Friday, April 13, 2012


Temecula, CA – One of the most ‘in’ things around these parts is or was a very small in-descript little portable eatery called Nessy Burgers. Perched by the side of the road just off the Hwy 76 to Oceanside and I-15 South to San Diego [in relation to Temecula], the small clean food stand has remained in the same spot for 26 years. Every day when you pass the location there is a group of people eating and/or in line for food. The menu is simple and the sodas are canned. It is a pick and go kind-of-place, perfect for the traffic that flows by it on a daily basis. It was one such day years ago in the middle 90s that a friend of mine and I stopped to see just what all the eating hubbub was about. One word:delicious!

Sitting next to what was [and may still be] the busiest Mobil Gas mini-mart in Southern California on one side and a park ‘n’ ride lot, the little mobile trailer dinner stocked by what seems a Mexican family that works as a unit is Nessy Burgers. The service is as professional as any that you would find on Park Avenue. This is not a place where you have to check you order. And like Jack, they don’t cook it until you pay for it. Out of the maybe five items on the menu, I can only tell you of two, the cheeseburger and the fries, the Stars.

First the fries, they are never over crisp due to the grease being too hot. The fries they use are the plump, meaty, full-of-potato, crinkle type. The helping is generous and those watching their weight can make this into half of a second meal. The remaining other half of the meal would be the cheeseburger. Oh, my!

With just the right amount of garnishment, the thick hamburger meat is a tasty secret mix as is the marinade, and that secret won’t be revealed here. Hot and tasty or reheated, the meat and the sandwich stand up as the best working man’s burger around. The fun part is that not everyone knows of or how good the food is. There is a set of picnic tables under a metal awning with no sides where you can sit and eat. Rarely is it empty, I guess, for I have never seen it empty any time that I have passed the place.

Once when AJ and I were out running errands and became hungry, I suggested Nessy Burgers over the usual Mickey Dees from ‘brand name’ AJ. Being a person who appreciates sushi and a Muslim, AJ looked a bit skeptical at the working class layout but his astute eye noticed the seated crowd filling most of the seats and the eatery’s location, location, location. He then glanced over my way as we stood in line with a sly smile on his face. A week later AJ was getting some ‘brownie points’ from one of the ‘old lions’ in his local Muslim community via Nessy Burgers.

Well Sports Fans, Nessy, named after the famous Loc Ness Monster [or serpent to be more accurate] has been closed and forced to relocate. Our report follows.

‘Nessy Burgers in Fallbrook suddenly disappeared from the roadside location where it had sat for 25 years this weekend.

Owner Charlie Webster said he had to move his mobile diner Saturday because work crews soon will be expanding the intersection of Highway 76 and Interstate 15. The new diner will open in about a week next to the Pala Mesa Market, 4775 Via Belmonte, just off Old Highway 395 and just north of the old site a stone's throw away from its original home.

Last July, Webster said, he was told by the California Department of Transportation that he would have to move his diner in six months. Caltrans had found a place nearby for him to move, but that fell through, so he got a two-month extension. He found another location in Bonsall, but that didn't work out, either.
Meanwhile just down the road, Gabriel Rayes, owner of Pala Mesa Market, said he learned from an employee that Nessy Burgers was planning to move to Bonsall, a nearby small community.

"I said, 'He's going to lose a lot of business by moving that far inland,'" Rayes said.

Rayes approached Webster with an offer, and with time running out, the two agreed to a five-year lease on part of the land next to the market. The diner was supposed to be off the original site Friday, but Webster said he was allowed to stay until Saturday to haul it to its new home. He planned to have the old diner painted with fresh coats of white and green last Tuesday, and later he is going to install a canopy and a deck. If all goes well, he said, the diner should be back in business by this coming Monday.

Webster said about 500 people stop by the diner each weekday and even more do on weekends, when cooks prepare 300 pounds of beef a day for about 600 burgers. Asked why his little diner has such a devoted following, Webster said the beef is never frozen, always ground fresh, and all burgers are hand-weighed and hand-made. He also said the popularity may come from the recipe created by his wife, Sandra. But don't ask her secret, he said, because he doesn't even know it.’

If you live in the area or travel down to Oceanside, and you like a really well-made and very tasty, completely filling cheeseburger/fries combo, look for the new relocated Nessy Burgers, daylight hours only. “Worth a drive from anywhere” Award – Temecula Calendar.
(Gary Warth, source – Ed)

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