Voted the top burger joint in Gilroy in 2016, palate pleaser Cafe 152 Burger at 8401 Church St. draws in out-of-towners and locals alike.
Opened in March 2013, the well-known burger stop is just one of the restaurants owned by Bruce and Audrey Haller, who pride themselves on supporting local industry and the community.
Cafe 152 Burger serves hand-formed certified Angus beef burgers made with locally sourced produce on freshly baked buns—custom made for the restaurant at El Nopal Bakery in Hollister.
The store has an eclectic feel where Bruce says he wanted locals to feel at home, so he worked to create that ambiance by incorporating many items from local farmers and families in the community. He sourced vintage fruit crates from Bob Filice and hung other fruit crate end caps with the names of area farmers on the wall, as well as a reconstructed 105-year-old fence that came from Tilton Ranch in Morgan Hill.
Bruce says he wanted it to be like Cheers, where you go in and everybody knows your name. But it’s not just locals that love it. “I’ve got people that come from Fresno just to eat my burgers,” says Bruce.
Resident cook Austin Macierz, a Rebekah’s Culinary Academy graduate, came to work at Cafe 152 Burger nearly a year ago. Macierz says he likes the food they make because “it’s fresh and you don’t have that greasy feeling after you eat.”
Macierz isn’t the only Rebekah’s graduate employed by the Hallers.
“I help build the Rebekah’s culinary program. After they graduate the program I employ them,” says Bruce.
That’s one of the reasons Bruce says he built Cafe Burger 152: local people and products.
In addition to hand-formed burgers, the company makes their own ketchup and dry mix seasoning for their fresh-cut fries and burgers.
On a recent weekday afternoon, our party enjoyed a gourmet Big Roy burger ($9.99), a 50/50 side of onion rings and hand-cut sweet potato fries, along with a salted caramel shake ($4.99), one of their seasonal creations. The Big Roy, which had a nice char on it, is one of Cafe 152’s best-selling burgers and is made from a half-pound hand-formed Angus beef patty filled with Christopher Ranch garlic and caramelized onions inside, topped with bacon, cheese, crispy lettuce, fresh tomato and a garlic aioli.
We also had one of their single patty burgers with fries from their Kid Zone menu ($4.99).
Other menu favorites include BBQ Bliss ($9.49) and Baja Vacation ($9.49).
Patrons looking to skip the bun can order their burgers plain or with a lettuce wrap. Cafe 152 Burger also carries Morningstar spicy vegetarian black bean burger patties ($5.99) and creates a variety of grilled sandwiches as well as salads made with locally grown produce.
People can round out their meal with a shake ($4.99) made with hard-packed ice cream or a seasonally available agua fresca ($3.49), and a cookie ($2.99) made by Rebekah’s Bakery.
CafeBurger 152 doesn’t spend much on advertising—they usually get the word out doing fundraisers or donating to raffles. With all the fast food options around, Bruce says he wanted to bring back a bit of the down-home feel that Gilroy is known for and give people an opportunity to taste what food is supposed to taste like.