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Southern California Jimmy Dean’s Burgers is a 1980s Time Capsule

So, I’m really trying to get back into writing some fun posts for my favorite Retroist site. Recently, I posted about my love of retro production library music and I wasn’t sure what or when my next topic would be.

But life happens and we find things that inspire us, so I find myself with another story to tell.

Last night, I headed out to Valencia, California. It’s the home of Six Flags Magic Mountain. But, roller coasters weren’t my destination. I was just going to chill with a friend.

And as is my custom when visiting somewhere new, I always try to find either some cool comic book store or retro toy shop in the area, and I found a great comic book shop. Brave New World in the very quaint little town of Newhall, just south of Valencia. Now, I got there just as they closed, so I only had a moment to browse. I found it to be well organized, friendly and have very nice selection of comic what-not. However, THIS was not the moment that inspired me to write.

On my way down Lyons Avenue to the comic store, I passed a Jimmy Dean Hamburger Stand. Now, I’ve never seen one in my life, but my retro-restaurant-interior-Spidey-sense (yeah, you know what I’m talking about) started to tingle. The place looked old. Like, 80s old. The perfect kind of old. So, after I bounced from the comic store, the hamburger stand was my next stop.

The place has mostly been untouched since it was built in 1985’ish. It was gorgeous. Wood paneled walls. Trenches with full green plants. Multi-color striped vinyl seat backings. Rotating stools with the bowed seat back. The nice thing about finding hamburger or pizza joints outside of big cities like Los Angeles is that sometimes they are untouched by time. Aside from some modern toy machines and a few flatscreens, this place really felt like a burger and shake joint out of an 80s skateboard movie. If Corey Haim and Cored Feldman walked in wearing white high tops, rolled up painter pants and T&C Surf tank tops, it wouldn’t have surprised me. Okay well…Haim would have been a slight surprise.

Now, as far as hamburgers and shakes go, it wasn’t bad. Simple, fresh, and decently priced.

But here, my retro friends, is where the sad part of the story starts. On my way out, I spoke to the manager and told her how much I loved the interior of the store. She smirked and said, “Really? I’ll tell the owner because he’s planning on fixing it up.”

“NOOOO! Don’t do that! Leave it! It’s awesome!”, I told her. At this point, it was clear I was crossing the line of nice customer to maybe-weirdo dude who’s taking pictures of the restaurant. She said she would pass along my thoughts and handed me my change.

So, I left with my milkshake.

If you are ever in Newhall, CA, and if it’s still in full glorious 80s mode, please check out Jimmy Dean’s Hamburgers.

15 thoughts on “Southern California Jimmy Dean’s Burgers is a 1980s Time Capsule

  1. Amazing find! Those seatbacks and tables take me right back to my favorite nostalgic destinations. I would love to find an Untouched “Pizza-Hut” Restaurant from the ’80s. Complete with wooden booths, Red plastic Coca-cola cups, and of course, Table top Pac man and a JukeBox. Next time I head to Magic Mountain, this place is a must-stop.

  2. vinvectrex says:

    Never knew this was in my own backyard (well, within 50 mile radius backyard). Definitely going to check it out.

  3. Yeah, it was one of those happy accidents. If you visit, tell them you love how it looks inside.

    See how they respond.

    BTW, Frank – I have searched high and low for one of those free standing Pizza Huts you waxed poetic about. So far, nothing has turned up.

  4. That is awesome. I love that your qualifications for it being “gorgeous” include wood paneling and trenched green plants. A few old arcade games, and it would be a hangout.

  5. Hey – just got a message from the Brave New World comic shop.

    “Hey! Thanks so much for the mention! Oh, and there’s a free standing Pizza Hut about a mile west of Jimmy Dean’s!! Near the corner of Lyons Ave. and Apple St.”

    So, maybe I’ll have to take another trip….

  6. Retroist, I asked the VERY same question. The response was this..

    “Fairly certain that it’s got faux brick on the walls. That count?? ”

    Well, tell you what, since I have friends that just moved out there, I’ll scout it the next time I’m there.

  7. Atari Adventure Square says:

    *Every* food joint should look this sweet.

    I’m craving a malt right now.

  8. I’d love to find an old Burger Chef or Orange Julius, circa mid-late 70s, untouched by time, with the trapezoidal lighting, wood slat walls, orange booths, and that awesome 70s font on everything… nice find!

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