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816 12th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814 | Map
(916) 443-9655

There’s a common trait in soap operas and politics. The faces may change but the plot and the dialogue always seem the same.

Kind of like Jim-Denny’s Hamburgers and Chili.

This family-run classic Sacramento institution opened in 1934, moved to 12th and I Street after World War II, has had four owners, closed awhile, and then re-opened in 2005.

But if you’re just tuning back in, it’s like you never left. Same dialogue. Same plot.

You still have the same 10 red counter stools filled with people who could have been sitting there for decades. You still see the feisty waitresses behind the counter yelling orders, teasing customers and calling for supplies. Still have the fry cook in the corner frying up big, fresh beef patties that don’t hit that vintage grill till you order them.

On our last visit, there were no vegetarians at Jim-Denny’s. I have an eye for that kind of thing. It starts by noticing that everyone was eating a burger – one of eight tempting options, from the one-pound mega on down.

You will also find hot dogs, sandwiches and home made chili. And there is an extensive breakfast menu in the morning.

They call themselves the “home of the 10 busiest seats in Sacramento.” There are also plastic tables and a “Monica’s Window” outside for pick-up orders and folks who can’t find a seat indoors.

But if you eat inside or out, it won’t take long to figure out the plot of Jim-Denny’s. There is no designer food here. This is a top notch just-like-it-used-to-be burger joint. No Asiago cheese buns or hanging fern décor. No TV sets on the walls. No soap operas. Just the ongoing sagas of the waitresses, cooks and patrons chatting about daily life while sharing the burger experience, just as Jim-Denny’s has been doing for more than 70 years.



Related: Hamburgers | Sacramento | Larry Sheingold

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Larry Sheingold