As I combed over many other burger contenders as I wrote this piece, I wondered if coming to Big Mouth was the right choice considering the venerable selection. Truth be told I came because I was staying blocks away. But as I started to peel away at the neighborhood, and the signs of things to come not just in the Mission but in the city as a whole, I realized that I was actually visiting what could be called “the Vanishing San Francisco”. This term has been applied in Manhattan for the very same reasons: gentrification is ushering in the new and, at times sadly, ushering out the old. Jaw dropping meals, both in spectacle, flavor and price lie in wait around many a corner in San Francisco. The city has the luxury of luxurious eating almost everywhere. But Bang for your Burger Buck, beyond being about burger bliss and being friendly on the bucks, is also about chasing experiences, of your past as much as your present. Big Mouth Burgers, when done simply, offers a burger of my youth at a price I would gladly return for time and time again. But the added bonus, a perhaps sobering reality, is that it is also a fleeting experience of what the city once was.
We are in the midst of much change happening both now and in the months to come. In just over a year’s time, our country will select a new President. Discussion and debate will commence about our economy. The tech boom will be brought up and while both sides will tout who did what to foster the job growth, a quiet audience will be watching and listening and wondering what will happen to them as they feel an economy that is literally pushing them out. Nature and capitalism have a lot in common – survival of the fittest, being generally cruel and what not. The same stark reality applies to the restaurant business and I wonder if Big Mouth Burgers, who despite a lengthy run not just in the Mission, but in the Bay Area at large, will still be around.
Big Mouth Burger Co was always on my list of places to try and when I saw the following on my personal Facebook feed, I knew it would be sooner rather than later.