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Chris Ryan | Photo: Ilana Diamond | January 3, 2013
Because...maybe Pleasantville isn't lame after all.
Broadway to Peninsula; California Drive to El Camino Real.
Was it the combination of $72 parking tickets and having three bikes swiped in two years? Or was it the warm summer night that you visited friends in Burlingame Terrace and noted, when you pulled up to their sitcom-ready clapboard, that their kid’s Trek was just lying in the driveway, decidedly unstolen?
A decade after the first portents shimmered into view, Burlingame is calling out to disenchanted urbanites. Its main avenue is proving to be more than a suburban sweet spot, and not with any old coffee-shop tuna melt, either—we’re talking tuna conserva with cannellini beans, followed by a margherita pie with fior di latte mozz, from Pizzeria Delfina (yes, that Delfina), opening this spring (1444 Burlingame Ave.). And, thanks to the end of a 30-year cap on restaurant permits, Delfina isn’t the only new restaurant in town: Last August, Little Star Pizza opened Blue Line (1108 Burlingame Ave.), and more new restaurants are sure to follow.
Burlingame’s smallish lots—a legacy of its roots as a summer colony—pay a nice dividend: human-scaled streets with neighborly houses. From Burlingame Terrace it’s only a 10-minute stroll to the corner of Sephora and La Boulange at Burlingame and Lorton avenues. “I always thought of the towns on the Peninsula as uninteresting, but I love Burlingame,” says recent arrival Soni Obinger. “The one downside is that there is no nightlife.” But with barbecues in the backyard and kids playing in the pool, lack of access to the latest bar may seem like a fair trade.'
Affordability: B- (rent for a two-bedroom house, $3,000; cost of a two-bedroom, $750,000)
Walkability to amenities: B (Burlingame Avenue is a 10-minute walk from the Terrace)
Public transportation: B (Two Caltrain stations; free shuttle to the Millbrae BART station)
Weather: A (Summer forecast: 71 degrees, not a wisp of fog as far as the eye can see)
Safety: A- (Says Captain Mike Matteucci, “crime is very uncommon in Burlingame’s residential areas, especially violent crime.”
The bummer: It’s a far cry from being culturally diverse
Read More: The Bay Area's top 10 neighborhoods
Ocean Beach: For a reminder that this is a beach town
Polk Gulch: For bustling nightlife (just don't call it the next Valencia)
Richmond Annex: For the no-strings-attached white picket fence
NoPa: Because it's the Mission 10 years ago
Uptown Oakland: For a nonstop art orgy
North Beach East: For Little Italy charm without the tourist kitsch
Mission Creek: Because it's the new locavore mecca
Hayes Valley: For a livable MoMA
Dogpatch: Because it's an urban laboratory
Originally published in the January 2013 issue of San Francisco.