San Francisco is the 2nd Worst BBQ City in America, Study Claims

San Francisco, widely celebrated for its innovative tech scene, has recently seen a not-so-desirable shift in a different domain. The city now ranks as the second worst city for barbecue (BBQ) in the United States, according to a recent study by Clever, a leading real estate data company.

The BBQ rankings, which were significantly better in previous years, have seen the city plummet a staggering 19 spots since 2022. The findings come from an extensive analysis of various factors such as the density of BBQ restaurants, their average Yelp ratings, and the affordability of BBQ for local residents.

Few and Far Between

In the study, Clever found that San Francisco hosts a mere 2.21 BBQ restaurants per 100,000 residents. To put that into perspective, Las Vegas, which surprisingly boasts the highest BBQ restaurants per capita, enjoys almost triple this amount at 5.9 eateries per 100,000 residents.

But it’s not just about quantity; the quality of BBQ in San Francisco has also been called into question. The city’s BBQ restaurants average a less than stellar 3.99 rating on Yelp. Compare this to Los Angeles, the city with the top average Yelp rating for BBQ establishments (4.28 stars), and it’s clear that San Francisco has some catching up to do.

The sting of San Francisco’s BBQ status doesn’t stop at the quality and density of eateries; the city also falls behind when it comes to the cost of BBQ, the study claims.

Too Expensive, Too

BBQ ribs in San Francisco

The study found that San Franciscans who BBQ once a week for a year would see it eat up 0.24% of their annual income. It’s a noticeable amount, especially when compared to Washington D.C., the nation’s most affordable city for BBQ lovers. D.C. residents can enjoy the same BBQ frequency for a mere 0.21% of their annual income.

While San Francisco’s BBQ scene might be struggling, it’s worth noting that it still wasn’t the worst performer in the study. Riverside, a city troubled by high BBQ prices and a scarcity of BBQ joints per capita, took the unfortunate title of the “worst city for BBQ.”

These findings pose a challenge for San Francisco’s culinary scene to up its BBQ game. Whether this means attracting more top-tier BBQ chefs to the city, or simply making BBQ more affordable for residents, remains to be seen. But as it stands, for San Francisco’s BBQ lovers, the city leaves a lot to be desired.

But as we all know, San Francisco is a city that thrives on innovation and improvement. Who’s to say what will happen in the BBQ scene next year? Will San Francisco rise to the occasion, or will its BBQ status continue to singe?

Only time will tell. Until then, San Francisco’s BBQ enthusiasts may have to pack their bags for a Vegas BBQ trip, or simply become more adventurous in their local food exploration.

With International Smoke and tons more great BBQ places, we’re not sure we agree with Clever’s assessment. What do you think? Is SF’s BBQ falling behind? Email and let us know.

Readers Respond

Steve wrote in “I lived there in 1972 and it’s always been bad! I’m from Oklahoma and now live in Texas!”

We guess the previous years’ ratings were mistaken, and now the Bay Area has dropped to its rightful place?

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

Leave a Reply

Back to top button