Val’s Burgers in Hayward

by foodhoe on April 23, 2010

2115 Kelly St, (between B St & Center St) Hayward, CA 94541 | 510.889.8257 |  Tue-Sat 6:30 am – 10 pm | cash only

San Leandro, my current hometown, is not known for its fine dining, a fact which inspired me to begin this blog – as a means for me to chronicle some of the food that I encountered out in the whacked out suburbs, along with what I devoured in the fine city of San Francisco where I used to work (I can’t believe that I forgot to even mark this blogs 5 year anniversary last February…)  Anyways, as long as I have lived out in the gustatory wasteland, Val’s Burgers in Hayward is the only restaurant of note in the area that people regularly point out to me as worth going to.  This old school burger joint is tucked way out on an obscure residential corner of Hayward, but it manages to have a line out the door at any given time.  SF Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer recently placed it as number 7 in an unofficial list of the best burgers in the Bay Area, Roadfood approved, SeriousEats worships it, and well Foodhoe gives her own stamp of approval.  Mr. K and I arrived on a Sunday around lunchtime and got in line, I must say that the parking was pretty competitive for this part of the world..

We stood in line for at least 20 minutes before we were seated in our own booth, which offered expansive views of the chuck wagon style wood lined interior.  Up front is the mustachioed gent in a white shirt and black vest who seems to embody the western theme of the restaurant.

Val’s is known throughout the realm for their malted milks and shakes, and I watched the hard working fellow constantly at work manning the fountain station.   The popular shakes are served in icy metal containers that seemed to hold more than enough for two to share.

The wonderful menu is so picturesque, I had the small BABY burger, Mr. K had a MAMA burger.

Mr. K began with the Tossed Green Salad ($3.75) which was a small handful of crisp iceberg lettuce, served with a single slice of dry, mealy tomato and a couple packets of seasoned Ry-Krisp crackers.  He did not seem to be very impressed with his side salad.

On the other hand, my order of Onion Rings was steller, each was coated in a delectably crisp, chewy batter with a densely breaded texture that enclosed thick rings of silky soft onion.  Absolutely heavenly… in fact, I can’t wait to go back and order the onion rings and one of those milkshakes!

On each table are plastic containers with relish, pickle chips and onion slices for you to detail your burger with.  Very cool touch, although the onions looked a little bit tired…

Here’s the 1/3 lb Baby Burger with cheddar cheese ($5.10), which came with tomato slices and lettuce.  The chuck burgers are ground fresh daily cooked on the grill to a delectable charred exterior.  The texture of the meat was crumbly and a bit on the greasy side as it dribbled a lot while I devoured it.  The mild cheese could have passed for american and along with the crisp iceberg lettuce and crunchy tomato slices, presented a classic old school cheeseburger.

Mr.K’s 1/2 lb Mama Burger with cheese for $6.10

It was a tasty burger to be sure, but rather greasy in comparison to the one I recently enjoyed at Zuni Cafe, or my other favorite Balboa burger, but those onion rings more than made up for it.  Many people say that the fries here are superb, given the choice between onion rings or fries (and when frings are not an option) I’ll always go with the rings…  From my neck of the woods, Val’s is pretty supreme.

Val's Burgers on Urbanspoon

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Cookie April 23, 2010 at 11:11 am

I guess the moral of the story is don’t order salad when you’re at a burger joint! I love how fresh the tomato slices look like!
.-= Cookie´s last blog ..A Quick and Yummy Baking Night Dinner =-.

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Rosa April 23, 2010 at 11:28 am

That salad looks a little poor… A nice little joint, though!

Cheers,

Rosa

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Juliana April 23, 2010 at 1:33 pm

The hamburger sure looks yummie 🙂

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Mrs. L April 23, 2010 at 3:13 pm

I think you should start taking me along on all these great places you eat at. Or at least make sure I have plenty of food in my stomach before I read about the places you go!

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Bonnibella April 23, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Val’s burger definitely has a great reputation but you say Balboa Burger is greater? I must make a trip to both now.
.-= Bonnibella´s last blog ..Chinese Wedding Banquet – Symbols Behind the 10 Courses =-.

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grace April 24, 2010 at 3:41 am

what pleases me most of all is that not only do they offer jack cheese, but it’s first on the list!
.-= grace´s last blog ..perfect for the lazy lover of alliteration =-.

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Phyllis April 26, 2010 at 11:18 am

I’ll always go for the rings too!
.-= Phyllis´s last blog ..Organic Biscotti for Earth Day =-.

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tigerfisht April 26, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Papa, Mama, Baby burgers – just reminded me of Goldilocks!

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Livin Local April 27, 2010 at 11:53 am

Local joints always have their own lore, partly due to the many stories that develop over the years, and also due to the fact that they can deny convention and just do their own thing. Having a local spot is always more satisfying than visiting someone else’s local spot. So, is Val’s your local?
.-= Livin Local´s last blog ..Lemony Cheese Danish =-.

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Selina March 15, 2011 at 1:48 am

Am definitely hungry now lol.

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