Healdsburger | Healdsburg

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Being asked how you want your hamburger cooked says everything about the hamburger you’re about to eat. Because any restaurant that can’t serve burgers still pink in the middle* might need to reconsider why they’re serving burgers at all.

And though fresh, cooked-to-order burgers may seem a lofty expectation for a rehabbed A&W drive-in, the old-is-new-again  Healdsburger (48 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg) may have finally risen above its frozen-patty past.

“How would you like that burger cooked?” is the first tip-off that the burgery is headed in the right direction.

Purchased by sports exec David Alioto in late 2011 there’s new promise in the whiffs of smoky, grilled beef that waft through the parking lot. Cheery outdoor picnic tables, freshly painted walls and some serious Cloroxing since my last visit are the next tip-off that someone cares. Channeling the retro-nostalgic, Wine Country vibe of Gott’s Roadside (aka Taylor’s Automatic Refresher) you’ll immediately recognize the aluminum serving trays and lack of service ware that’s become at Gott’s hallmark, along with an attentive, uniformed crew of under 25-ish kids snapping to attention when orders come in.

The produce is spanking fresh (not sad iceberg or pale tomatoes), real ice cream shakes whir in the blender and a manual potato cutter (similar to the ones at In-N-Out) thumps into action every few minutes.

But what’s bringing back the crowds: Off-square pricing for on-square deliciousness. As in $5.75 for a juicy, toasted sesame seed bun, Guy-would-flip-his-wig this is so divey-good, kind of burger.

That’s not to say you can’t get a $12 Wine Country creation if you’re feeling fancy. Cheese and other toppings are a la carte, so expect to pay more if you’re gussying things up. Daily Specials get creative (The Hangover has bacon, cheddar and a fried egg, along with the usual fixins), and change up frequently, but are usually about $10 with fries and a drink.

For cardiac tight-rope walkers, the 14-ounce double patty ‘Mondo’ ($7.75) offers twice the patty fun. Kids get a nod with the 3-ounce mini, hot dogs, corn dogs, and chicken strips. Fries (skin on, of course) are included with most specials.  Milk shakes are generous and creamy, but grown-ups may prefer the spike of a Chocolate Stout Float.

Healdsburger is finally the little neighborhood drive-in with burgers worthy of the discriminating palates of its hometown. And a burger just the way you ordered it.

Healdsburger: 48 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, (707) 473-9604.

*Your willingness to eat meat the way it should be cooked may vary. They’ll incinerate your burger (ie: medium/well) if that’s what you really want.


Author: biteclub

Food Dining and Restaurants in Sonoma County and beyond, BiteClubEats.com is Wine Country dining with Drive-Thru Sensibility.

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  1. Not a fast food burger but nothing special. Pine Cafe burgers are something to brag about.

  2. What a great place to enjoy a fantastic burger (an affordable one too) in the wine country. I liked the fact that the food was fresh, sevice was good, and the place was clean! I am looking forward to going back again in the summer and sitting outside on the picknick tables. A great family place to go and enjoy!

  3. Had dinner at Healdsburgers a few weeks ago with friends!
    The owner made us our own special ordered burgers. I had my favorite; Cheeder cheese, mushrooms, onions and avocado. It was the best juicy burger I’ve ever had! The fries were great and the milk shakes were to die for! Fresh paint, new tables and the improvements continue. The staff was very nice. It was a memorable evening with friends. For being a health nut, my normal food is fish & poultry, but I couldn’t get that juicy beef burger out of my mnd for a week. Healdsburgers is a nice family restaurant and a nice place to have lunch or dinner with friends. I look forward to my next visit!

  4. good food, but way to overpriced.

  5. Can’t wait to try it out. I was totally scared of the previous place which looked dirty and gross. We used to go by there saying that a fresh place (a la Gotts/Taylor’s) should be in that place as it has a great name and location.

  6. Went to Healdsburger tonight with my husband and son and had a fantastic experience! The service was excellent and they went above and beyond to help keep our young, toddler son happy so that my husband and I could enjoy our dinner. Great family place that cares about their customers! Food was fresh and burger is best we’ve had in town. We will be back. Happy to have this establishment in the neighborhood :)

  7. Went there today and I have 3 comments: 1st. Service was friendly and helpful. I finished my 1st drink before food arrived and they didn’t charge me for a 2nd but different one. 2nd. Great burger, cooked just as I asked and it was tender, juicy, and flavorful. 3rd. The fries were among the worst I’ve ever had. They were mushy and had an off taste that was either form old oil or less then fresh potatoes. I’d go back for the burgers and the service; but I won’t be ordering fries again.

  8. Went there today and I have 3 comments:

  9. Good burger today but waited >30 min and it was not busy!!!!!! I hope they iron this out since I would go back.

  10. Went to lunch their yesterday and had what I considered in that moment to be a perfect cheeseburger.Everything about it was fresh and good. The medium rare meat was juicy but NOT greasy!
    I rarely use the term perfect anything but this was and the malt was very malty and not too thick.

  11. I went there in January, great burger! Went there again in February, even better cause where else can you get an awesome burger with an ice cold brew? Oh and did I mention I’m from Fresno? Worth the drive? He’ll yea!

  12. interesting. they told me the sweet potatoes weren’t ready the day i was there too…hmmmm

  13. Great burgers both time’s I’ve been in the last six months, however…


    They should bring them back. That would keep me comming back!!!

  14. I’m with Lee. I stopped going there because they were closed more than open.

  15. But does it have a happy hour???

  16. GREAT BURGERS!!! Yes, the “Small Fry” will feed 3 or 4 people…Alotta food for great prices. My Chicken Burger was SO GOOD…REAL CHICKEN BREAST!! :)) Cejo’s Tire Shop sends many customers over there to wait!! Good Advice. I will definitely go back to try different things….(Their Chili is suppose to be REALLY GOOD)…

  17. So happy to hear there are new owners with “fresh” food. It is a great location and we look forward to trying it!

  18. Had a wicked good blue cheese burger a few days ago with the largest “small” order of fries I’ve ever seen. Quick service, very good food and reasonably priced. All employees were smiling and happy to see every customer that walked in the door. Well worth the $.

  19. Let’s hope they’ll actually be open during their posted hours. It used to suck driving there and having it be closed.

  20. I’ve been here twice since ownership changed over. The milk shakes are GREAT and so is the grilled chicken sandwich. My daughter, however, misses the kids toys they used to have outside.

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