Redding, CA is a jumping-off point to Lake Shasta, the impressive Shasta Dam, and a variety of historical and natural wonders. For hungry travelers, Damburger (located in downtown Redding, minutes from I-5) offers an excellent way to prepare for a day of hiking and exploring. Damburger has been open since 1938, and the clean, modest restaurant was packed both inside and out during a recent lunch visit.
The grill at Damburger is a model of efficiency, and a seat at the counter offers a view of platters of burgers and fries being turned out at record speed. The cheeseburgers are made from small patties slung around on the grill until they gain deliciously crunchy edges; we enjoy the singles plus toppings (“original” comes with mustard, lettuce, and onions, and “the works” comes with the above plus pickle, ketchup and mayo), but a double would probably provide an even more deliciously beefy sandwich. The French fries are of the thin and crispy variety, fresh from the oil and well salted. The toasted buns and condiments aren’t fancy, but they are fresh, hot, and work alongside the burgers to make a delicious and memorable meal. An extra dollar gets you two strips of bacon, and it seems worth it, given how hot, crisp and tasty it is. In this sort of place we like to order a milkshake whenever possible, and the chocolate shake here is thick, cool, and full of pleasantly mild chocolate flavor.
Damburger’s staff is friendly and helpful, and their rapport with regular customers seems relaxed and genuine. As happy as we are with the burgers, we want to try one of the good-looking hot dogs, or maybe even a veggie burger (the chipotle black bean burger sounds spicy). Most intriguing of all is the “Dam Thing.” The menu describes it as a meat patty on top of a hot dog. The next time we’re heading north on I-5, we’ll make sure to provide a follow-up on the Dam Thing.