Except for one magical weekend.
It seems a huge number of San Franciscans travel to Nevada every year to participate, which makes sense, considering Burning Man relocated there after outgrowing Ocean Beach. The flipside for non-"burners" such as myself is that for one long, often sunny weekend, the streets are empty, the sound of bongos has disappeared from Dolores Park, and there are no waits for your favorite restaurants. So naturally, it's often the only time all year I'll attempt a brunch at St. Francis!
This year was fantastic. My boyfriend and I walked from his house in the northwestern edge of the Mission district to St. Francis Fountain in the southwestern edge. The weather was beeeeea-utiful! It seemed like everyone and their mom was on the street- literally, there weren't a ton of folks out but everyone that we saw seemed to be people our age (mid-30s) with their silver-haired parents. It seemed like a completely different neighborhood, perhaps even a different city. Then we passed by the new restaurant that sells $14 tacos (FOURTEEN GODDAMN DOLLARS FOR A TACO HOW DO YOU MONSTERS EVEN SLEEP AT NIGHT) and I was pulled right back into the "reality" of the Mission district in 2013.
Lemme tell you a bit about this place. There are crazy wait times for a reason. It is fun. It is awesome. It is an old-fashioned soda fountain that has been around for 95 years, in a little pocket of the city where a lot of businesses are just as long-established and locally-beloved. A lot of the interior decor (including a working phone booth) is still intact from the 50s, kept clean and tidy. There are wood-paneled booths, a few formica tables up front, and a long counter with vintage cherry-red stools. A candy counter along the opposite wall stocks old-fashioned sweets and overruns of trading cards from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Some of this stuff is amazing- I didn't even know they made Saved By The Bell or Welcome Back, Kotter trading cards.