The first big raindrops of the first big storm of the season didn't deter dozens of hamburger enthusiasts from lining up this noon for the first big restaurant opening of the year.
Suzie Burger, the latest culinary adventure of brothers Fred and Matt Haines, opened at 11 a.m. today in a former Orbit gas station at 29th and P. Within an hour, virtually all 86 inside seats were occupied.
Benny Ogata, son of the founders of the original Suzie Burger in south Sacramento, now a partner in the new venture, was one of the cooks filling the immediate neighborhood with the scent of sizzling burgers. The Haines brothers, inspired by the Suzie Burger they frequented while growing up in Land Park, have been working on the project for more than a year. As proprietors of 33rd Street Bistro, Riverside Clubhouse and several other restaurants in the Sacramento area, they are better known for more upscale and pricier fare.
Their goal with Suzie Burger, the prototype of an anticipated chain, is to tap into the area's ravenous hunger for hamburgers, but at modest prices. The basic Suzie Burger is $1.95, the basic cheeseburger $2.95. All are served with dill pickle and carrot sticks. In addition, diners have the option of adding grilled onions, pickled jalapenos, sauerkraut, pastrami, chili and a fried egg, ranging from 45 cents to $1.95 each.
The menu also includes hot dogs, chili and five cheesesteak sandwiches, all made with either steak or chicken, except for the vegetarian version. Beverages include "lemon squeeze" and milkshakes. Soft-serve ice cream cones also are available.
The cafe's red-and-white color scheme is brightened with colorful "Suzie" caricatures by Sacramento graphics artist Matt Rallens.
Suzie Burger is to be open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays.