Everyone has something that they are willing to drive for, whether it is seeing grandma on Christmas or that long commute to work. For me, that thing is a burger and onion rings from Taylor’s Refresher. My dad and I have always been big fans of taking day trips from Sacramento to Napa and eating our way through the valley, but by far our favorite stop is this little burger stand in St. Helena.
Driving up to the retro stand with all patio seating, it’s easy to see Taylor’s is anything from automatic. Undoubtedly you will be greeted by a meandering line of people who know it’s worth the wait, eagerly waiting to place their orders. Taylor’s caters to its customers desire for fresh, quality ingredients and it’s the commitment to quality that has garnered them such a cult following. So much so that they’ve expanded their original shop in St. Helena, branching out into two other locations, one in San Francisco in the Ferry building and another in the Oxbow public market in Napa. A purist at heart, I always go to the original stand though I’m sure they all taste just as good.
When ordering, I always have to dial back. All burgers are cooked medium well, served a little pink on the inside on a toasted egg bun. Sticking to their commitment to quality, Taylor’s only uses Niman Ranch humanely raised and vegetarian fed beef and you can taste the difference. Always juicy and never over-cooked; my favorite burger by far is the western bacon blue ring ($9.99). Blue cheese, an onion ring, bacon, pickles and BBQ sauce, this is not your average burger.
For the more conservative palate, Taylor’s offers a whole array of burger choices, ranging from the classics to Texas burgers topped with salsa and guacamole ($9.99). The menu also includes fries ($2.69), onion rings ($3.99), hot dogs ($4.99 and up), soups and chili, seafood, sandwiches, salads, chicken, an impressive wine and beer collection, and some delicious shakes. While I can’t speak for every menu item, the onion rings are some of the best I’ve had and keep me coming back. Not over-battered and always crunchy, these have a little more onion than most and strike the perfect balance between onion and ring.
A place foodies flock to, Taylor’s has some interesting twists on the old average, one of the most interesting being the Ahi Burger ($14.99). The focal point is a huge slab of sashimi grade Ahi served very rare between toasted egg buns. Flavored with ginger wasabi mayo, the only other accompaniment is an Asian slaw on top of the Ahi. The fish isn’t something you’d expect at a burger shop—but this isn’t just any burger shop.
Taylor’s Automatic Refresher
933 Main St, St Helena, CA
Other locations in Napa and San Francisco
Summer Hours: 10:30a to 10:00p
Winter Hours: 10:30a to 9:00p