20060726

Del's

I used to go to Del's Charcoal Burgers in downtown Richardson on a weekly basis for lunch while I was an undergrad at UTD. My visits continued during the grad school days, but they certainly weren't as frequent and dropped off almost entirely when I started working in the A.I. Lab.

Since I'm working a couple blocks away from Del's and I drove today, I decided to say hi to my old friends. I got really excited on the way over, wondering what the reaction would be to an old face ordering a "double-9 and curly fries." Well, much to my dismay, my old friends have gone.

Del's itself is still there. It's been in business since 1957 and likely will be in 2057. But the management has changed. It really shouldn't have surprised me, after the death of the principal owner. But it seemed to me like the rest of his family was going to carry on.

The look of the place was spiffed up, but with mail-order signs of yesteryear Dr. Pepper and Elvis. Antique brick facade was glued ontop of the existing brick in places to give it a hole-in-the-wall feel...even though the building has been more hole than wall for years. Overall, it's lost its authenticity. It was cleaner though, proudly displaying a food safety award presented by the Richardson Health Department.

The management, although different, was still friendly and welcoming the guests, including some regulars I still recognize. The old menu hadn't changed one bit, so my "double-9 and curly fries" request was readily understood.

And the food? It seems as though most of the ingredients are the same. The only differences I've noticed are that the cheese is served beneath the meat rather than above it and the meat is cooked longer, likely in effort to maintain the safety award. The obvious downside here being that the well-done beef patty has lost it's juice. And ultimately, a dry burger is not going to keep me going back.

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