Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Taylor's Automatic Refresher
1 Ferry Building, Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA
Review by SuSu, MaceVindaloo, Diasala, Vinhy, ZSung

It's a burger place, which apparently started in the Napa Valley. People in California sure do love their burgers, and Taylor's does a nice version with beef that has a provenance. Where your food comes from, who raised it, etc. is big business in many places, but none more so than in San Francisco. Even fast food burger joints advertise the provenance of their ingredients.

They make a sort of version of Peruvian salchipapas by dipping weenies into corn batter to make tiny corndogs, and will scatter it over medium-wide french fries. They also have nice bread — the burgers are on egg rolls, and the patty melt is served on a quite-black pumpernickel. But that's to be expected in a town which is so serious about its bread, yeah?

But really, the food here is simply "okay." Which, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. But personally, we prefer our burgers and accompaniments to be luscious and special; if we are breaking diets to eat a burger, we want it to be worth it. These burgers are something you get on the run, but not necessarily things you will want to sit with and savor.

That's too bad, because we really did want to love this place. They have interesting seating, both inside and out. And they have a take-out counter toward the inside of the Ferry Building, in case you are serious about running with your food. It's all very attractively laid out.

The decor is fun — it evokes a 1940s sort of diner sensibility. Everything is steel and black and white. There are steel stools and high communcal wooden tables, interspersed with tables for four. It's the type of burger place you might have dreamed about if you are very very young and you saw "Hairspray" (the cleaned up movie version, not the original dark and dirty stage musical) and wanted life to be like that. Or maybe "Happy Days."

The first time we visited Taylor's, it smelled bad! Like burnt grease and steam. We left without ordering anything. We think their fume vents were not working that time, maybe. This time, it simply smelled like fried and griddled food, which is as it should be, probably.

Still, though the experience was pleasant, we won't be returning to Taylor's. It's not worth the calories and time, in a town with many other delicious options. The store we tried is in the Ferry Building of San Francisco's Embarcadero, which is like a foodie mall. Maybe if we have young teens with us that we need to feed without fuss? Nah, why pander and dumb down food to kids??

On the other hand, the original location in Napa really is a "refresher" in that it's the only thing in the area, and includes gassing up possibilities, too. It's likely more of a novelty and the food is likely better in actuality as well as psychologically. And the patty melt is decent, though that's not technically a burger (despite the meat patty being the same patty as in a burger!). We might try the original location next time.

By the way, our reticence has nothing to do with the unfortunate name of the business. It's obvious the owners are not Star Wars expanded universe fans. Or maybe they are, and they are being gross.

Nor do we hold against them the sign that is obviously a rip-off of the EAT sign at New York's Empire Diner (featured in Men in Black II).

In conclusion, you could do worse. But yeah, you can do way better, too. Hopefully, for all the hoo-hah, the original location serves better food.

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