Dan Junk was the original founder of Dan's Hamburgers. Dan began his restaurant career in the early 1960s at a local hamburger chain named King Burger. As store manager for the chain, he developed and improved upon a made to order hamburger. With the help of his wife, Frances, they built a following of loyal customers.
Customers did not have far to go, two blocks down South Congress was a former Root Beer stand for lease. Thus, became the First of Five Dan's locations. The name Dan's originated after the cost of the sign was negotiated. It seems the name Junk 's was going to cost an additional $50.00, so Dan's it was. The building was kitchen and storage only with car hop service and a walk up window. Opening in January of 1973 with snow on the ground was reason enough to add on a dining room.
Dan's original menu had the bare Basics. A large and small burger, French Fries and soft drinks. The first summer brought hand dipped malts and shakes. Later in the year, a recipe for hand-breaded onion rings was purchased for $50.00.
In 1975 a second location was opened at South Lamar and Barton Skyway. This time with a very small dining room included. No where to go but up from here. In 1977, a third location on Airport Boulevard and Shady Lane was opened. Hamburgers didn't seem to be enough for the area so we added hand-breaded Chicken Fried Steaks, Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches along with the ever popular BLT.
Still trying to establish a following in this area, Dan decided to add a full service breakfast to the menu. Yes, good old homemade biscuits and gravy, fresh eggs served with Texas Toast and hash browns. Omelets made to order with buttermilk pancakes rounded out the menu. Yes, it was easy to tell that Austinites loved a made to order breakfast as well.
In 1982, Dan had an idea to open a Barbecue location on Cameron Road. Good intentions but not the following we had with burgers. We gave it a run until 1985 and changed the menu back to what we knew best - burgers. Later the same year we lost our lease on the store at South Lamar and Barton Skyway. Dan bought a property around the corner at Ben White and Manchaca, which proved to be a great location.
Nothing lasts forever, in January 1990, Dan and Frances Junk were divorced. Thus the spin off Fran's Hamburgers. Fran kept the original location and the Cameron Road location. The remaining three stayed with Dan.
We lost our Founder and Father in June of 1998, but Mother is still with us. After Dan's passing, his daughter Katie Congdon became the owner of the three Dan's locations. In August of 2005 along with the help of her family including brother John Junk and sister Mary Bialaszewski, a fourth Dan's location was opened in Buda, Tx on Old San Antonio Road.
This was a family event, with all family members called to duty. No pay, just a good old-fashioned beating. Truly tremendous support from the Buda/Kyle area.
Over the years, we have added many more items to the menu. Staying true to form, we have maintained the consistently great ingredients and recipes that have long stood the test of time. We offer Certified Angus Ground Chuck on all our burgers. In-house prepared fresh vegetables on our burgers, hand-breaded onion rings and chicken fried steaks.
Is there an easier and cheaper way to make a burger? Sure, but not in Dan's book. Keep the menu simple and fresh and do what you do best. A Bigger menu isn't a Better Burger.