STOCKTON – So what makes for a good hamburger?
Is it the meat patty, bread, or condiments? We all have our personal criteria as to what makes for this All-American sandwich which originated during the turn of the 20th century.
I grew up in south Stockton, where the nearest fast-food establishment was the original Manny’s at 1945 S. El Dorado St.
In the years before the opening of Interstate 5, Manny’s was part of the once popular Sno-White Drive-In chains. Despite the name change later on, my father along with other old timers would still refer to the place as Sno-White. He would drop me off at the corner and hand me a $1, which was the price back then of a hamburger.
My order for a kid under age 10 was that of a plain hamburger with just the patty and bun. No French fries or soft drink. Betty Teczon, who regularly operated the grill, would cook it up for me.
Betty has since retired. Her oldest daughter Kelly now operates the place alongside her youngest daughter.
As for the hamburger, as a grown-up, I do appreciate one with an array of condiments, sans the pickle. I was impressed with the taste and freshness.
Now, I’ve had the Manny Burger, which is the two-patty deluxe sandwich served with cheese, not to mention a variety of hamburgers served up with bacon, mushroom, avocado, pineapple and even a fried egg at other places such as Red Robins, The Habit, In-N-Out, Carl Jr., Jack in the Box, McDonald’s and Fat Burger.
But for this review, I’m focusing on locally owned places that serve up your basic no-frills hamburgers.
My preference here is Manny’s, the Original. There’s also Manny’s California Fresh on the Miracle Mile, where I did do a taste-test of my own the previous week just to make a comparison. The old school place won out based on its thick handmade patty served up with crisp locally grown produce that included a sliced red onion and the right amount of special sauce.
Sinking my teeth in to this hamburger may not have taken me back to my childhood nor the slightly under $ 4 price for the single order.
These days I do appreciate anything local and fresh. Manny’s certainly gets my vote.
Place: Manny’s Drive-in
Location: 1945 S. El Dorado St. Stockton
How to get there: From Interstate 5 (southbound), take the Eighth Street exit and go east to South El Dorado Street, turn left go past the stop light to Howard or Fifth streets to the left.
Hours of operation: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Other places to try in Stockton are Flip’s Hamburgers on Waterloo Road and Bob’s at the Marina.
Kai Vasquez went there some time ago and was impressed with just a basic hamburger.
“It was charred and really good,” he said. “Everything (on it) seemed fresh.”
While Flip’s has reportedly undergone new ownership, it was voted three times as the “Best Burgers in Town,” according to one publication.
Place: Flip’s Burger
Location: 2503 Waterloo Rd.
How to get there: From Highway 99, take the Waterloo Road exit and travel west for about 10 blocks to North Filbert Street.
Hours of operation: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Bob’s at the Marina
This is home of the “almost world famous hamburgers.”
Bob’s was also voted as the “No. 1 Burger, Breakfast, and Place to East on the Delta.”
But you can easily get there on four wheels. Many customers here have been regulars since Bob’s opening in 1982. As for the basic hamburger, Bob’s serves it a one-third pound patty with dressing, mustard, onions, lettuce, and tomato on a giant bun.
Place: Bob’s at the Marina
Location: Village West Marina, 6639 Embarcadero Dr.
How to get there: From Interstate 5, take the West Benjamin Holt Drive west to the In-Shape Marina health club located directly across the parking lot.