You have Gott's to try this Story and photos by Jordan Overmyer

As the doors of the surf-themed restaurant Wipeout closed in 2014, the signature red Volkswagen T1 Bus and the blue and white surfboard scrawled with the name were taken down, leaving a space in the Bon Air Center. For over three years, the unoccupied spot has left most locals wondering what would emerge to fill this location.

But it was worth the wait as Gott’s Roadside restaurant opened on March 1. This popular burger joint has gained a positive reputation for themselves at their locations in places such as Napa, Palo Alto and San Francisco. After 11 months of construction, the Bon Air space now has large glass doors that draw customers into the register counter alongside the magnified menu, making it the largest Gott’s Roadside location out of seven.

Upon entering, the energy of the restaurant’s bustling scene can immediately be felt. After ordering, customers pass a narrow long kitchen outlined in glass leading to a large open dining area. The interior features a modern look paired with Gott’s Roadside’s signature design, consisting of white walls, light cedar colored booths and tables with silver and red chairs. Gott’s Roadside also has outdoor seating wrapping the side of the restaurant and small patio out back. The restaurant also has a separate bar on the far side that serves wine and beer.

Gott’s Roadside combination of food choices, seating space and upbeat atmosphere makes it a comfortable place to dine. Groups of teenagers enjoying an after-school snack, couples savoring a glass of wine at the bar, families with younger children eating dinner, elderly couples digging into soft-serve and young adults working away on their computers at the community tables all indicate that Gott’s is a place perfect for anyone.

This self-seating restaurant has a large array of items from which to choose. The menu features 12 different kinds of burgers and classic American favorites, including fish & chips, chicken tenders and hot dogs, as well as less traditionaloptions such as ahi poke tacos, Vietnamese chicken salads and crispy teriyaki chicken sandwiches.

Ann Pepi, Gott’s Brand Manager, said that this restaurant has received a lot of enthusiasm from locals in anticipation for its opening, and there are several aspects of this location that differentiate it from the other Gott’s Roadsides.

“The mural of Mt. Tamalpais done by New Bohemia Signs in San Francisco and the 30-foot long pine table made by Evan Shively are unique to our Marin location. This is our third location to have soft serve, making that offering pretty special,” Pepi said.

One of the reasons Gott’s Roadside decided to open in this space was because of Bon Air Center’s favorable location in the Marin community.

“We’ve wanted to open a restaurant in Marin County for some time, as it’s one of the counties in the greater San Francisco Bay Area where we didn’t have a location, and that we felt was a good fit for our brand in terms of being very family-oriented,” Pepi said. “The space at Bon Air made sense when it became available, as the center is already such a big part of the community.”

As I walked up to the glowing letters of “Gott’s Roadside” at 8 p.m. on a Saturday, I spotted the line out the door, stretching to the curbside. There is no doubt that Gott’s Roadside has distinguished themselves from their other locations and generated high anticipation for this new location.

Besides the great location, the cookies and cream milkshake stood out and made a lasting impression, as its creamy and thick consistency mixed with pieces of oreos kept me sipping throughout my entire meal. The milkshake was dense and icy, allowing the sweet vanilla taste to melt in my mouth, leaving a sugary aftertaste.

The ahi poke tacos was the item I was most looking forward to, but unfortunately it was not as memorable as I would have hoped. The lightly-salted, toasted hard tortilla shell was filled with Hawaiian-style poke, avocado, cabbage, green onions and a spicy mayo sauce. The spice from the mayo sauce and flavors from the tortilla shell and cabbage overtook the milder taste of the poke, leaving me slightly underwhelmed, especially since the price was $14.99 for three small tacos.

For garlic lovers, the garlic fries are highly recommended. The thin cut, yet not super crispy fries were mixed with a parsley butter that made them greasy to eat, but had an initial strong garlic flavor when I first bit into them.

Providing a Mexican flare, the Texas avocado burger consists of jack cheese, slice avocado and pico de gallo. The crunch and strong flavor of the pico de gallo was contrasted by the lighter sweet toasted egg bun. At first, the spice was surprisingly but ended up blending nicely with the other ingredients creating a cohesive juicy burger.

The service was just as exceptional as the food. Employees wearing bright red t-shirts bustled around the room providing constant friendly service.

“We train our staff to be warm and welcoming as hospitality is a huge part of what we do. We also aim to have something on our menu for almost everyone, from burgers and fries to salads and seafood,” said Pepi.

Emily Petrilla, Project Manager and Redwood Alumni class of 2000, spearheads and oversees all Gott’s Roadside locations and was in charge of the construction and architectural teams of the new locations.

“It feels great to be back living in San Francisco and opening a restaurant so close to my hometown! I have a sense of pride that many people I have grown up with get to have the Gott’s experience, in the same space of a childhood favorite, Chevy’s.” said Petrilla.

Not only is the food delicious, but the combination of its location, modern design and attentive service makes Gott’s a go-to joint on the weekends. This high energy restaurant creates a lively atmosphere that has already drawn in locals, creating a popular restaurant for people of all ages.

“We want to make people happy and bring them together with familiar, comforting food made with quality ingredient,” Pepi said. “In regards to long term goals, as with all our restaurants, we hope to become a gathering spot for the community.”

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