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ISO - Greek owned burger joints in the Bay Area?

Ever since Heavenly Hamburger (Santa Rosa) closed down in September I haven't had a decent burger... and I am really craving a good one. No scratch that, I am craving a great one.

While I've had some memorable fancy burgers over the years - the Bleu Cheeseburger at Harris Ranch comes to mind - and yes the fancy burgers have their merit... I have yet to taste anything that challenges the hedgemony held by Los Angeles' Greek owned ghetto burger joints.

What are they? They are ubiquitous, high volume free standing mini chain restaurants with names like Dino's, Troy's & Astro's that are found only in the poorer neighborhoods like East L.A., South Central, Inglewood etc., Even though they are seperately owned chains & some individual places - they offer a consistently, excellent burgers made of low cost frozen beef patties.

The unifying thread? They are part of a vertically integrated Greek fast food industry that includes meat & gyro suppliers, pickled cucumber & greek chile suppliers, bakers etc., and of course the restaurant operators.

What is it about the burgers? Imagine the same spice & dry herb blending skills displayed in good Gyros... not that its the same blend - it isn't - but there is just something addicting about the seasoning (in the way that Doritos can be addicting) & in their thousand island dressings + the smoke from the beef grime accumulating on the grills that surpasses all bland attempts by even America's most reknown chefs.

Now with that said... is there any chance we have the same thing in the bay area?

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  1. Claremont Diner's owned by a greek guy. Different ecosystem than what
    you're looking for, though. Still, good burgers. Plus peas in the salad.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chuckles the Clone

      Nope, I know Javad & Majhid. They're both Persian. Also, not at all what the OP's looking for (as you already know). Agreed, though, that the burger's pretty good.

      1. There's a 70's era Greek owned burger place on West Grand west of San Pablo. Well it use to be Greek owned. Haven't been for 3-4 years. Sorry, don't recall the name.

        It's pretty much what you'd get in LA/SoCal...even looks similar to SoCal places, big yellow sign. Breakfast at Greek burger places in SoCal seem to be a bargain as well.

        1 Reply
        1. Henny Penny's, the diner in Petaluma, was Greek-owned until the "colorful" owner met a violent death about 3 years ago. Don't know who's running it now. Never liked the food much.

          1. Awww.. this post takes me back to highschool.

            I guess there isn't a big greek community in the bay?

            1 Reply
            1. re: ExtraCheese

              There's a fair-sized Greek community, judging from the number of churches, youth groups, festivals, and so on.

            2. I haven't been there, but if you're close to Dublin, there is Athens Burger on Dublin Blvd. Not exactly sure if it's Greek owned, but by the likes of the name...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Foodrat

                Athens Burgers (Gyros, Greek salad) 6999 Dublin Blvd Dublin 925-803-8135

                Can testify its owned by a Greek..the guy & his wife work in the restaurant. He flips the burgers & manages the restaurant, his wife runs the counter

              2. The pizza place in Crystal Springs Shopping Center in Belmont (or San Mateo?) also has Greek food. I think they have a burger. Can't vouch for it.

                1. I have two suggestions: 1) Call St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in SJ (408) 246-2770 and ask them your question. St. Nicholas is where they hold the big Greek festival every Summer and a church is almost always the center of a cultural center. If there are Greek-owned burger places as you've described them, the church personnel will almost certainly know about them. There used to be (might still be) another Greek festival in Marin somewhere, but I haven't been in years and can't recall the name of the group sponsoring it. 2) Google the SoCal chains you've been reminiscing about and call/e-mail them and ask if they have cousins in the business in the Bay Area. Greek families stay in touch and often stay in the same industry. Good luck.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: MobyRichard

                    "Google the SoCal chains you've been reminiscing about and call/e-mail them and ask if they have cousins in the business in the Bay Area. Greek families stay in touch and often stay in the same industry."

                    That sounds like a good idea. Overall, I am getting the impressing we don't have the same thing up here... otherwise you would have been all over them already.

                    1. re: MobyRichard

                      You might also want to try asking folks at the Greek Church in the Oakland hills, near the amphitheater

                    2. Does it help your craving to hear that these regionalisms make eating worthwhile?

                      Probably not, but I think it needed saying.

                      Good luck...

                        1. Last summer I had a "greek burger" at a place in Walnut Creek called, I think, Silk Road. It was, as you describe, well seasoned with some herb/spice mix, but it was wrapped in their large thin "pita" bread. I thought it quite good, but seem to have forgotten about it until reading this post. The "pita" is not like the insipid pocket pita type breads of your typical falafel sandwich, but a much thinner, no-pocket, almost flour tortilla-like bread. It is large enough that when they serve it as an appetizer, it is folded over and cut into fractions and served with a garlic-herb dip. Based on that one visit, I'd go again, but I don't get out there much.