Photo by Kate Fraser

WesBurger, a pop-up purveyor of specialty burgers in the Western Addition, will open in March at 2240 Mission St. 

In its new space next to Mission Chinese Food, which also began as a pop-up, it will become WesBurger n’ More, said owner Wes Rowe.

Rowe will take over the place where Palacio Latino served food until December, 2014. It was forced to close after the owner declined to renew the lease.

Rowe beat out professionals in the 2013 SF Burger Brawl, which inspired a series of pop-ups. The first was at Clooney’s, in March 2013. By July, he’d started another at Mojo Bicycle Cafe in the Western Addition.  In July 2014, Rowe began a once-a-month po-pup at The Residence which he called Uncle Brother’s Fried Chicken. 

“Things kinda started to snowball from there,” said Rowe. A month later, he started opening a popup at Mojo Bicycle Cafe in the Western Addition once a week and continued to pick up awards for his burgers and appear on “best burger” lists.

Rowe used to blog on “A Hamburger Today” at Serious Eats. Though blogging is a thing of the past for Rowe, he said that writing about burgers  early on “really helped me define what I like and I what I want.”

That means experimenting – within certain limits.

“I don’t ever change the meat, I don’t ever change the bun,” he said.

Instead, the meat and bun comprise the “canvas” he works on. That means new toppings weekly, to “keep things interesting. Simple as that,” he said.

In his pop-up at The Residence, Rowe took a similar approach to fried chicken, changing the dish every week. He looks forward to frying chicken again at the brick-and-mortar.

“I’ll just be able to do more things than burgers,” Rowe said. Limits on space, time, and staff were a struggle at the pop-ups, he said, but his new full kitchen will allow him to expand.

In addition to burgers and fried chicken, Rowe said that he expects weekly Tex-Mex specials. A Texas native, Rowe described Tex-Mex as “kind of a bastardization of American and Mexican food with chili peppers and cheese and beef.”

He said that his home state influences his cooking with smoked food, barbecue, and the ubiquity of cheese dip.

Reina Torres, who sells hot dogs in front of the building where Rowe will open, said she doesn’t anticipate any problems as a result of the new restaurant.

“I sell hotdogs. They sell…other things,” she said.

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