Hard Knox Cafe is located in the Dogpatch historic district of San Francisco near the corner of 3rd and 22nd streets. Like many of San Francisco's restaurants, the front door (which is barred) is actually kind of easy to miss unless you're looking for it.
Inside, the cafe features walls lined with corrugated steel, a bar that seats about seven or eight people, and several four person booths with vinyl seats that are cracked or ripped due to age and use. When you spot an empty table, make a beeline for it and sit down. If you don't, there's a high probability that someone else coming in after you will move in and take the table. Don't wait to be seated, just go for it.
Sandwiches and burgers can be had for about $6 to $8, but the real deals are the entrees that range from $8 to $13. All entrees come with two sides and a pair of corn muffins. After ordering, the first things that arrive are your corn muffins which are served piping hot. The crust nice and crunchy and the insides moist and flavorful. Sinking your teeth into these corn muffins makes you wish you could start every meal with them.
|BBQ Spare Ribs with Corn and Rice with Gravy|
|Ox Tails with Chard and Sweet Potatoes|
|Fried Chicken with Corn and Mashed Potatoes & Gravy|
|Country Fried Steak with Two Eggs Over Medium and Home Fried Potatoes|
The food served at Hard Knox Cafe is so good that I don't really know what to say. If you get a chance to visit, I recommend ordering the fried chicken or the ox tails. One thing to note is that the green vegetables will be cooked Southern style (way overcooked).
2526 3rd Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
The place sure is out of the tourists' routes, and that's a major bonus. We went there on Nov.4, so the TV was tuned to elections results and everybody's eyes were glued to the screen. The atmosphere was palpable...
Just a few minutes after taking place at one of the tables we had hot cornbread in front of us and it filled up the air with a heavenly fragrance. It was hard not to gobble it at once, but we opted for smaller chunks and savored it slowly. I never visited the Southern states, so I can't say if they have better, but this is the yardstick every other cornbread I'll taste will be measured against.
Choosing from the menu didn't take long: fried chicken with a side of corn and rice for her, short ribs with mashed potatoes & gravy and yams from me. Of course we enjoy sharing...
Portions are, as always in America, sizeable and it wasn't easy to get to the end but -considering what was in our dishes- we would've felt like criminals if we didn't clean up the plates.
The entrees were excellent: juicy and crispy chicken and perfectly cooked ribs, but the sides were out there, especially the yams and mashed potatoes. ANd I could swear that gravy comes directly from Heaven's kitchen.
Once again, Cooking For Engineers proved to be an invaluable resource: thank you and keep up the good work.
I've had subpar fried chicken there once when I showed up late in the afternoon and the frying oil was "tired" enough that everything was a little burnt. It's best during "normal" hours. I suspect you hit a bad time and suggest you try it again. All my other meals there were excellent.