On May 31st the Red Onion re-opened. They now have soft-serve and there is a free cone with any order until September 30, 2008.
The take-out menu says the owner, Ming, formerly owned the Pinole Foster Freeze for over 30 years. The menu continues "We are proud to offer the best burger and French fries in El Sobrante".
Probably a true, funny and humble claim (limiting it to El Sobrante).
I liked the burger a lot ... maybe the best of the three local Red Onions.
It is what it is ... a griddled burger ... but it was very juicy. They use an excellent classic bun and have a special toaster they feed it through to give it a light toasting. Ask for grilled onions. Top with a nice piece of melted American cheese. It is finished with crispy iceberg in the right proportion and a slice of tomato.
Gee, just realized I don't remember if there was catsup, mustard or mayo on it. If so, the condiments didn't call attention to themselves. If not, the burger didn't need them. That was one fine, enjoyable $3.79 burger.
The soft-serve was good too. Much better than the new medicore Baskin Robbins soft-serve. Though it is not frozen custard, it has that richer look and taste. Chocolate dip is available for 40 cents extra.
In addition to shakes, they now have floats, freezes, sundaes, blends (Reese's, Butterfingers, Oreos) and a banana split.
It is a simple menu - burgers, Miller's giant hot dog, crispy chicken, grilled cheese, grilled ham and cheese, pastrami, fish fillet, turkey corn dog, burrito ($1.39), fries, onion rings and a fried shrimp combo plate. Cheese, bacon and chili can be added to any of the above for a slight charge.
The New Red Onion seems like a happier place. Mr. Ming seems to have the old Foster Freeze customers. The other employees are very nice. It is a pleasant place these days. In addition to the counter with stools, there are two picnic tables out front.
It has a nice retro feel with the food matching the ambiance. Mr. Ming in fact, is a little like Arnold, the owner of the burger joint on Happy Days.
Original Red Onion
4783 Appian Way, El Sobrante, CA 94803