When considering hamburgers, you may not think about gay culture — but try thinking again.
Elijah Daniel, a YouTuber and singer who releases music under the pseudonym Lil Phag, has unveiled his new project called Gay Burger. It’s a burger chain with locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, and it promises that 100% of its profits will go to the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
Menu items at the chain, which launched Feb. 9, include the Love Me Daddy (the basic burger with a proprietary “gayoli” sauce), the No Milk Daddy (the vegan burger with a black bean patty) or the Gay Fries, which, according to the menu, are essentially fries “but they’re gay, y’know?”
Gay Burger doesn’t have its own brick-and-mortar location, so for the time being the menu is a profitable side hustle for Local Kitchen and Wine Merchant, a restaurant on 1st Street in the South Beach neighborhood South of Market. Patrons can only order through Uber Eats, Doordash and Postmates, and the delivery time from the kitchen to my cousin’s apartment near Ocean Beach was roughly an hour.
Daniel claims this viral stunt/fundraiser/restaurant was inspired after seeing fellow YouTuber MrBeast’s virtual burger kitchen video in December 2020 (which has since spawned a national chain with 300 US locations) and wishing that burgers could one day “be” gay.
“It’s been really fun finding people who can make my ridiculous ideas into functioning projects,” Daniel said on the video website Tubefilter. “Obviously my ridiculous friends were down.”
Katia Ameri, a tech entrepreneur, cofounder of Rocketship House, and friend of Daniel, handled the logistical side of the Gay Burger, which Daniel launched with fellow LGBT celebrities — Bryana Salaz, Trevi Morgan and Storm Ryan — who are the faces of their respective combo meals.
As a bisexual burger consumer, I knew I had to see what made a gay burger . . .gay. Does a “Daddy Patty” taste any different than a regular patty? To find out, my (straight) cousin and I drove from Oakland to San Francisco to conduct important research in the name of gay science.
Once our meal arrived, and my cousin and I compared notes, the burger wasn’t knock-your-socks-off amazing — but that doesn’t mean the experience was in any way disappointing.The buns were more buttery and bready than your average sesame seed bun, and the Love Me Daddy was texturally well-balanced with pickles, tomatoes, onions, shredded lettuce and the right of amount of gay in the gayoli sauce. The vegan No Milk Daddy, meanwhile, had a cohesive black bean patty with a pleasant Tex-Mex flavor, but it lacked enough sauce to be eaten without soda . . or a margarita.
Delivered in the standard brown takeout containers, the meal didn’t feel quite as gay as it looked on the website — where the opening image is a huge illustration of Ronald McDonald kissing the Burger King mascot. Yet even though we knew we’d eaten better for half the price, it was still fun, and yes, gay.
Sure, a gay burger is just a hamburger that someone arbitrarily decided is a friend of Dorothy. But even so, if I’m looking to celebrate and drop $15 on a burger, while knowing that it goes toward a good cause, I’d rather eat a Gay Burger than a heterosexual one at, say, In-n-Out.