Hard Knox Cafe: Soul Food Cooking in San Francisco

Hard Knox Cafe
2526 3rd St.
San Francisco, CA
M-Sat 11 am – 9 pm
Sun 11 am – 5 pm

Located out in the boonies, I mean, Dogpatch district near Portrero Hill, lies a tasty soul food restaurant. It’s apparently known by a lot of locals as when Mr. Sanchez took me there for dinner, we narrowly beat the rush.

Hard Knox Cafe - InteriorI can’t tell if this place is really a dive or a contrived dive, with the corrugated metal roofing used for wall paneling, and the various random signs nailed to that wall. Patrons are pretty diverse here, too. Clean cut yuppies, fashionably scruffy hipsters, and local residents all mix together among the vinyl-seated red booths and counter.

Prices are alright — here you pay a little more for cleanliness and quality. Portions are above average for a yuppie restaurant, but average for a dive if you get what I mean. All entrees are served with two sides and fresh baked corn muffins.

Hard Knox Cafe - Pork ChopsI ordered the Two Fried Pork Chops entree with Macaroni & Cheese and Red Beans & Rice. Those two pork chops were huge and the crispy breading was done just right and served piping hot. The macaroni & cheese was ok but I’m really picky about that since I make my own. And it’s difficult to make in mass quantities because once it gets cold, the fat & cream starts separating from the cheese. The beans & rice were pretty good, too. The only odd thing I noticed was that everything (except the corn muffins) had a slight taste of garlic in it. But not fresh or jarred garlic. It tasted a little more artificial, like someone had added too much garlic powder to everything.

Hard Knox Cafe - Fried ChickenMr. S. ordered the 3 Piece Fried Chicken entree with Rice & Gravy and Mac & Cheese. I had a tiny bite of the chicken and it was also very hot, with juicy meat and a crispy skin. Yum.

I’m not an expert on Southern soul food, but I can say that this stuff is better value than the meals at more gourmet joints like Elite Cafe. Hopefully some true Southerners can let me know how Hard Knox measures up.


  • Above average budget portions
  • Food served hot and tasted fresh
  • Friendly attentive service


  • There may be a wait
  • Odd garlic powder flavor could permeate your order
  • It’s far out for Grubgirl but maybe not for you

Allmenus.com: oddly returned a blank page when I went to their home page
Menupix.com: Listing is here
Menupages.com: Listing is here

View Map here

This entry was posted in Dogpatch, Meals from $5-15 per main course, USA. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Hard Knox Cafe: Soul Food Cooking in San Francisco

  1. Alice says:

    that looks nice) pork chops) mm)

  2. Pingback: Hard Knox Cafe (Dogpatch) - A Southern Perspective | GrubGirl.

  3. Pingback: Hard Knox Cafe: Coming Soon to the Outer Richmond (on Clement) | GrubGirl.

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