Presidio Burger King Set For Public Demolition

The Burger King with expansive views could have rivaled the Pacifica Taco Bell but shut down in 2002.

Decades after the Presidio Burger King closed up shop, the public is invited to watch its final demolition that will make way for a new park with 360-degree views of the bay.

Presidio Trust and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy announced Wednesday that it will host a demolition event open to the public on Nov. 15 to remember the beloved Burger King. The upcoming Tunnel Tops project, a 14-acre park destination, is expected to replace it in 2021. 

The Presidio Burger King was open for seven short years before it closed its doors in 2002, according to the Presidio Trust. Like the Taco Bell in Pacifica, it was known for a counterintuitive pairing of a fast food chain and stunning coastal views that. 

Its demolition is sure to stir up talk about old San Francisco, perhaps even on the Vanishingsf Facebook page that hopefully doesn’t include memes claiming only true San Franciscans remember eating there. The National Park Service did collect a couple dozen civilian memories of the Presidio, three of which bring up the restaurant as a vivid memory.

“I remember when the new commissary and the Burger King were built, what a view from the inside of the Burger King!” wrote Karen Knight, who lived at the post from 1986-1990.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service constructed the building in 1968 as the Observation Outpost, which functioned as a cafeteria. But it kept losing too much money and turned into a Burger King in 1989.

The demolition won’t beana implosion in one fell swoop, but a full day of bulldozers and excavators pounding at it to level the building. To do the former would have cost thousands more dollars, says Presidio Trust spokesperson Lisa Petrie.

“We hoped it would be a big kaboom,” Petrie says. “I still think it’s fun to come by and watch it.”

On Nov. 15 from 8:30 a.m. onward, the public is invited to watch, have refreshments, and contribute artwork. After the building is leveled, construction for the Tunnel Tops project can begin before opening in 2021. 

The public may not have been able to eat a questionably-sourced hamburger while looking at the Golden Gate Bridge for more than two decades but when the project is done, visitors can frolic in nature in a 14-acre park.

This story has been updated with the accurate closing date of Burger King provided by the Presidio Trust.

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