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Is Manteca hungry enough for return of the 3-pound hamburger?

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Is Manteca hungry enough for return of the 3-pound hamburger?

Andrew Wadahara holds up the three-pound "Big Wallie" that will once again be available to Manteca residents when Wallie's opens its new downtown location.

JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin


POSTED April 16, 2009 5:27 a.m.
It’s been more than a decade since Brenda Pine and her husband Dennis opened a ‘50s theme car hop on Tracy’s 11th Street corridor – just a stone’s throw away from Tracy High School.

And next week the couple is hoping to open their doors on their second attempt at a restaurant in Manteca – bringing back the famed three-pound “Wallie Burger” that is still free for customers that are able to tackle the monumental task of consuming one in less than 15 minutes.

While the building at 211 E. Yosemite Avenue has only been home to Mexican food restaurants in recent years, Wallie’s hopes to be able to take advantage of excited Manteca residents that have been flooding in over the last two weeks after their trademark orange trim went up outside.

“We had been looking at Manteca for some time and we saw that spot was going to become available – we truly loved where it was located at because it has such good visibility,” Brenda Pine said. “We get people coming by everyday that honk and wave and tell us to hurry up and open already.

“People enjoy the small family-owned place where they know that they’re going to be able to get good food and good service.”

With a full traditional American menu available covering all of the bases – from grilled cheese and Philly cheese steak sandwiches to western burgers and hot dogs – the restaurant gains notoriety for their behemoth burgers that weigh in at three, six, and nine pounds each.

While Bay Area resident and former Nathan’s world hot dog eating champion Joey Chestnut is on the board with a mind-blowing time of 6:30 to consume the “Big Wallie,” it was an 18-year-old named Tim Miller that devoured it in only 4:31 in 1999 (the same year that Jack Rose turned in the second fastest time ever of 4:52).

Those who are able to complete the 15-minute challenge under the necessary parameters (the burger must contain all of the fixings, no big crumbs can be left, it can’t immediately come back up) get their money back and a t-shirt proclaiming “I ate the big one.”

For most people, taking home the Big Wallie in a pie box will usually feed four people.

According to Pine, once the Manteca restaurants starts rolling on its own, they hope to revive the classic car shows that have made their Tracy location a local institution for automotive enthusiasts that appreciate the diner’s ‘50s-era feel.

The unique layout of their new digs will allow for an ice cream counter that will further expand the Wallie’s shake menu and add the soda jerk nostalgia that people love.

All in all, it’s not bad for an original that has spawned two sister locations (Manteca and Ripon) and its own unique following.

And it’s all named after the family basset hound.

“We’re hoping to open up somewhere between April 23 and 27 depending on how things shape up – we’re just waiting on the final fire department inspections right now,” Pine said. “We’re really excited about being in Manteca again, and we’re got plans to a do a lot there.”

Wallie’s is located at 211 E. Yosemite Ave. Once the doors open they’ll serve customers Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 823-9101.

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