I have been shopping at the Half Price Books on North Lamar Boulevard south of West Koenig Lane for over a decade. The entire time, Dan's Hamburgers was right across the street, but I never bothered visiting. I went to Fran's Hamburgers on South Congress when I first moved to Austin (until 1990, they were the same company), and as readers of this blog know I was not impressed. I had a little time one day and was in the area, so instead of stopping into DK Sushi next door, I decided to give Dan's a shot.
Dan's Hamburgers is another Austin original business, founded in 1973. Going into the Dan's on North Lamar has the feel of stepping back in time to the 1970s; the restaurant has a simple floor-plan with red and chrome fixtures and an almost dingy look (unavoidable in an open room where lots of things are fried every day). The menu has nothing out of the ordinary; burgers, fries, onion rings, sodas, and shakes. Dan's has a breakfast and dinner menu that includes omelets, breakfast tacos (because this is Austin), biscuits and gravy, chicken strips, and chicken-fried steak.
The onion-rings are a must, though they are a little thick for my taste they are still amazing. The double-hamburger with cheese I ordered was good; just what you would expect of a simple hamburger. A burger, onion rings, and a soda was just over $10. The service was friendly and the food was cooked to order. It is not a place you will get in-and-out of quickly, but you won't mind the wait.
Dan's Hamburgers has expanded to four locations, and based on the images on their website (http://dans-hamburgers.com/), the North Lamar location is either the oldest or the most in need of renovation. Good food for a good price, but lacking in aesthetics. A hamburger place doesn't need to be pretty, but when the word I think of to describe the interior is "dingy", there is room for improvement.