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By Stacey Hanks–
The name Hamre’s Giant Orange doesn’t exactly scream hamburgers, but don’t let that fool you, hamburgers are what they do and they do a lot of them.
Located at the intersection of Sunrise Boulevard and Antelope Road, the recently re-located eatery moved from the Arden-Arcade area to Citrus Heights earlier this year and specializes in made-to-order gourmet burgers. The new location was previously home to Bubbie’s Love Deli, a Kosher-style deli which closed its doors late last year at 7800 Sunrise Blvd.
The new burger restaurant’s use of locally sourced, hormone, steroid and antibiotic-free beef — along with preservative-free buns baked fresh daily off-site is a matter of pride with owner Kathy Hamre. “Everything is fresh, nothing frozen. Even the fries we cut fresh every day,” she told The Sentinel.
With the “Old School Burger,” Baconmeister and Bleu Heaven burgers being among customer favorites, according to the online ordering site DoorDash, more than a dozen other choices including bun-less and beef-less versions are also available. All burgers can also have a chicken breast, veggie patty, or turkey patty swapped in for no additional cost.
Grilled beef hot dogs are also featured with 11 different choices, along with specialty items like deep fried pickles and avocado fries. Traditional french fries, onion rings, homemade coleslaw and salads are also on the menu, as well as old-fashion hand-spun milkshakes and malts. Beer and wine are also planned to be added to the menu soon, Hamre said.
Embracing the 1950’s nostalgia that prompted the Giant Orange name by paying homage to the roadside orange juice stands that could once be found dotting the highways and byways of Northern California, the decorations inside are reminiscent of an old school diner, including formica tables and 50’s music playing in the background.
“People come in here and say oh my gosh I haven’t been to one of these since I was a kid,” Hamre said.
With no previous restaurant experience, Hamre was presented the opportunity to purchase the business in 2016, where it was originally located on Howe Avenue. After purchasing the business, Hamre added her last name to the title.
When the original location the restaurant was renting sold last year, Hamre, citing rising operating costs and wanting to take the business in a different direction by focusing more attention on food delivery services such as DoorDash and Food Jets, chose the much smaller establishment in Citrus Heights to relocate to.
Reduced overhead, along with an awareness of current customer trends leaning towards a more fast-casual dining experiences, convinced Hamre that the decision to settle at the Citrus Heights site was the correct one.
Despite being diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer earlier this year, the 48-year-old didn’t let that stop her. With the assistance of her three children Houston, Halle, and Ashley, along with the eight employees that transferred to the new location, Hamre was able to re-open the business after only a twelve-day shutdown.
“I couldn’t have done it without them,” said Hamre, referring to her children helping with every aspect of the move.
The interior of the facility was in disrepair and a lot of work was required prior to opening the doors of the new establishment with a “soft opening” in April. Plans for an official grand opening are still in the works, after some finishing touches — like a sign to replace the temporary banner hung in front of the restaurant — are completed.
“I absolutely wanted a small place, this is 100 percent what I wanted; I’m so happy” said Hamre about her new location. She also said she has felt welcomed to the area, commenting that “the community has really, really surrounded us and we are very, very happy and appreciate that they’ve done that for us.”
Following recent surgery, she’s also happy to have received some good news from her doctor. “As of right now, we believe I’m cancer free,” said Hamre. “I couldn’t have gotten a better prognosis.”
Hamre’s Giant Orange is located at 7800 Sunrise Blvd., Suite 11, and is currently open Sunday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. A “Hamburger Humpday” special of two classic burgers and fries for $12 is also offered on Wednesdays.
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