Steppin’ Out – Nation’s Giant Hamburgers, Folsom

UNFORTUNATELY CLOSED

I don’t know how many times I have driven by this restaurant at 2750 East Bidwell Street in Folsom with out stopping, but thinking I should. Finally, several weeks ago I called Russ Salazar. He said he had some business in the Folsom area, and we drove there for lunch.

We arrived about 1 p.m. and there were only four people eating and two in front of us ordering. There were also only two people working, one young lady taking orders, one cooking.

As we were standing in line, the young lady cooking asked us how many burgers we were going to order, so she could put them down. We answered that we were going to share one, along with a chili dog.

When we reached the cashier, we ordered the burger, cut in two, and a chili dog, also cut in two, along with a water and a milk.

She rang it up, but Russ noticed that the total was too low and pointed it out. She read it back to him and the chili dog was missing from the order. She added it, we paid and we went to find a table.

We found one next to a window and wiped up some water that the previous diners had spilled.

About 15 minutes later they called the order number of the people who had ordered in front of us. Five minutes after that, they called our order.

After I got the order Russ mentioned that we hadn’t received our drinks and that the chili dog had not been cut in two.

I took the chili dog back to get it cut and asked for our drinks, which the lady doing the cooking handed to me. I also picked up a second fork, since the chili dog was obviously not “finger food.”

I returned to the table where Russ was looking at the burger. In the approximately 20 minutes they had taken to cook the burger, the “giant” patty, which looked like it was around one-third pound, was now smaller than one from most other restaurants. In fact, the whole sandwich was not as large as a Carl’s Jr. Famous Star burger. So much for an “oversized” burger.

Russ liked the bun and I liked the veggies, but we both agreed the burger was way over cooked and dry.

The chili dog was an all beef dog, split and grilled, which I liked. The bun was okay, but we both agreed the chili was way too salty.

Nation’s Giant Hamburgers has been around since 1952, serving hearty breakfasts, burgers, freshly baked pies, shakes and more. In fact, they are one of the few restaurants of this kind that serves pie, something that most all restaurants used to serve. Yes, I thought about pie ala mode, but opted not to order it. I actually like it better for breakfast.

Prior to visiting, as I often do, I had looked on the internet at the ratings of this one of their many restaurants. Several people had noted service problems at this location, which I thought might be a result of there only being two visible staff. Perhaps I was right.

When I started writing this story, a little over a week ago, I went online to get some more information on this restaurant. Sadly, what I found was numerous reports of this location being closed. I checked the corporate webpage and it was no longer listed, nor did they answer their phone.

Restaurants as a whole have been having monetary problems for the past year. I get several restaurant publications each week and they have all been predicting an approaching recession because of this.

Restaurants are a very tough business and when they start into a decline, for one reason or another, people are let go or hours are reduced and service declines, starting a downward spiral that they rarely survive.

In the 30 plus years I have been writing about restaurants, I have found, over and over, that people will put up with just okay food if the service is really good, but if the service is poor, it doesn’t matter how good the food is.

For more information on the location of other Nation’s restaurants in our general area, visit their webpage at www.nationsrestaurants.com.

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