In the 1600s, German ships from Hamburg, German began sailing to Russian ports and eventually brought back “steak tartare,” which usually consists of raw chopped beef with a raw egg, capers and onions. A few centuries later, a cooked version of the dish became “Hamburg Steak.” This dish, however, resembled more of a meatloaf than the hamburgers we’re familiar with today.
The true origin of hamburgers in the United States is open to much interpretation. Many cite the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis as the first examples of hamburgers sold in this country, with Tyrolean Alps Restaurant selling “Hamburger Steak, plain” and “Hamburger Steak with Onions.”
Some restaurants, particularly in the New England area, credit themselves as having the first hamburger sandwich, but these accounts are often under dispute. The invention of the hamburger bun is often credited to Walter Anderson, the co-founder of White Castle, in 1916.
The third restaurant on our list is Nana’s Cafe. The small restaurant, located at 525 Pine Avenue in Holtville, sports a cozy ambiance complete with pictures of local people and events adorning the walls.
The menu at Nana’s Cafe combines Mexican favorites, like Carne Asada and Enchiladas, with American diner standards, like burgers, soup and salads.
The wait staff at Nana’s allows the customer to seat themselves and drink orders came quickly.
Nana’s Burger, the restaurant’s name for a bacon cheeseburger, was selected. The bun was toasted lightly with butter and the bun was smeared with mayo. The dish comes with choice of sides, including fries, onion rings, potato salad and more.
The burger came topped with American cheese and two slices of well-cooked bacon. Lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle were kept separate from the burger.
The burger had good beef flavor and plenty of juices. It was quite sizeable as well. The crunchiness of the bacon was welcome given the softer fare from previous restaurants.
The fries ordered were average. Not to flavorful, but they are potatoes after all.
Price: $6.99 for the Nana’s Burger.
Service Score: B. The service is friendly and quite attentive during off hours, but at lunch, the service can be quite hectic with dozens of orders going at once.
Meal Score: B+. Not perfect, but pretty good for a small restaurant.
[Where will Phil’s search for the best burger in the Valley lead us? Read the Weekly-Chronicle next week to find out!]