Though the owners are new, not much has changed at Santa Rosa’s Original Superburger since it’s opening more than 30 years ago.
It’s a tried-and-true formula was simple: honest burgers, fries and onion rings served up in red plastic baskets around an old school lunch counter. Pies were homemade, as were the milkshakes. Folks from the neighborhood packed the place and the waitresses greeted regulars by name.
With a cool retro vibe inside, the place feels pretty much like it always has. Milkshakes are still made the old-fashioned way–with ancient looking Hamilton Beach mixers, milk and ice cream. The pie rack still has fresh-made pies (from Mom’s). The burgers are still fried up to order and the King Burger is still a charbroiled half-pounder with all the fixings.
And you just know a burger’s gonna be good when the counter sports rolls of paper towels rather than napkins.
Newer to the menu are Wine Country burger creations including the St. Helena Avenue (a burger with BBQ sauce, bacon, cheddar and onion rings, $7.95), the Montecito Avenue (with bacon, Jack and guacamole, ($7.95), the McDonald Avenue (with mushrooms and warm Gorgonzola, $7.95) and, the Town and Country ($8.95), two mini-sized versions of any of the burgers on the menu. Great for indecisive folks. Also on new to the menu are Schwarz dogs, kosher weenies made in San Francisco, served straight up or with corned beef, cheese and kraut. Kids get top billing, as well, with their own menu of mini burgers, toasted cheese or (and honestly, I want one of these) toasted peanut butter, bananas and jam for $3.
Despite a few kinks when the restaurant re-opened in 2008, it’s settled into a comfortable neighborhood routine, serving up solid buns and burgers done simply and spectacularly.
Owner Bill Cordell has opened a second Original Superburger in Penngrove and also owns the evening service at Blue Label at the Belvedere.
Original Superburger, 1501 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 546-4016. Open 11am to 8pm Monday through Thursday, 11am to 10pm Friday and Saturday, closed Sunday.
4 thoughts on “Original Superburger | Santa Rosa”
Hey Mr Bill;
Deanna told me you bought a burger joint…Can’t wait to see you. Good Luck!
Gayle was never nice and Doug was a sweetie. I worked for a service company who they often used and spoke with them many times. Once I went it and got the tinest burger and it wsa nothing to write home about. Tiny and expensive. John Barleycorns over on Yulupa across from Safeway makes a mean burger. I forgot the name but it comes on a roll with bacon, grilled mushrooms and onions, blue cheese and spicy wing sauce poured over. Don’t eat all day if you plan on going because this thing is huge and you will become addicted. Their wing sauce is awesome! I hope they are still open……..haven’t been there for awhile.
I went there for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it seems the kinks you described almost a year ago are still in place. Though it was about a half hour before closing time when we arrived and there was a meager crowd, we had to wait about twenty minutes for our order to arrive. All three burgers were cooked at least a grade less than how they’d been ordered and they arrived at different times. I ordered a malt with mine and it didn’t arrive until I was nearly done with my burger (and after my girlfriend had asked about it). Nothing about the place, the food, or the service to encourage me to give them another try, particularly with so many competitors in town.
The original superburger is the best burger i’ve eaten in Sonoma County. I’ve tried Mikes, Carmen’s Burger Bar, phyllis’s, etc, and I definitely prefer Superburger. Great Job Guys!
Posted By: Disappointed in Mike’s (17/08/2008 3:04:39 PM)
Comment: Unlike my recent visit to Mike’s at the Crossroads, during which I came to the sad conclusion that the place is grossly overrated, I came away from The Original Superburger satisfied, if not totally thrilled. The service is rather slow when the place gets busy, but when it comes, the food is good. I still prefer Burger City in Rohnert Park, but if I’m in downtown Santa Rosa and want a burger, I’ll probably wander up to Superburger.
Posted By: A (10/05/2008 10:00:12 PM)
Comment: My bf and I are burger enthusiets… were excited to try the new Super burger but our burgers (ordered MED WELL and WELL) were both raw in the middle. The burger was a mess, and the meat didn’t even taste great. Now that the Chippery is gone, I’ll stick to Ozzy’s for a good burger.
Posted By: Bob (22/04/2008 11:34:56 AM)
Comment: I’m glad Gayles changed ownership. Frankly, everyone in there seemed cranky and missing a personality. The first time I ate there, my burger (Which I taken to go) was definately RAW inside. So the new ownership deserves a break! Even Gayles didn’t get it right some of the time.
Posted By: Allison (28/03/2008 12:36:18 PM)
Comment: D’s Diner in Sebastopol is yummy, but my favorite gourmet cheesburger is from Underwood in Graton. Add white cheddar and bacon please! Frites or salad on the side! Yummy!
Posted By: BW (07/03/2008 7:34:32 PM)
Comment: The Superburger is a “Burger Landmark” in Santa Rosa and should be recognized for its excellent burgers, pies, Gayle’s (charisma) and the three daughters who actually started working at the joint in the 70’s. Back in the old days the cheese burger and fries were $3.49, the chocolate shake was $1.50 and a piece of apple pie was $1.25 – It was a great deal and it was great diner food!!!.
Posted By: CW (07/03/2008 7:23:22 PM)
Comment: The Superburge
Posted By: Scott (07/03/2008 2:36:38 PM)
Comment: Hey Jay-Do enlightening us on a better burger joint I am always looking for a good burger.
Posted By: Jay (07/03/2008 12:25:42 PM)
Comment: Mikes ?? are you kidding .. Mike would have to get over a LOT of things to get the general public into that place. Many MANY other great burger places besides that dump. it’s a place for the under 25 Coors light crowd, and it smells like it.
Posted By: Scott (07/03/2008 10:55:57 AM)
Comment: Not a bad burger not really great but whats up with the BBQ sauce? NOTHING like a Mikes Burger now if we can just get Mike over his strange fear of Fries, LOL.
Posted By: tom (06/03/2008 4:24:20 PM)
Comment: Mike’s At the Crossroads in Rohnert Park is still the best.
Posted By: please delete the last post (06/03/2008 3:21:15 PM)
Comment: by pam that directly rips doug and gayle…if you’re gonna delete my post that indirectly ripped pam…thanks heather…
Posted By: pam (04/03/2008 3:32:22 PM)
Comment: i”m glad to hear gayle and doug no longer own superburger,i worked for them and they were the meanest people to work for,i will probably try out the new owner
Posted By: JMF (04/03/2008 2:45:28 PM)
Comment: The burgers are great and hospitality is very good. I would recommend this place to my friends.
Posted By: Michelle (03/03/2008 10:27:01 PM)
Comment: Ohhh yeah… Taylor’s Refresher – it’s in the St. Helena area and also in San Franciso. By far the BEST burger ever!! The line is long, but definitely worth the wait, also.. it is not the cheapest burger, and maybe not the healthiest burger, but it is daammm good!!!!
Posted By: bill (03/03/2008 7:58:44 PM)
Comment: Doug will cooking Thursday and Saturday lunches for a while.
Posted By: bobinmb (03/03/2008 3:18:10 PM)
Comment: We moved away from SR 9 years ago, but always went to Gayle’s when we returned to SR for a visit. I always thought Doug made an excellent burger and the atmosphere was great. But if the new owner screws up, there is always the really good burger place on the main drag in Cloverdale or another really good burger place on the south side of St Helena on Hwy 29. They make really good shakes and burgers. Now I am starting to get hungry and want to go to one of these places. Lucky all you folks in SR.
Posted By: Gotta Get A Good Burger (03/03/2008 9:46:32 AM)
Comment: jim – if you want an organic, grass feed beef burger – try East West Cafe across from Howarth Park. Among other wonderful organic and healthy eats, their burgers are GREAT too! And no – I am not a self – promoter, I just really enjoy good healthy food.
Posted By: Terry (03/03/2008 7:37:46 AM)
Comment: Just wondering if they have some sort of meat alternative (I know, you’ll probably consider it sacrelegious) I love fresh shakes and fries as much as the next person, but I’m not too keen on meat.
Posted By: bill (01/03/2008 9:53:41 PM)
Comment: The pies aren’t “Mom’s Pies”, they are called mom’s pies to convey the fact that they are homemade. Also, the ground chuck is fresh everyday from a Sonoma County source, not anything that has anything to do with big processing facilities or frozen meat or even recalled meat from out of town. Also, the buns are fresh baked by a local bakery everyday. The changes are small, but everything is just a little bit fresher and better. For example, on the old menu a King cheese and rings upgraded with cheddar and bacon would run $8.40 plus $1.75 for the bacon and an additional .75 for the cheese for a total of $10.90. Now that same burger is also $10.90 but is made with a fresh baked bun and fresh ground chuck and a thick slice of local cheese for no extra charge. Thanks for reading 🙂
Posted By: Don (01/03/2008 6:40:07 PM)
Comment: Gayle was always rude but the food was decent. I like this new Original Superburger much better. Nice folks, and better food. The only reason I only ate occasionally at Gayle’s SB was because she was such a sour puss. I only ate there when I was starving and happened to be driving by. I’ll be at the new SB regularly.
Posted By: jeff (01/03/2008 12:43:58 PM)
Comment: I just wanted to let you all know that there is another great burger place, up in Mendocino, that recently got new owners. They came out to California from NYC, and bought Mendo Burgers. The place is twenty years old. Harold and Loretta, the original owners, were real characters, but so are Barbara and Jeff. They’ve added organic, grass fed beef to the menu, offer fresh rock cod and fresh turkey. Try getting away from the traffic and have a great burger. Call me a shameless self-promoter, I own the place.
Posted By: Michelle (01/03/2008 8:23:52 AM)
Comment: Jim – Carmen’s is the only place I know of that will serve a turkey burger in leiu of all their regular burgers. I always get their patty melt using ground turkey instead of hamburger, it’s delicious! I know it’s not the same as organic/grass fed cattle… but it is a nice alternative. And, I do share the same concerns as you do in regards to safety and hormones in our meats today!
Posted By: jim (01/03/2008 6:31:00 AM)
Comment: I love a good burger. But considering the horrible shortcomings of the beef/meat industry, I only eat organic or grass fed beef. I’m waiting for one of the good burger joints around town to start making their burgers with that quality of meat. Does anybody share my concern, or know if any of the burger joints are already doing that?
Posted By: sunshine (29/02/2008 8:18:41 PM)
Comment: The new place will never make it. Doug and Gayle were personalites that will be missed. They were always nice to me, the hamburgers where great and so were the pies. Mom’s pies aren’t homemade, homemade is just that not from a business. We will miss SuperBugers and will not be going to Original Whatever the food is bad as is the cook.
Posted By: Michelle (29/02/2008 7:02:25 PM)
Comment: Nice copy & paste job :o) I think I like Gayle’s answer better.
Posted By: http:// (29/02/2008 2:59:05 PM)
Comment: Anybody who likes being insulted by a waitress is a little weird in my book. That’s why NY is NY and CA is CA—in CA we don’t do that stuff to each other. Moreover, the question of what’s the difference between a malt and a milkshake is not a stupid one. It actually requires a scientific answer that I’ll bet “Gayle” was unable to provide: Malted milk is a powdered food product made from a mixture of malted barley, wheat flour, and whole milk, which are evaporated until it forms a powder. Malt powder comes in two forms: diastatic and non-diastatic. Diastatic malt contains enzymes that break down starch into sugar; this is the form bakers add to bread dough to help the yeast rise and create a good crust. Non-diastatic malt has no active enzymes and is used primarily for flavor, mostly in beverages. It sometimes contains sugar, coloring agents, and other additives.
Posted By: norma (29/02/2008 1:24:39 PM)
Comment: If its not broke, don’t try to ‘fix’ it. Why the change in the way they make their burgers? Plus..its $2.00 more, yikes! plus they put the bbq sauce on and its cold and the whole burger was cold, fast..don’t think I’ll go back.
Posted By: cassy (28/02/2008 5:21:55 PM)
Comment: I HAVE BEEN IN A FEW TIMES NOW FROM THE grand opening !!!! the only reason i go back is the waitress who has been there a few years! The new want to be cook shows his inexperienced cooking skills !!!!
Posted By: Mr. Tudball (28/02/2008 11:06:26 AM)
Comment: Superburger was good…but its precedent, the Doggie Diner, was OUTSTANDING!
Posted By: Gayle was great… (28/02/2008 9:30:00 AM)
Comment: I loved it when she ran me over for asking her the shake/malt question. We are way too politically correct these days…we’d be a lot better off if people were honest instead of always dancing around things so as to not possibly offend someone. I’d rather go to a place with some attitude than some boring old vanilla joint.
Posted By: deepmeister (27/02/2008 10:08:16 PM)
Comment: Actually I liked the old place. Gayle’s “crusty” personality cannot be replicated…….but she meant well. You had to be a regular to get to know her and Doug. We went there many times and hoped they would never leave. But things change. I wish the new owners the best of luck!!
Posted By: Randy G (27/02/2008 7:43:38 PM)
Comment: Funny, I don’t remember them as being rude or crude (the old owners). One thing that the article writer didn’t mention is that the “bring a paper and be prepared to wait” IS THE GOD DANG POINT of the old places. NO rushing around! Sit a while as needed before, during, after work so as to not stress out. Everyone is in such a hurry! Don’t worry (though I do) about others not being able to get in while you sit, we all need to relax! The way things were is you took time at those counters, talked with the regulars, read a paper, headed off to work! 🙂 Gosh dang it! Bring back the old days! 😉
Posted By: Q (27/02/2008 6:44:19 PM)
Comment: Seems to be confusion about Dowling and Darling. It’s Gayle Darling and Doug Dowling.
Posted By: markeology (27/02/2008 5:51:05 PM)
Comment: My son and I love Superburger because it captures a midwestern/east coast feel of consistently good, basic food served hot with ‘tude. I would be happy if nothing changed, but if the food starts to become spotty we’re off to Carmens. In short, rude or polite (the new owners should choose), keep the burgers and fries coming just the way they are while feeling free to ADD to the choices that are the familiar fair at a favorite spot.
Posted By: Vince (27/02/2008 5:27:17 PM)
Comment: Good luck to the new owners. Sounds like they want to continue a great tradition. I hope they don’t change it *too* much.
Posted By: Noonan (27/02/2008 5:23:14 PM)
Comment: Let’s be honest those old owners and most who worked at Gayle’s were not nice and treated most customers very rudely. It’s a neat place with good food. Just to walk in and be greeted by a nice new owner will be great. Good bye Dowling’s welcome new owners. Its about time!!!
Posted By: Queenie (27/02/2008 1:18:03 PM)
Comment: Its Darling, not Dowling . . . whoops 🙂
Posted By: Good luck to ya, but (27/02/2008 12:27:02 PM)
Comment: SuperBurger will never be the same without Gayle. One time I asked her, in the middle of a crowded lunch hour, what the difference was between a malt and a shake. She looked at me and said loud enough for everyone in the place, including Doug, to hear: “Are you f***ing stupid or what?” That kind of personality cannot be replicated.