Sunday, March 29, 2009

Revisiting A Classic: Val's Burgers

It was 74 degrees on a Saturday and what better way to enjoy the day than with a motorcycle ride and a leisurely lunch. I wanted to take Justin to Val's Burgers in Hayward, CA. Val's is a real classic, founded in 1958, and it hasn't changed much! (They don't have a website.) This still is a family favorite for me. As a kid I remember waiting outside on a bench on with about 14 other people for our name to be called on a Friday night.

Since Val's is so popular, we thought with a late lunch we might avoid the crowd. We only had wait to 25 minutes--which wasn't bad at all considering the tiny parking lot and diner was full! We got the corner booth and view of all the action.

Val's is best known for its burgers, shakes, and fries. The kitchen is partially open and we watched the milkshake-master make malts, chocolate sodas, and shakes by the dozen (they have eight mixers!). They use Berkeley Farms ice cream, which is a local favorite. We ordered a chocolate malt and it came in the metal cup with 2 milkshake glasses. Our waitress expertly filled the glasses full and--with an extra wide straw--we quickly sipped them up.

The hamburger is ground fresh and you can have a baby (1/3 lb), mama (1/2 lb) or papa (1 lb) burger. The burgers are charbroiled to order. We both went for "medium," which had plenty of juiciness. You can order extras like grilled onions, tomato, cheese, bacon, etc. and sitting at the table are pickles, fresh onions, and relish, ketchup, mustard and mayo. We got our burgers and piled them high with our favorite fixings.

These classic burgers have a great char flavor--simple and delicious. We also appreciated adding as many pickles, onions, and condiments as we wanted!

Finally, the fries at Val's aren't your skinny minis. These are hearty, crispy, steak-cut fries and they were tasty!

So if you want a classic burger and you live in the Bay Area, check out Val's--but be prepared to wait for the goodness.