The story: Chef Ryan Farr walked away from the daily grind of the restaurant world a few years ago to spend time with his family, and since then has built a meat empire called 4505 Meats that spawned a butchery, farmers market stands, and cult following for chicharrones. Last year he opened a casual dine-in or take-out BBQ joint in the emerging Divisadero corridor of San Francisco, smoking meats in an established brick pit and flipping what some consider the best cheeseburger in the city.
Why I went: I get a craving for barbecue every time summer approaches, even if the weather recently hasn’t felt summer-like. I was checking out a place in the popular Divisadero corridor (which has several notable food establishments) so decided to get an early dinner at 4505 Burgers & BBQ. My friend Craig joined me despite the fact that he typically avoids eating red meat.
The vibe: In the space formerly known as Da Pitt, the smoke coming from the brick pitt adds to the old school BBQ feel. There’s a small counter space inside if you’re willing to eat with people crowded around you waiting in line. Most people dine outside in the benches setup in what looks like former shipping containers. The young crowd looks like they’re mostly from the neighborhood, walking to the corner spot.
The menu: Typical BBQ fixin’s from the smoked meats (brisket, chicken, sausage, pork shoulder and ribs) to the sides (cole slaw, baked beans, potato salad, French fries). But there’s also sandwiches, including aforementioned cheeseburger and vegetarian options (grilled cheese and one made with grits and eggs) and large salads. It can all seem overwhelming, but 4505 highlights meat plates where you can choose one to three meats that come with two sides and a house roll. I went with the two meats plate ($16) and selected pulled chicken and pork shoulder.
The booze: The menu is pretty simple and includes local beer and wine on tap. I went with an IPA.
My favorite dish: I enjoyed both meats that I tried on my plate, notable for their tender texture and definite smokiness. I wasn’t a fan of the BBQ sauces, so I mostly ate the meat sauceless. But what really pulled everything together (for me at least) was the comforting potato salad. It just made me fall in love with potato salad again (which I’ve ordered less and less through the years to reduce the carbs) but 4505’s version has perfectly cooked potatoes with a balanced dressing binding everything together and with the classic sprinkling of paprika on top.
Insider tip: You must go early if you want any chance of ordering the brisket, which often sells out first.
The last bite: While the lines can make a visit to 4505 Burgers & BBQ seem daunting, the festive atmosphere and quick and efficient service make it worth the trip. Perfectly cooked meats are paired with quality sides. I’m looking forward to going back and trying the burger.
The rating: 2.5 out of 4 camera snaps
The deets: 4505 Burgers & BBQ, 705 Divisadero St. (at Grove), San Francisco. PH: 415.231.6993. Open daily from 10:30 a.m. till 10 p.m. (till 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday). No reservations. Major credit cards accepted. website
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