242 Church St. @ Market
hours: Daily (24 hours)
I've been in San Francisco for more
than 7 years, and Sparky's has always come through for me, because
it's open 24 hours,within walking distance of the Castro and
one of the only places near the Castro where you can get chili
cheese fries at 1 a.m. The food is nothing to rave about, but
whether the serving staff be bitchy, apathetic or ultra-cool,
and whether the diners be straight, gay, cross-dressers or punk,
there's usually someone nice to look at. One of the better places
to go at 3 in the morning.
Disheveled is the word that comes instantly to mind. Disheveled
in a random"who the hell cares?" kind of way. I've been there
many times, and thinking on it, I can't quite figure out if
they're going for any specific thematic motif. What I do remember
are wide windows open to Church St. thru which you can watch
various freaks of San Francisco walk by. There are 2 sides to
the restaurant, one that has booths, and another side on a raised
platform with tables jammed a little too close together (which
some would call cozy). It has clean, wide open spaces (even
if the tables are jammed too tightly in some areas), uninspired
lighting (think bright and white) and an eclectic array of typical
diner art on the walls. I believe the focus here is more on
greasy affordable food and a convergence of club-goers from
all over the city, if you catch it at the right hour.
A good selection of basic diner fare. Greasy eggs to slide down
your throat, tough little bacon slices, cheese fries lumped
together in a bowl, turkey burgers, cheeseburgers, omelettes,
hashbrowns that come together in a single matt of crisis-crossed
deep-friedness, etc. They also serve decent beer there, which
can be bought pretty cheaply, if I remember correctly, on a
certain night of the week.
Nothing I've ever had there has been special. It's pretty much
quick and dirty grub. Grilled cheese sandwiches consist of plain
white bread glued around American cheese, the chili cheese fries
aren't very spicy, the eggs and bacon are not treated with any
degree of artistic temperament. But it doesn't appear they're
goin' for anything fancy. I don't think I'd ever expect culinary
perfection from this place, but sometimes grub's just gotta
be grub, with no pretensions, y'know?
The service staff is an eclectic bunch. Punk goth girls, snotty
gay boys 5'2" tall, cross-dressers... I've never had bad service
there. A few times I've had to wait too long for both the food
and the check, but those were during rush hours (after hours
and on the weekend) when the restaurant was packed, so it's
understandable. My order has always come through as requested,
and it's definitely fun to flirt with the cute, spiky-haired
waitress who looks at you oddly as you reenact a Shakesperean
drama on the linoleum surface of your table using French fries
and condiment bottles.
I don't believe they take them. They offer take-out in addition
to sit-down, and, as mentioned, sometimes you'll find a line
weekends and after hours, depending on the mood of the city.
9 out of 10, I've always just shown up and been able to find
a place to sit, but your experience may vary.
The food is nothing special, but I have no complaints for the
price. It's more the location and 24 hour availability that
does the trick for me. One of the few places I'd feel truly
comfortable dressed like a dead prostitute on Halloween night.
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Reviewed : Oct 2003