“You ask any cab driver in town where the best burger is, and they’d say Clown Alley — and they’d mean us,” San Francisco restaurateur Bill Pailhe told reporters in 1994. “But sometimes people went to the other one.”
Most cities can’t boast a late-night burger joint themed around the part of a circus tent where clowns don their makeup. But, for a time, San Francisco had two. The rivalry between the city’s two Clown Alleys, located 2 miles apart on either side of Russian Hill, lasted for three decades and ended with looming lawsuits and an earthquake.