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Gator's Neo-Soul Cafe: GraceAnn Walden's Top San Francisco Picks


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By GraceAnn Walden

Food History Tours



Gator’s Neo Soul Food Café

129 S. B St.
San Mateo
(650) 685-8100

Cuisine: Neo soul food

Pluses: Delightful décor, delicious food from a terrific chef.

Minuses: No reservations prime time.

Don’t miss: The fried chicken, the greens, the cornbread with

Prices: Appetizers $8-13; entrees $18-24

Overview: I’ve been knowing Glenn “Gator” Thompson since he opened a
hole in the wall in Noe Valley several years ago. Since then he’s had
surgery, lost the weight of a ten-year-old and opened the most stylish
soul food café in the nine counties. And why is it called “neo?” He’s
lightened much of the usual fare, except for the classic fried chicken.

If he messed with that, I’d go to war. One night I had the oxtail stew
and the chef commented on the fact that I was sucking the last
succulent morsels from the bones. He said, “I like a woman who gets
down into her food.” Before dinner even starts, they serve this
addictive cornbread with whipped butter and honey. One dish that is neo
is the BBQ shrimp and grits, while the crab cakes are grilled not
fried. His gumbo will get you ready for Mardi Gras. Gator’s Uncle
Willie’s roast pork with apricot gravy, sweet potato grits and collard
greens made me want to date Uncle Willie. Save room for any of the



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