Burger Prince

Wes Rowe is the George Bernard Shaw of short-order cooks

George Bernard Shaw was a literary critic before he became a playwright. Wes Rowe followed a similar path.

The photojournalist reviewed burgers for A Hamburger Today before launching Wes Burger, his burger popup last May. It currently holds a Wednesday-night residency at Mojo Bicycle Café.

"I was a burger producer before I was a critic," Rowe says. Nevertheless, he says paying attention to the burgers he was eating in order to write about them helped him engineer his own.

At Mojo, Wes Burger sells only one burger a night, in a style he characterizes as "between fast food and gastropub." Some nights it's a Frito Pie Burger (queso, chili, onions, Fritos); other nights, it may be a patty melt with caramelized onions on rye (priced from $10 to $11). "I've forgotten all the burgers I've made, so I now have a Google doc," he admits.

The All-American (Photo: Wes Rowe)

Nevertheless, the patties are all made of ground brisket ("I grew up in Texas, so I love to harness the power of brisket") seared over high-heat in a cast-iron pan so the meat cooks in its own tallow, doubling the beefiness. No quibbling: It's a good burger.

Tomorrow, Wes Burger shows up in a new Tuesday location: The Pizza Place on Noriega. Rowe is cooking a version of the All-American, plus a kid's cheeseburger and a vegan chickpea-eggplant-mushroom version, concocted in the days he was dating a vegetarian.