If you've been tempted by Jack In The Box's hair metal-inspired glam rock Hot Mess burger, but can't, as a San Franciscan, bring yourself to dine at an establishment that has more than 11 retail outlets, the folks at The Galley inside Clooney's Pub on Valencia Street have your number. Behold the "Hot Wes" from local burger expert/sandwich namesake Wes "Mesquite" Rowe, featuring a pile of fried onions, jalapeños, and an deliciously unhealthy amount of homemade queso on top of a ground brisket patty.
Naturally, Rowe's burger isn't a 100% accurate recreation of the Jack in the Box heartstopper, but why would you want it to be? (It also doesn't come with tacky commercials.) [Ed's note: That commercial totally shreds!] Our burger this afternoon came hot out of The Galley's tiny kitchen with a no-nonsense side of crispy, pan-fried potatoes. The brisket patty was thinner than your standard pub burger, but thicker than a diner patty and cooked to a moist, pinkish medium with a seared crust. The fried onions add a nice salty crunch to the whole thing, but the burger really shines with Rowe's homemade queso dip: a melty, yellow ooze flecked with peppers and diced tomatoes that would make any Velveeta mom blush. We paired our burger with a pint of hoppy Lagunitas IPA on draft.
Like that troubled fast food joint in the Richmond, The Galley's location inside Clooney's means your burger comes with an extra side of drunk people. (A cast of loveably gruff daytime drinkers, in this case.) When SFist stopped by Clooney's on a warm Friday afternoon, every stool at the deep U-shaped bar was occupied with the sort of folks who drink whiskey with a Budweiser back and argue about whether or not whales are faster than tanker ships. Meanwhile, a group of burger fans took their lunch indoors instead of seeking out a patio or a fancy cheese shop somewhere further up Valencia.
Although The Galley is open inside Clooney's from noon until 10 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday, the Hot Wes is a Fridays-only pop-up burger available for lunch and dinner. (There's another jack in the box joke in there somewhere, but we just can't reach it.) The whole deal will set you back 10 bucks.
If you're like SFist and fancy yourself an obsessive burger aficionado, you should check out next weekend's San Francisco Burger Brawl, where the Hot Wes will be stacking up against burgers from Pearl's Deluxe, Brass Knuckle, Burger Bar, Farmer Brown and more in the city's first-ever "No-Holds Barred Burger Extravaganza." Tickets for that shindig are a reasonable $10 and promise to put you inside a room with more burger options than you could possibly dream of eating.
Noon - 10 p.m., Tuesday - Saturday
1401 Valencia Street (at 25th) inside Clooney's Pub
Previously: All Important Hamburger News on SFist