Back in the day, Fred’s Old Fashioned Burgers was Jake and I’s favorite spot for burgers. It was in our regular rotation even though we had to go alllllll the way out to El Cajon for it. I loved their peanut butter chocolate shakes dearly and I especially loved their simple burgers and tasty french fries. We noticed a serious decline in quality and customer service before the El Cajon location shut down last year. There was still Alpine, but that was way too far, and a location in Chula Vista that never tasted quite the same.
So what does that all have to do with a taco shop?
Well, this place is within walking distance of Jake’s house and he stopped in last week out of desperation and hunger. This spot had been owned by a few different people for awhile and the last time Jake came here it made him not feel for a week. It’s a wonder he even walked through the doors… but it was under new ownership again so he decided to scoop it out.
And then he saw this:
Say what? Burgers and fries… from the original Fred’s Burgers? GET OUT.
Jake called me and told me about it and I was in shock – a taco shop that has burgers – FRED’s burgers? Jake talked to the owner of the taco shop who took over this location – deciding to keep the name to lessen his cost – who is also the owner of Fred’s Burgers in Alpine. The Chula Vista location is owned by another gentlemen – which explains the difference in taste/quality.
Fred’s in El Cajon ended up shutting down due to the rising lease. It had been raised and then was about to be raised even higher – which prompted the owner to shut down. We haven’t been by there in a few months but I think that location has sat empty for quite some time… not sure if something new has taken up the new spot.
Jake, T, Jake’s mom and myself all got the same thing – the burgers and fries. Maya and Little Bit (Jake’s dog) came along for the walk and we sat outside as the sun set to enjoy our dinner at $4.49 a pop.
The fries were not exactly like the ones I remember but they are close! They didn’t have quite the same super crisp/creamy inside that I remember from Fred’s but they were decent.
The burger was pretty spot on – on a nice potato roll bun with the fixings on the bottom and the cheese/burger on top. The burger had a nice char on it, the tomato was super crisp and fresh. The one difference is the use of shredded lettuce which I actually preferred. My one complaint? I wish my cheese had been melted a bit more than this. But otherwise it’s a very solid burger. It’s not fancy or gimmicky or hipster or totally full of itself – it’s just a simple burger with no frills.
It’s hard to beat a burger and fries for $4.49, too. And seeing as it’s within walking distance of Jake’s house, I can see that we might be spending a few nights here either enjoying this again or exploring the rest of the menu.
We didn’t try any of the Mexican food but there were a few people who stopped by to get some street style tacos – for a $1.50 each – that were freshly cooked on the grill outside. I think I’ll try some of those next time! I like seeing that they were made right on the spot – a good sign, if you ask me.
5413 Redwood Street
San Diego, CA 92105