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Klutch Burgers Come Through Every Time

My diabolical scheme to keep the great news about Klutch Burgers to myself was proceeding along as planned until the new In-and-Out Burger location opened here in San Carlos. Now I must come forward.

For about a month, I have resisted the urge to write about Klutch Burgers & Brew which opened on Laurel Street in downtown San Carlos this spring.  First off, I’m not a professional restaurant reviewer. Second, I’m selfish – if I find a good thing, why would I want to ruin it by telling everyone else about it? Finally, restaurant reviews certainly have their place in print and online publications – but I don’t think that place is in my blog. Honestly, I’d rather exert my (sometimes limited) brain power on making fun of politics or commenting on other news events. And yet, here I sit, searching my online thesaurus trying to find pretentious ways to describe the juicy and delicious burgers, hot crispy french fries, and consistently friendly service I find at Klutch Burgers.

My diabolical scheme to keep the news about Klutch Burgers to myself was proceeding along as planned until the new In-and-Out Burger location opened here in San Carlos.  With the controversy surrounding the negative impact the burger chain’s new location may have on traffic and residential peace and quiet, it seems that talking about burger places actually IS talking about the news. Still, there is the fact that I am not a professional food writer or restaurant reviewer – but as it turns out, I am a damned successful eater.

I have no beef with In-and-Out Burger (that's right, I fear no pun). They have pretty good burgers and consistently great service, and they are such a well-renowned institution in California that out-of-town guests frequently ask if we can make a quick stop at the In-and-Out drive-thru to grab a burger.  I assure them that we can certainly visit In-and-Out, but that there is no such thing as a quick stop there.  The irony of the restaurant name juxtaposed against the actual speed of the dining experience (or drive-thru wait time) is the only thing I don’t like about In-and-Out. Still, I guess it’s not fair to blame them for being successful. Besides, I stopped hating people for being popular after high school.

But I digress (see, I told you I am not a professional reviewer). I’m supposed to be talking about all the reasons why you should visit Klutch Burgers & Brew. I guess I could sum it all up in a single word: local. I don’t know though – does “local” really mean anything to anyone? Here’s what it means to me.

  • Enjoying tasty char-grilled burgers made from quality ingredients like Niman Ranch beef
  • Having your burgers and chicken sandwiches served on buns delivered fresh from the Acme Bread Company based in Berkeley
  • Watching your favorite local sports teams (Giants and Niners and Sharks, oh my) on multiple flat screen televisions that are well-placed around the small restaurant space
  • Supporting downtown restaurants that are owned and operated by your neighbors

One last thing - did I mention that Klutch Burgers also offers a variety of ridiculously rich and creamy milkshakes made with award-winning Mitchell’s Ice Cream from San Francisco? On assorted visits, I have tried the Vanilla Butterbean, Darryl’s Strawberry, and Thrilla in Manila shakes (challenging research, but I did it for you). The shakes are all so scrumptious that they left me wondering how mention of them didn’t somehow make it into the name of the restaurant.

So there, I did it.  I wrote about food and restaurants. I should qualify all of this by telling you that I have only been to Klutch Burgers about fifteen times. Sure, it kicked butt every single time, but I could have just been lucky – again, and again, and again. Now, do me a favor – go to In-and-Out. But do yourself a favor, and stop by Klutch Burgers & Brew at 1201 Laurel Street in downtown San Carlos.

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Dan Robinson June 26, 2011 at 04:08 AM
I wish I could agree as I like to support local businesses . My wife and I did not have a good experience our one time to Klutch and would much prefer an In and Out Burger to one from Klutch.
Kris Robinson June 26, 2011 at 06:17 PM
Everyone's tastes are different so glad you like it, Jeff. I just couldn't find much that I DID like about this place. I literally had to stop eating this burger after a few bites because it was making sick to my stomach. I think the thing that bothers me the most about this place is the incredibly "stacking" of glowing reviews on Yelp from the friends and family of the owners. People were talking about how they drive down from SF just to have these burgers....bogus....I don't like the deception and it makes me not want to give it a second try (which I usually do even if I don't have a good experience somewhere, just in case the one bad experience was a fluke).
Adrienne June 27, 2011 at 06:48 PM
We went there 2 weeks ago and loved it. The cheeseburger was delicious and the sweet potato fries were perfect. My daughters each had a strawberry milkshake and loved it. my mother-in-law said it was the best milkshake she had ever had. Service was great - and it was nice to see a "hand-molded" hamburger patty! Would go there again. By the way - we are from San Carlos. (Also love the burgers at The Office!)
Jeff McKown June 27, 2011 at 09:27 PM
@ Kris and Dan - Just went to Klutch again last night. My friend had the All-American burger and I had the Fowl Ball chicken sandwich. The food was again fresh and delicious, and the young lady working the counter was absolutely pleasant. Sorry your experience hasn't been the same. Just for the record, I am neither friends nor family with the owner or anyone affiliated with Klutch. Maybe, give them one more shot? @ Adrienne - Good to know someone else loved it, and I am not insane :)
Lisa Kohara July 01, 2011 at 04:16 AM
I noticed the "brew" in the name, but they don't serve beer or wine. Any idea if that is supposed to change anytime soon?
Jeff McKown July 01, 2011 at 06:21 AM
@ Lisa - Good question! The beer/wine license was applied for several months ago (the notice is in the window), but when I asked about it, they didn't have a very good idea of how much longer it would take. Sorry, I don't have more info.
Mark D July 22, 2011 at 12:42 AM
The burger here was really good, they use Niman Ranch beef. The fries and everything else were good but not exceptional. It's a good place to go for lunch, but I would probably go to Refuge if I wanted to go out for a sit down dinner.
Jeff McKown July 22, 2011 at 05:35 AM
@ Mark - Refuge is definitely yummy and a bit more upscale if you're looking for a nice place to have a (kind of price-y) sandwich. Thanks for the comment!

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