There are lots of famous golf courses, but not that many have famous food, too. Augusta National has its pimento cheese sandwiches, of course. But The Olympic Club has Hot Dog Bills, home of the Burger Dog.
Herb Caen, San Francisco’s departed dean of 3-dot journalism, called it the "him-burger." Justin Timberlake calls it the best hamburger he’s ever tasted. Al Geiberger thinks so, too. President Bill Clinton loves them, and so does Andy Pettitte, Willie Mays, Rick Barry, Willie McCovey, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, and celebrities and commoners alike, all of whom have come to Hot Dog Bills hungry and gone to the next hole satisfied. When Fred Couples plays Harding Park, the public TPC course just across Lake Merced, he sends his people over to Olympic for the burgers and gets enough for everyone. For 60 years, everyone who has played Olympic Club has looked forward the one-handed feast that is the Burger Dog.
Top: The first Hot Dog Bills, in 1950. Right: Bill and Billie Parrish,
Bottom: Candy Parrish, now the 2nd generation owner.
Hot Dog Bills was started by Bill Parrish, a professional musician and entrepreneur, first in Oroville, and then as a mobile homemade hot dog stand that would take up a spot on the hills overlooking Lake Merced. He and his wife, Billie (the other "Bill" of Hot Dog Bills), would serve park goers and golfers from Olympic who would send their caddies up to the stand. Eventually, with no concessions at the Olympic Country Club, the hungry (and absent) golfers created enough complaints of slow play that the Olympic Club invited Bill to take up a permanent spot on the Lake Course. That was right before the first U.S. Open was held there in 1955.
2nd generation owner Candy Parrish
Like a lot of great ideas, the Hot Dog Bills’ Burger Dog began out of necessity. Bill only had so much room in that original cart so shaping a hamburger like a hot dog meant he could get more of them on the grill, and only had to stock one kind of bun. Besides, as it turns out, the Burger Dog is perfect for golf. It’s not so big you’ll get too full to hit your drive on the next tee (Okay, Joe Montana likes to eat two, but you’re not him). You can load it up with condiments and still handle it with one hand, and it’s delicious, making it a fitting trophy worth playing the front nine for.
Hot Dog Bills now has three locations at Olympic, and it fits right in. Because from its opening tee shot hit right in front of the pro shop’s picture window, to the three bunkers fronting the 18th green that spell "I–O–U", to San Francisco’s impenetrable summer fog, Olympic has always been a little quirky. Somehow, it’s only right that this club with so much history of running against the grain should offer a hamburger shaped like a hot dog.
"It’s just a great quality burger," says Bill Parrish’s daughter and 2nd generation owner Candy Parrish. "We use a special blend of meat and cook them very fast to order. You can eat them with one hand. Your round at the beautiful Olympic Club just isn’t complete without a hot juicy Hot Dog Bills Burger Dog. It’s the perfect food for a perfect day."