Zack’s Hamburgers

It’s 1975 all over again.

While Pokémoning Sunday, I bumped into Zach’s Hamburgers at South Boulevard and Scaleybark Road

Like 90% of the non-national restaurants in Charlotte, the 2nd most Bibled city in America, the place was closed on the Day of rest. I looked at the menu though, and it was about 80% identical to the place I worked at when I turned 16 in 1971

Zack’s menu.

I made it there today just at high noon. The building looks like it had been a Burger Chef (remember those?) or maybe a very old McDonald’s or Hardees – a building within a building, with the seating area added on later.

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If you’re an Obama lovin’ vegan from Seattle, you ain’t coming here and be around the “little people” who keep America working. No avacado salad here, sorry. They even had the same Taylor shake machine from the 1970s. All in all, it lived up to my expectations. Next time I would avoid the noon rush, though. Here was my 8 oz hamburger steak plate

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Original Bell’s sign

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10 Responses to Zack’s Hamburgers

  1. Fred Stiening says:

    As I was meandering around Old Charlotte, I noticed a pizza place that was very busy. It is at the intersection of East, West, and South Boulevard. It was kind of the main crossroads if you were not going through downtown (renamed Uptown by the Seattle hipsters)

    It’s about a mile from where I lived in 1977-81. The 1 Br apartment in a WW2 era concrete block building that I paid $130 a month as an apartment was for sale as a condo for $150,000. My guess is it is 600 square feet. It was built in the 1940s. No A/C and no laundry facilities. Casement windows with worn out hand cranks… Those were the days

    Oh, here is the pizza place

    http://fuelpizza.com/

    Franchise, seems to like the concept of gluten free pizza. Probably not my kind of place.

    -update – definitely not my kind of place. The chicken fingers come with carrots and celery. Artichokes, chicken sausage…multigrain crust, lots of veggie pizzas. Menu seems targeted at people from New York. Lots of salads. And beer and wine. Not going there.

    It’s a few blocks from where my niece and nephew thought was a great place to take their dad for his birthday (my ex-brother in law). It was an upscale Indian restaurant. Dad seemed a bit puzzled why he was there, too.

    http://places.singleplatform.com/copper-modern-indian-cuisine/menu

  2. Fred Stiening says:

    Another picture added. I don’t remembe ever seeing a Bell’s

  3. Fred Stiening says:

    It’s 1:37 and the stream of customers hasn’t stopped. Eating inside today was hard on my ears. One of the peculiarities of losing your hearing is that soft sounds start to sound loud. I believe the process is the brain “turns up the volume” to try to compensate for the weaker signal, but that doesn’t work in the long run. It is roughly like an AM radio station overmodulating. All it does is makes the sound garbled.

    South Boulevard is evolving into the Spanish speaking part of town. The LRV maintenance facility is close by – I suspect they are a major source of business. South Boulevard was US 21, the main North/South highway before I-77 was finished in the 1970s. Another similar place around town was the US-21 drive in. They was the 1960s version of Sonic, more similar to the place I worked

  4. Parrott says:

    Thats makes me hungry ! Looks good.
    I could go for that tonight ! but don’t tell my wife, LOL
    “you’ll make your cholesterol go up,”
    blah
    parrott

  5. haiti222 says:

    It was built in 1961 as Bell’s Hamburgers. This was a franchise by Glen Bell, who in 1962 started Taco Bell. His story is interesting as he spent almost 15 years starting various taco and other fast food chains while Bell’s Hamburgers was his main job.

    Ad for Bell’s at the bottom of this write-up: http://charlotteeats.blogspot.com/2008/04/zacks.html

    Found what I could read from this book fascinating: https://books.google.com/books?id=mbUwNDfOBxQC&pg=PA60&dq=glen+bell+bell%27s+hamburgers&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiD0f7Z6LXOAhUMOsAKHUH6CY0Q6AEIMjAE#v=onepage&q=glen%20bell%20bell's%20hamburgers&f=false

    This book is by the guy who does Ask a Mexican in many free papers and is often on Tom Leykis.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      Thank you for the research. That lines up – there were some Greek related signs suggesting the owners were Greek (very common here). The menu alludes to the parents handing it over to the son.

      The onion rings were the real thing – no onion flavored corn meal or rings stamped out of simulated onions. My only real complaint, made worse by when I was there – is they poured the shake as soon as I ordered, but the hamburger steak took a long time to cook, so the shake was starting to warm up.

      A little related, Burger King started offering a thing called Mac & Cheetos. It’s essentially macaroni covered with an Orange colored batter, then deep fried. Really bad concept.

      • haiti222 says:

        Good freshly made onion rings are increasingly hard to come by. Although I hadn’t had them in a while, Popeyes stopped hand making their Onion Rings in the stores recently…….In his various enterprises, Glen Bell worked with men who went on to start both Del Taco and Der Wienerschnitzel- that’s a couple thousand locations. He seemed to keep good relations with all of them as well.
        Al Copeland is the guy that started Popeyes, owned Church’s as well before a giant bankruptcy, and copied the Cheesecake Factory so well they are not in a few southern cities where his imitations rule.

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