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Bill Burger

[Katie Sweeney]

I pointed out two nights ago that the US Open golf championship is being held this week at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, prompting articles in magazines, newspapers, and websites about the club’s history. For this I am grateful, as I might otherwise not have learned about the Bill Burger, a version of which will now be the centerpiece of our Father’s Day menu.

Al Saracevic explains the Bill Burger story in today’s San Francisco Chronicle:

A gross injustice has been perpetrated on the attendees of the U.S. Open, and it’s of the culinary kind.

The problem? You can’t get a real Bill Burger this week at the Olympic Club.

For decades, famished golfers have stopped at a small, nondescript shack between the 9th and 10th holes at Olympic to devour what quite possibly could be the greatest burger known to mankind. It not only tastes great, but it looks funny, too.

You see, back in 1950, a guy named Bill Parrish opened a small burger stand outside the boundaries of Olympic, but close enough for golfers to run over and buy a burger or dog between holes. To save money, Bill decided to cut his burgers in half and serve them on hot dog rolls. That way he didn’t have to waste money on buying two kinds of buns.

The result is legendary. You can hold it one hand and wolf it down in no time. And did I mention it tastes fabulous? If you’ve ever played the famous Lake Course, you know what I’m talking about.

If you haven’t golfed the Lake Course, you won’t have the chance to eat the real thing this weekend because Bill’s shack is closed. The USGA is handling all the food concessions, and the little place could never handle the crush.

To make matters worse, the food folks at the Open are serving faux Bill Burgers at some of their big concession locations. Despite their best intentions, it’s a poor substitute.

Megan Diaz was out on the course Wednesday and tried one of the faux-burgers.

“Talk about a letdown,” said Diaz, following up with the universal game-show sound effect, “Waa-waa-waaa.”

Just another excuse to find your way out to Olympic after the Open leaves town.

You will better appreciate the Bill Burger if you go to Katie Sweeney’s slide show of a year ago (hat tip: Geoff Shackelford) to view its eleven captioned photos, including the one at the top. Her version of the story parallels Saracevic’s:

There are many famous burgers out there: the juicy Lucy, the Shake Shack burger, the In-N-Out Burger. But until recently, I had never heard of the Bill Burger. Famous in the golf world — it’s found at San Francisco’s Olympic Club — the Bill is a burger that’s shaped like a hot dog and served in a hot dog bun. Read on to learn more about this all-American delicacy!

The Bill Burger was created in the 1950s by Bill Parish. He opened a trailer outside of the Olympic Club and served golfers hot dogs and hamburgers. Since he didn’t want to pay for two different kinds of buns, he made a burger in the shape of a hot dog, and served it in a hot dog bun. The burgers became so popular among the golfers that the Olympic Club invited Bill inside to set up shop along the course.

Nowadays, Bill’s daughter is in charge of making the burgers. They have a special mold that shapes the ground beef into skinny rectangular patties. Each patty is a quarter pound of beef.

We will be watching the golf on Sunday, and having our Father’s Day barbecue. What better way to take in the action than to accompany it with Bill Burgers (or our best approximation of them)? We could use one of those molds.

Categories: Food
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