Cheating. Rejection. Break-Ups. No matter how it’s gone down, we all know one thing: Sometimes, love burns.
It’s with that idea in mind that Christian Perez, Dexter Lee, Jason Angeles, Justin Isip, and Ronnie Taylor founded their new spicy chicken restaurant, Love Burn.
Featuring a seduction-themed, mouth-scorching menu, the take-out spot is a hidden gem. Located within the now-closed South San Francisco gameroom and bar Hometown Bowl, it opened in November of last year, and has only ever offered food for pick-up or delivery. That doesn’t mean they sacrifice hospitality, though: their cheery crew members, who patiently guided me through the spice levels, were the cherry on top of a delightful take-out dining experience.
“The concept was birthed from the idea that at some point in life, everyone has been burned by love,” says Love Burn cofounder Justin Isip. Burn, indeed — the level 3 sandwich, full of “Burning Love” according to the menu, was almost too hot to handle.
Each flagship Love Burn sandwich is made up of a massive half-pound chicken breast, a healthy serving of sweet and tangy coleslaw, and spicy pickles tucked between two halves of a potato bun. The sandwich oozes out of its wrapper — not because of oil, but because of a hefty serving of sauce, enhanced by less conventional seasonings, like Fatalii Chilies and Chinese Five Spice. They also serve crispy fried leg quarters, sides like mac salad and seasoned french fries, and fresh churros served with hot cinnamon or spicy honey. Everything deep fried has a deliciously thick, crispy coating that doesn’t go soggy — even if your food has to wait under the warmer until you get there.
Better yet, this shop has a whole lot of heart. In an IGTV video posted on March 4, Isip joined owners of several other San Francisco and New York restaurants with the hashtag #stopasianhate. The hashtag represents a growing movement of Asian Americans speaking out in the wake of several high-profile reports of violence against Asian elderly, nationwide — incidents that some have attributed to anti-Asian sentiments exacerbated by the pandemic.
In the video, participants encouraged viewers to learn how to report hate crimes and donate to organizations like Asian Health Services, Chinese for Affirmative Action San Francisco, and the Community Youth Center of San Francisco.
“It can be said that pandemic misinformation and xenophobia is fueling the alarming rise of anti-Asian violence being seen around the world. It’s crucial we all speak up against these acts of racism because those mainly targeted are the elderly and defenseless in our communities. Many of these attacks are unprovoked but happening in public places and at times in broad daylight.”says Isip. In support of the campaign, Love Burn is giving 10 percent of all sales to the AAPI Community Fund on GoFundMe and the Stop AAPI Hate organization through the end of March.
Love Burn is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.