Excellent | Worth a Detour
Review by: ayersian
Eternally searching for the best hamburgers, we jumped at the chance to sample what fellow Roadfooder santacruz claimed to be “the best burger on the West Coast” at Val’s Burgers in Hayward. We found Val’s in the rolling hills of the southeastern Bay Area. The small parking lot was totally full, with anxious customers snagging parking spots on residential streets up to two blocks away.
The line was out the door and there was a longer wait for a table/booth. Fortunately, two counter stools opened. We planted ourselves to witness both the skillful food preparation and the waitresses pirouetting around each other while juggling multiple plates. Posted around the restaurant on large boards, an encyclopedic menu covers all three meals. Val’s signature cooked-to-order burgers come in three sizes: Baby (1/4-pound), Mama (1/2-pound), and Papa (1 pound). We opted for the Baby with jack cheese and grilled onions, plus a chili dog with cheddar, onion rings.
The burger is thick, hand-packed, and cooked medium-rare with a blush red, warm center. Grilled onions come on a separate plate for an extra charge and are enough to feed 3-4 people.
Split in half with bun and cheese on the bottom, a nine-inch wiener is grilled and slightly blackened, served entirely smothered with a chunky chili dominated by pinto beans. Fork required! “Oh, there is cheese under there, trust me!” explained our waitress as she placed the platter on the counter.
Onion rings are huge and heavily battered, and the malts are made to perfection: locally made vanilla ice cream blended then placed in a freezer for a few minutes before our waitress delivered it to us—you could even see the white chunks here and there of unmixed vanilla through the tall glass! After one mouthful and a brief discussion, we quickly realized that this is the best chocolate malt we’ve ever had anywhere in our travels.
Though most customers favor burgers, Val’s breakfast selections seemed to be popular on the tables around us. There was a little girl next to us celebrating her eighth birthday, eating a cheeseburger that she could barely hold with both hands. Now that’s our kind of party!
|Meals Served||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert|
|Credit Cards Accepted||No|