Eat & DrinkSan FranciscoSF-Excerpts

Sam’s Pizza and Burgers – Keeping it Old School in North Beach

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This awesome photo comes from Mr. F on Yelp

Update for 2016: This originally appeared in my SF book. While North Beach has changed for the better, and my attitude with it, my opinion of Sam’s is still the same. I love that place!

I’m posting this today in honor of the passing of Mile “Pops” Shawa, the owner of Sam’s.


To be quite honest, North Beach can be a pretty shitty place sometimes.  On the weekends you get a lot of people who just wanna spend tons of money, look flashy, pick fights and in general, be assholes.  That’s their thing, whatever.  But according some of my older friends (as well as books and movies) North Beach actually use to be a really cool place where neat and artistic things took place (like when my friend had Charles Bukowski come and read at her house in the late 70’s).  Like Vesuvio and Spec’s, Sam’s is a glimpse into what North Beach must have been like before; well, before now.

Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing neat or artistic about Sam’s, it’s just a greasy spoon diner for fuck’s sake, but it’s a real diner for real people who don’t want to spend $10 on a beer just to be around other people willing to spend $10 on a beer.  Sam’s is only open from 5pm-2am, but I bet you’ll meet more interesting people in one drunk food excursion here than you will in 2 months of partying at places like Impala or Apartment 24.

Sam’s Pizza and Burgers
618 Broadway @ Grant
[North Beach]

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website BrokeAssStuart.com is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, Geek.com and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.

2 Comments

  1. September 4, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    awesome call, Stuart, and I’m glad someone pays attention to the Real North Beach.

    When my friends (many of whom went on to work for the Daily Show and so on and others like Margaret Cho) used to perform, this was a late night special. Thanks and as always you’re awesome.

    Some day we need to get you out to the Sunset and tour the cheap ass places here. i’d be happy to help.