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