It had been a long time before this since I had been to Lori’s Diner. The Powell Street location was one of the first restaurants I went to as a San Francisco resident, and such, although I lived in Park Merced, it was my go-to breakfast spot for a while. I didn’t know any better. Muni was a mystery to me, and the Sunset seemed unbelievably daunting, so one train and one street were about what I could handle. Eventually, as I grew more comfortable with getting around the city, I found cheaper, tastier and closer places to get my grub on and Lori’s slipped out of my restaurant rotation. Then I got kind of snobby about it, like, why would I go eat that over-priced tourist food? I did go back a couple times, mostly with friends, most notably (in my memory anyway) for a pretty dang good ice cream sundae. These visits were few and far between though. So it had probably been a good two years since my last Lori’s experience when I headed to the Mason St location with Jessie and Justin after a movie.
The atmosphere was a bit sterile, all white walls, bright lights and shiny stainless steel. The fact that it was a smallish space with most of its tables (and indeed, its barstools) occupied helped take the edge off.
The menu is fairly straightforward Americana. Lots of burgers, hot and cold sandwiches, fish and chips, you know the drill. There are a few salads and dinners and even pasta to round things out. I ordered a Cadillac burger, which is just a plain old cheeseburger. I got mine with Swiss cheese. The burgers come with fries, but you can substitute something else for an extra dollar or so. I was tempted by onion rings, but ended up with garlic fries.
This was awfully tasty. The burger was well cooked, everything stayed in the bun, the cheese was melted perfectly and the garnishes were fresh. The fries were some of the best garlic fries I’ve had, and I’ve tried my hand at quite a few.
Justin had a Cadillac burger as well, with cheddar cheese and a salad on the side.
Jessie got the chicken strips, which I’m always always tempted by on a menu but rarely indulge in. These looked pretty delicious, what with the golden brown of the batter and all.
So I surprised myself and really enjoyed my dinner at Lori’s. And for about 30 bucks for three people, it was fairly affordable. If you stick to the stuff between two pieces of bread section of the menu, I think you can get out of there without breaking the bank. I reckon that in the future I won’t be so quick to take Lori’s off my list of acceptable restaurants in the Union Square area, which is good because that list is pretty short. It’s always nice to add another entry.
336 Mason St