Lunchtime: The Cheeseburger @ Super Burger, Santa Rosa

The Cheeseburger @ Super Burger, Santa Rosa. I snapped this picture at sunset, and the burger itself looks like the setting sun.

The Cheeseburger @ Super Burger, Santa Rosa. I snapped this picture at sunset, and the burger itself looks like the setting sun.

If you’re like me, then you’ve seen “Pulp Fiction” dozens of times, and you may have wondered, at some point, where the set designer sourced the film’s infamous Big Kahuna burger. As far as I know, having lived in Los Angeles for years and years, there is no actual Big Kahuna Burger. Too bad, because the burger does look mighty tasty on film. And so the question remains: if, in fact, Big Kahuna is fictitious, then what real-life restaurant provided that delicious-looking cheeseburger? I still have no idea, but I’ve pondered it plenty, enough to have given the burger its own back-story: In my own private mind-garden, Big Kahuna Burger is an old mom-and-pop-style joint in the San Fernando Valley, one of many post-war businesses to capitalize on the American tiki fad of the 1950s. Other than its once-hip name, Big Kahuna Burger has no actual ties to Hawaii, but the restaurant itself — practically unchanged in 50 years — does have longevity. You can bet that if Big Kahuna Burger did exist, it wouldn’t offer any burgers with blue cheese crumbles, or anything else so superfluous. And the place would probably be cash-only.

• • •

Over the years, I’ve come to accept the “Pulp Fiction” Big Kahuna burger as a culinary archetype of sorts: It exudes The Look — you see it, and you want it. Naturally, I’m always on the lookout for something similar. At Super Burger in Santa Rosa, you can find a pretty close cousin of the Big Kahuna Burger, or at least in my mind you can. Based upon appearance alone, the Super Burger building itself is historic, most likely constructed during America’s post-war boom, and boasting a fantastic horseshoe counter inside. It’s a wonderful time capsule. And as for the burgers, they feature the same old-fashioned charm that belies good taste. All of the key elements are provided: a hand-formed, charbroiled patty, grilled to medium; an artisan bun, just sturdy enough; and all the fixings, as needed. Fortunately, Super Burger isn’t so old-fashioned that they don’t accept credit cards. However, they are closed on Sundays.

2 comments to Lunchtime: The Cheeseburger @ Super Burger, Santa Rosa

  • Laura

    Hi there!
    Ever eaten at Betty’s Fish & Chips in Santa Rosa? My husband and I stopped in one day while doing home reno reconnaissance in the area (we live half the time in Angwin and half in SF, so it’s not our usual stomping ground), and we were pretty damned impressed. Light, crispy batter with just a hint of (fresh-tasting) grease. Flaky, white fish. And the chips were firm and well-crisped on the outside…not sodden like they are at most fish and chips shops. The waitresses were small-town-diner nice, and the prices were great. We didn’t have room for pie, but it looked delicious. What a relief from all the strip mall fast food in the area!

  • The Accidental Wino

    I haven’t been there, but I’ll check it out! Fish and chips is one of my favorites!

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