Thursday, April 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Dave’s Giant Hamburgers has legacy – and no fries

Dave's Giant Hamburger

Julie Wright prepares some very large chili burgers Wednesday at Dave's Giant Hamburger along North Texas Street in Fairfield. (Conner Jay/Daily Republic)

By
From page SOS7 | December 30, 2012 | 1 Comment

FAIRFIELD — Anyone who’s had a burger from Dave’s in the past 49 years knows what it tastes like today.

Dave’s Giant Hamburgers has been at its North Texas Street location for 49 years and still uses the same kind of meat, buns and cheese as it did when it opened. Even the grill is original.

“When you buy a burger here, you know it’s super fresh and it’s Kraft cheese,” said Lesa Gonzalez, daughter of the original owner, Dave Heim. “When people come back and are hitting the town, they have to hit Dave’s.”

Gonzalez now runs the burger joint after her dad died six years ago. Recently, her mother Carol couldn’t handle the day-to-day operation, so Gonzalez jumped in. Gonzalez is no stranger to the place as she has helped out on and off since she started making milkshakes in the eighth grade.

Heim had never owned a restaurant before walking away from his accountant job in San Francisco to open the small burger shack that backs up to Armijo High School. She said he hated accounting and loved big, juicy burgers like Nation’s.

That led to him taking over the business from another owner and renaming it. At one point, the sign read “Heimburgers,” but was eventually taken down due to confusion by customers.

It wasn’t long before he started picking up business and bonding with the customers. His orange Chevy truck became a landmark, parked outside while he flipped burgers.

“He lived here,” Gonzalez said. “When you saw the truck around town, everybody knew it was Dave driving by.”

Much of the 1950s-themed decor still looks as it did years ago. The checkerboard floors, bar stools and turquoise paint speak of a diner from the past. As for that paint, apparently Heim was notorious for finding a bargain. When it came to painting, a buddy turned him on to some cheap paint. He agreed and slapped a coat on.

“My dad was color blind, in his defense,” she said with a laugh. “He got a good deal. The good deal was mixing all of the paint colors together.”

As the reputation grew, so did the stories behind one of the things that set Dave’s apart from nearly every burger joint. Dave’s does not sell french fries. While there are many stories behind the reason, Gonzalez said it comes down to money. It was more work than they were worth after buying the fryer, keeping it up, buying the grease and selling the fries for a small profit.

“He had a million jokes about that,” she said. “People that like the burger get it. We don’t need the fries.”

Patrons must settle for a bag of chips or chili as a side dish. Gonzalez said some people will walk out when they realize there are no fries.

“They leave. It happens. But we’re not here to make them happy,” she said. “We know it’s a new person when someone orders fries.”

One regular who doesn’t mind is Taylor Torrence, who has been eating there since he was in first grade.

“With how good the burgers are, I don’t need them,” the 18-year-old said of fries. “I know most of the workers here, too. It’s a nice environment.”

Serving him that cheeseburger was Kelly Paulson, Gonzalez’s daughter. The 24-year-old worked with her grandfather when he used to bring her home from school. At one point, she was recruited to work the grill.

“I think he didn’t want to pick me up, so he said, ‘Put an apron on,’ ” Paulson said.

It’s unclear if she will one day run the business, but for now she’s happy to carry on the tradition.

“I was born into the legacy,” she said. “I’m always going to be here to help.”

Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or dbernardini@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.

 

Dave’s Giant Hamburgers
Address: 1055 N. Texas St., Fairfield
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday

Danny Bernardini

Danny Bernardini

Danny is a newspaper man born and raised in Vacaville. He attended Chico State University and has written for the Enterprise Record and the Reporter. Covers the City of Fairfield, education and crime. A's, Warriors and Saints fan. Listener of vinyl, frequent visitor to the East Bay. Registered "decline to state" voter. Loves a good steak.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • steve terrellJune 28, 2013 - 5:45 am

    i ate at daves since i was 15 he opened and we became friends, i am 64 now .i used to work for dave after i got out of the service i cleaned his place when he used to close at 2 am. i moved from fairfield in 2002.but i would call him once in awhile.i would paint for him and do things around his business i painted the ceiling once,walls,clean the floor etc ,i put a new floor in the bed of his orange truck,used it to move ...i would take burgers instead of money for helping him sometimes he'd say free burgers for a month or a week .he has the best burgers i ever tasted,i always try to find burger places to see if they have daves taste ,haven't found one yet...my wife agrees his burgers were the best ....anywhere... he was a good friend and i miss him.he will always be my friend.he was funny and loved his family and his customers.dave heim worked for s.p. at one market st ,s.f. before he moved to fairfield.i worked for s.p. then u.p. bought them out and i finally retired in 2006 ,now live in arkansas.i have alot of stories about dave and i know his children and wife ...some day i will travel to fairfield to eat a dave's giant burger and pay my respects...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Congressman talks Travis, water

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

Travis lines up 2 days of aviation excellence

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Appreciate how good we have it now

By Angela Borchert | From Page: A2

 
 
Dixon May Fair has deals on advance tickets

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Garamendi talks love, pro football and Peace Corps

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Author to sign books at Vacaville Museum

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Kroc Center women schedule inaugural Taster Tea

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Docents to lead paddling tour in marsh

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

Juneteenth committee extends vendors, exhibitors deadline

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Congressional Art Competition is back

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Spilled tomato juice case set for trial

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4, 5 Comments

Theme park welcomes seal pup

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
 
Suisun City police log: April 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: April 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: April 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Weather for Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

Fairfield police log: April 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Syrian activists accuse Assad of new gas attacks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Murder charge for Vallejo man in head-on crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

California bill reignites affirmative action fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
Andy Lopez protest leads to school campus lockdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

Navy Cross bestowed on heroic Marine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Airport official: Teen had no clue he was in Maui

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

US weighs clemency for inmates jailed for 10 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Gun carry rights expanded in Ga. under new law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

First lady announces one-stop job site for vets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

 
Rail safety effort marred by squabbling

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Small Wyoming town evacuated after gas explosion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Bashtag: NYPD Twitter campaign backfires

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Soldier convicted in WikiLeaks case gets new name

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Lawyer: US man held in Cuba seeks to go home soon

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Captain who left doomed ferry had 40 years at sea

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Russian social media CEO quits, flees country

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Amid Russia warning, Ukraine is in a security bind

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Palestinian rivals to try again for unity deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Camilla’s brother dies in US after head injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
State senators get ethics training after scandals

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 7 Comments

.

Opinion

Question of the week: Will Flight 370 be found?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

 
Be the first and give specifics

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

What we can do about crime

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11, 14 Comments

 
Castro at odds with mentor on deportations

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11

Some Earth Day boos and cheers

By Jay Ambrose | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Today in History for April 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

When Joe’s mad at me, he also ignores my 7-year-old son

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes for April 24, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Jodie Foster weds artist Alexandra Hedison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Singer Chris Brown’s DC trial delayed for months

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Performing dogs go big after $1 million TV prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Amazon snares classic shows in deal with HBO

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
.

Sports

Mustangs swim to sweep of Indians

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Warriors, Clippers to meet in Oakland for Game 3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Sharks confident with chance to sweep LA Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Girls soccer update: Armijo, Vanden on way to playoffs

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

A’s reject 10-year Coliseum lease offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Prep softball: Vanden rolls to 14-0 win over Fairfield

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Prep badminton: Unbeaten Mustangs cruise past Crushers

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Prep boys golf: Vikings suffer SCAC loss to Panthers

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Sanchez’s slam in 11th helps Giants beat Rox 12-10

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Prep track: Armijo girls get win in MEL 4-way meet

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Perez helps Rangers sweep A’s with 3-0 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Party a century in the making for Wrigley Field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Emmert supports more efficient, effective NCAA

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Phelps having fun in his return to swimming

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Suns’ Dragic honored as NBA’s Most Improved Player

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Seahawks to open NFL season vs. Packers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Oldest living ex-MLB player dies in Cuba at 102

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Business

Wellness programs grow more popular with employers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Sales of new US homes plunge 14.5 percent in March

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Buffett disapproves of Coca-Cola’s pay plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Amazon snares classic shows in deal with HBO

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

US stocks edge lower after a six-day rise

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Facebook 1Q results soar; CFO to step down

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6, 1 Comment

 
.

Obituaries

Phyllis J. Miller

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Dondi Martin

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard Of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9