A sleek, all-day cafe from former Lazy Bear sous chef Matt Kirk, Automat is a magical blend of low-key daytime staple and nighttime dinner destination. The corner space is elegant and light-filled with pops of turquoise and jewel-tone banquettes, which will suit your needs whether you’re popping in for a breakfast sandwich and a loaf of bread to-go, or for a lengthy sit-down dinner. Expect childhood favorites with a strong dose of creativity and technical prowess, including two breakfast sandwiches served on house-made bread, a cheesy double smashburger, and one of the best new fried chicken sandwiches in the city. During the day, you’ll find a selection of sweet and savory treats, plus loaves of bread (from throwback Wondermat! sandwich loaves to honey tahini whole wheat sourdough bread), while dinner includes refined fare like Lamb Tartare served with shawarma hollandaise, Grilled Duck Breast with rhubarb mole, and fresh Ricotta Gnudi with peas and tom kha cream.
An important but often under-appreciated component of a quality burger is the humble pickle. We tend to take it for granted—until someone makes us think about it in an entirely new way. That’s exactly what the chef at Automat (formerly at Lazy Bear) does with the perfectly tart and crunchy dill-pickled onions that top the Cheezy Buddy, a double smashburger with garlicky cheddar on a pillowy milk bun. Maybe it’s just us, but we crave dill pickled anything whenever we imbibe a little too much the night before, so it’s extra amazing that Automat starts serving its burger at 9 am every day (except Monday when it’s closed).
How to order: Walk-in during the day or reserve online for dinner.
Automat, a restaurant and bakeshop from the Lazy Bear folks, is the one spot on this list that is not on the Divisadero Corridor proper, but the “from the Lazy Bear” folks part alone should give you all the info you need to convince you it’s worth the walk two blocks west to Baker Street (where you can also snag a donut from Bob’s on Baker Street until 9 pm, seven days a week). Automat is a casual coffee, pastries, sandwiches, beer, and wine spot during the day (8 am to 3:30 pm) that transforms into a slightly less casual dinner destination in the evenings, with grown-up dishes like a Grilled Pork Chop, Crispy Sourdough Pancake, and Seared Duck Breast, plus a menu for “big and little kids” with $4 crispy beef tacos, a $7 grilled cheese, and a $16 double smashburger ($21 with fries).
How to book: Walk-ins only during the day. Make dinner reservations but note that some tables are saved for walk-ins.