, lawyers, pensioners, and theatergoers. Whether you sit at the counter to watch the pros deftly work the grill or stake out an oversize, semicircular booth, meat is the highlight of the expansive menu. Original Joe's serves the best hamburger in town, 10 to 12 ounces of freshly ground Black Angus chuck served on three-quarters of a loaf of sourdough with a handful of fries for just $6.95 ($7.95 with cheese). It's well worth the extra quarter Joe's charges to have your burger cooked on the broiler (available in the evening only).

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