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Spotlight On Straw: San Francisco’s Carnival Themed Restaurant

Picture of Samantha Cardenas
Updated: 9 February 2017
If you’re anything like the majority of San Franciscans, finding the hot new spots to frequent in the city is your jam. Look no further than Straw for an unforgettable dining experience unlike any other.
Clowns Waiting © Brett L./Flickr
Clowns Waiting | © Brett L./Flickr

Straw, a carnival-themed restaurant, is located on Hayes Valley’s bustling Octavia Boulevard. When first walking in, your eyes are immediately drawn to the quirky words spread across the wall: ‘Cotton candy clouds, moonshine nights, ferris wheel lights,’ immediately setting the vibe for this one-of-a-kind dining experience. Panning to the other side of the room is a wall covered in wallpaper displaying the ‘knock them down clowns’ used to win prizes at carnivals. If you’re lucky, you and your special someone can grab a spot in a real Tilt-A-Whirl both to enjoy the delectable goodies on the menu. Small but appreciated touches like menus made from children’s books and old carnie photographs and troll dolls plastered on the bathroom walls make for a fun dining environment.

Chicken and Waffle Monte Cristo © Becky Berry/Flickr
Chicken and Waffle Monte Cristo | © Becky Berry/Flickr

No need to wait around for the Fourth of July or summertime to get your fix on funnel cakes or cotton candy. Here at Straw, these items are featured on their everyday menu. Begin with starters like Southern fried pickles or sweet potato tater tots to prepare your palette for the ride of your life. Take a walk on the wild side and switch up your classic burger by ordering the Ringmaster: Straw’s famous donut burger. Featuring locally sourced Golden Gate Meat Company premium beef, a hamburger patty is sandwiched between two house-made glazed donuts and then covered in melted jack and cheddar cheese. If your mouth isn’t watering already, picture adding avocado, maple-glazed bacon, or a fried egg to top it all off. If you came prepared and are wearing your stretchy pants, go ahead and add another patty! Take a bite out of what everyone is talking about and order the fried chicken and waffle Monte Cristo. Featured on Food Network’s ‘World’s Weirdest Restaurants,’ this dish is more than just your average chicken and waffles. Instead, this comes with the added melted swiss cheese, raspberry jam, powdered sugar, syrup and fries. What a mouthful – literally!

Making cotton candy © Steven Depolo/Flickr
Making cotton candy | © Steven Depolo/Flickr

Wash that sweet and savory goodness down with one of Straw’s cleverly named cocktails. Try the Big Dipper, containing vodka, lemonade, and strawberry accented with a fun dip rim, or try the Cotton Candy Cocktail infused with, you guessed it, cotton candy! If you’re dining out with a group, try a Fish Bowl to share with the table – one is enough for all. Just when you think you’ve eaten enough and can’t possibly stuff your face any more, you remember you haven’t even had dessert! Unbutton your pants and order up some house-made hand-spun cotton candy available in the flavor of the day (surprise!), or give into your cravings and order a funnel cake. Covered in powdered sugar, house-made whipped cream, and your choice of strawberry sauce, cinnamon, sugar, caramel, or melted chocolate, this is one dish you will not want to miss out on.

Not only are they serving up good stuff, but they’re known for doing good stuff, too. Every Monday for the past four years, Straw continuously has donated 10% of all of their food sales to various non-profit organizations in the Bay Area. If the food doesn’t leave a lasting impression on you at Straw (which is highly unlikely), then the ambiance and unique character surely will.

Straw, 203 Octavia Blvd, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 431 3663