Best Old-Timey Soda Fountain - 2003
St. Francis Fountain
When the St. Francis Fountain, a genteel Mission refuge since 1918, closed its doors in May 2002, many feared it wouldn't reopen. But in November its neon sign lit up again, highlighting a shiny new paint job (alas, no more pink) and its own vintage signs back up on the walls. The ice cream is no longer made on the premises (though it's the next best thing: Mitchell's), but the outstanding sandwiches -- like the 49er, a BLT with egg salad -- are still made lovingly, and the double malted will still knock your socks off. Plus, it's cheap as can be. Whether you're looking for shelter from a harsh city day or relief from the food at nearby S.F. General Hospital, the St. Francis is a tribute to its gentle namesake.