Good And Bad Signs
On a recent run to the Goodwill store to drop off yet another box of goodies for them, My Beloved suggested a reward lunch of a burger at Phyllis's Giant Burgers, a funky little storefront on the "Miracle Mile" in San Rafael. Or is that San Anselmo? Anyway, it's between the two towns.
I had heard about this burger joint from more than one local source, so I was curious to try it. My Beloved had been there many years ago, but was not impressed, so our expectations were cautious, but curious.
The parking lot was packed - a good sign. Just inside the door, on the wall in front of the ordering desk was a big sign advertising that they use Niman Ranch beef - another good sign. We are not fancy burger folk; he likes mushrooms and I just like mine "dressed," as we used to say - with lettuce, tomato, and mayo. We stepped right up and ordered a giant burger for MB and a "junior" for me, plus onion rings and a coffee shake to share.
While we waited for our burgers to be cooked to order, I used the rest room, a pretty scary place outside and at the end of the sidewalk, which was liberally tagged on all walls and ceiling with pretty unimaginative attempts at the art of graffiti. It was like a taggers' convention. Not a good sign.
Still, we managed to snag an outdoor, shady table and that felt good, since it was pretty stuffy inside on a warm day. It's a small place and they have a big flattop going, so it's bound to get hot in there. Our burgers were sizzling away.
The first bite convinced me that Phyllis's reputation for good burgers is well deserved. While our burgers were cooked a tad more than the rare (he) and medium rare (me) we ordered, they were still juicy and pink inside, and they grilled the buns as well as the burgers, always a good sign. The onion rings were mostly onion and very little breading, also a good sign. And the shake was strongly coffee-flavored, a bonus.
I'd happily return to Phyllis's, despite the lack of ambiance and the plethora of tagged messages. The food is just what it purports to be - nice, big, juicy burgers with all the trimmings. It doesn't need to be fancy to be good.