At the intersection of where North Richmond blends eastward into San Pablo, a small burger joint has carved a big place in the community. Alex’s Giant Burger is the premier spot for tasty burgers, all-day omelets, and quick snacks in a neighborhood otherwise devoid of such cuisine.
“Hi, Cheryl! How are you today? Steve, hello! Your double burger is coming up right now.”Hannah, one of the co-owners of Alex’s Giant Burger, greets one customer after another from behind the counter as she preps food, tidies up the bar, and rings up bills. The burger joint’s centrality and quality have garnered an expansive, loyal group of regulars, and the owners seem to know them all personally.
Right behind Hannah is Alex. As the name of the restaurant implies, it is he who cooks and serves up the big burgers. Where Hannah is chatty and energetic, Alex is more taciturn and focused on the tasks before him —sizzling burgers, making fries, and plating cheesy omelets —but every so often when a customer thanks him by name, a grumbled “Thank you” will come out.
Hannah and Alex have a well-oiled machine running at their burger joint, but, at the end of the day, it’s still a burger joint. The menus will likely have some sort of condiment on them —mayonnaise, in my case —and the food will be a little greasy, but that’s just part of the experience.
Their burgers are simple, with few frills. The mushroom cheeseburger is about as ornate as their food gets. Stacked high with sautéed ‘shrooms, melty cheese, and a big beef patty, the burger is pretty enormous. A number of the regulars coming in and out asked for their sandwiches to be cut in half before they got it, and it might be wise to heed that advice for a more manageable meal.
Though simple, the burger was undeniably delicious. A little buttery and very juicy, the mushrooms add a slightly tart contrast to what could otherwise be an overwhelmingly savory meal. At just $5.45, it’s also one of the least expensive burgers in town.
That said, a meal at Alex’s Giant Burger should probably be an occasional event. The flavors are good, but most of them are fueled by the grease and meat of the burger, which, when paired with their tasty but no less greasy french fries, adds up to a fairly unhealthy meal.
There’s good reason for Alex’s Giant Burger being as popular as it is. The food is tasty, cheap, and the owners are delightful. For this small but central corner of town, Alex’s Giant Burger has the market cornered.
Alex’s Giant Burger
1789 Rumrill Boulevard, San Pablo
Monday - Saturday: 7 am to 7 pm
View their Yelp page here.
Photo: Sam Tavern Seattle