Linda and Bob of 'Bob's Burgers'. ('Bob's Burgers'/FOX)
The people in charge of Bob's Burgers have denied it repeatedly. “We set it firmly in the Northeast because of the way Linda sounds, and Teddy,” showrunner Loren Bouchard told EW. "Because it’s this seaside, past-its-prime, dusty old town, we kind of felt like that puts it pretty close to those Coney Island, New York-New Jersey shore parts.” For anyone living in Northern California though, much about Bob's Burgers screams Bay Area. Let us count the ways...
Bob's Restaurant Is From The Mission
Nowhere else in the country has buildings that look like this. Bouchard admits that the show "has all that Victorian architecture from San Francisco because I was living there when we developed the show." SF-based artist and illustrator Sirron Norris (you probably know him via the blue teddy bears he paints all over the city) was the lead artist on Bob's Burgers and says the show's restaurant was directly lifted from the Mission District. "Loren lived on 20th. The house he used to live in is the model for the restaurant.”
Mr. Fischoeder Lives In The Winchester Mystery House
It's a simplified version of course, but Mr. Fischoeder's elaborate estate—seen in detail in Season 5's "The Oeder Games"—is clearly, from the huge porch to the turrets on either side, based on San Jose's Winchester Mystery House. With the main colorful structure and its accompanying crazy tree house and manicured grounds, the Belchers' landlord is living in a creation that could've come directly from the minds of Sarah Winchester's mediums.
The Neighborhood Is Very LGBTQ-Friendly
A full list of the LGBTQ-friendly moments in Bob's Burgers would be long enough to occupy its own article, but it's fair to say that the nightlife around the Wonder Wharf (which has a bar called The Bear Trap) is welcoming to the LGBTQ community on a San Francisco-level. There's the time Bob befriended this "fabulous" trio while driving a cab and the time drag queen Cleavage To Beaver performed what is essentially a disco version of "Born This Way" at a Christmas party. Best of all, there's Marshmallow—a trans sex worker who befriends the Belchers and is treated like just any other gal in the neighborhood. The world of Bob's Burgers never discriminates.
In Season 2, Bob takes his burgers on the road with a food truck. When he's out finding drunk people to feed, he ends up... here. Fun fact! The liquor store next to The Womb Womb Room is named after Bob's Burgers Supervising Director, Bernard Derriman.
Jimmy Pesto Is The Image Of Huey Lewis
One is a San Francisco musical treasure. The other is an Italian restaurant-owning bully. But Huey Lewis and Jimmy Pesto bear all the same physical features, from their identical hair cuts and soulful eyebrows down to their irresistibly dimpled chins. It has always felt like a conscious decision on the part of the animators, but Season 9 really hammered the point home. First, in "Nightmare on Ocean Avenue Street," the kids trick or treat in a store titled "Shoe-y Lewis and the Shoes." Then in "Bob Your Pardon," a nosy reporter utters the immortal phrase: "Well, somebody better call Huey Lewis, because I may have found myself some news..." That is, indeed, the power of love.
There's A Bay To Breakers Episode
Here's an exchange between the Belchers about the annual "Bog to Beach" parade.
Linda: “All the free spirits out on the street having a blast... You drink a lot, you wear crazy costumes.” Tina: “And some people don’t wear costumes, or anything. Sun’s out, buns out, am I right?” Bob: “It gets a little out of control. People pee everywhere.”
If that's not a description of Bay to Breakers, then Tina isn't in love with Jimmy Jr's butt.
The Wharf Arts Center Is Clearly In San Jose
The Wharf Arts Center ( or "War! Farts!" if you're Gene) just so happens to be almost identical to the distinctive exterior of San Jose's Center For Performing Arts. Clearly no accident.
Linda Worries About Earthquakes
In Season 2, Bob's Burgers spoofed The Goonies with an episode titled "The Belchies." As Bob and Linda rush to rescue their treasure-hunting children from the old taffy factory in town, contractors begin to demolish it. As rubble falls around them, Linda exclaims "Maybe it's an earthquake!" That response is infinitely more San Francisco than New Jersey. We'll leave you with the best thing about that episode: "Taffy Butt"—Cyndi Lauper's parody of her very own "Goonies 'R' Good Enough" hit, complete with Jimmy Jr. doing the warehouse routine from Footloose.
All of the above is conclusive proof that, while Bob's Burgers may be officially on the East Coast, it definitely left its heart in San Francisco.