Lone Star Burger Ranch opened quietly Tuesday without a whole lot of hullabaloo.
Patch bought the second and third lunches sold by the new Chatsworth gourmet burger restaurant. More about that later.
The family-owned operation has been at 20419 Devonshire St. since May.
It is the brainchild of partners Becky Owens, who was running the place on Tuesday, and Jeff Biscamp, who took charge gutting the building and doing the interior design.
Owens, a former long-time ad salesperson at the Los Angeles Times and current owner/publisher of Antelope Valley Magazine, is drawing upon her experience operating Italian and pizza joints in Santa Clarita and Palmdale, as well as Sheraton Hotel and Steak & Ale restaurants in Texas.
In the kitchen, she's has chefs Julius Dunn and Allen Rodriguez preparing half-pound burgers from grass-fed certified Angus beef.
The neon was still being installed on the roof as diners arrived for the unadvertised soft opening.
Although the kitchen prepares takeout orders, and the Lone Star Burger Ranch will offer delivery for a modest but still undetermined fee, this is a sit-down restaurant. Owens boasts that this is a restaurant "where the burger comes to you."
The room is bright and white, unlike the dark eatery that previously occupied the space. Booths look like they are upholstered in cowhide, but the seats are actually fabric. Installation of a 50-inch big-screen television is planned for the back room. And a separate area is being developed for kids parties, private meetings and luncheons.
There are plans to establish theme nights for classic car and motorcycle enthusiasts, Owens said.
When you enter the restaurant, you order your meal at a long rustic counter. Choose from any of the half-pound $6.95 burgers. There are $5.95 kids combos, too.
The well-textured beef is infused with the flavor of your choice, ranging from steak sauce to Italian dressing, or Worcestershire or Texas BBQ sauce. Since each is mixed well within the meat, the burgers can be served on a split corn-dusted bun without fear of the sauce creating a soggy mess. You don't find the burgers wrapped in butcher-paper envelopes here. And of course, you can get lettuce, tomato, onions and bacon upon request.
In addition, there's an unadorned Lone Star Burger served on a buttery bun. And if you are man or woman enough, the $12.95 Texas Burger is a full pound of certified Angus beef.
Patch ordered the Chuck Wagon Burger infused with Worcestershire sauce, the Bulls Eye Burger with Texas BBQ sauce, and a $3.95 basket of "Southern Sweet Tater Fries," plus a couple of Diet Cokes.
Friendly waitstaff attired in smart maroon tunics delivered the drinks and meals to our table.
The burgers were tasty, juicy and well prepared. And the fries were as we like them.
Chef Dunn came out of the kitchen to make sure we were satisfied and to ask if we had any suggestions. "Be brutal," he said. No need.
As more customers arrived, Owens looked around cheerfully and proclaimed, "I'm so jazzed up. We're so excited!"