What could be more mid-century California than a burger joint? I was driving by this place and I couldn’t help but stop. 1/4 lb. Giant Burger? What kind of a name is that? What is this place? I had to know.
Founded by the Hambrick family in the 1950’s, the restaurant was opened to serve drivers of Route 238 (now Mission boulevard) before freeways took drivers off the local roads. Originally named ‘Hambrick’s 1/4 lb. Giant Burger’, additional locations were opened in Berkeley and Oakland in the 1960s. At some point, the name was changed to ‘1/4 lb. Giant Burger’. The chains’ Hayward location is now owned by the Hahn family and was completely renovated sometime around 2011. Lucky for us they chose to stay true to the original mid-century design, retaining the buildings’ original interior and exterior, including the signature larger-than-life sign. It’s still standing just as it has since the 50’s.
Don’t expect a sit-down experience at 1/4 lb. Giant Burger. There’s only a walk-up window and a small counter area that serves what you would expect — GIANT, big-as-your-head burgers and fries three ways: plain, chili and chili cheese. If you’re still hungry after the fries and giant burger you can wash it all down with a root beer float or a thick shake.
It’s easy to see why 1/4 lb. Giant Burger has remained a landmark long after cars took to the freeways. The food is good, and you can’t miss that sign.