decades of history
The Damburger is a Redding institution which began in 1938. Bud Pennington, it's founder, had the enterprising idea to sell hamburgers from a tent outside the hiring hall for the construction of Shasta Dam. He was 18 years old. At that time customers could buy a "Damburger", a piece of pie and a cup of coffee for 25 cents.
Bud's successful enterprise then led to permanent location in downtown Redding on Yuba Street where his wife Babe and longtime employee Marge Thayer helped run the business. The "Helen Burger" was named for Helen Henry, a regular customer. One day she asked Bud to "take two of those meatballs and put them together and don't cook them so much." It remains on the menu today as a thicker burger not cooked well done.
Bud and Babe kept the Damburger going for almost forty years, moving it first to Pine Street and finally to its present location in 1962. The thriving business had nine counter stools (the one on the end called the "rumble seat") and a walk-up window for to-go orders. Rumor has it there was another seat available in the "Rose Room" but this was known only to old time customers.
The couple retired in 1977, selling the business to Mike and Vicki Carr who kept it going for 18 months. Ron and Kathy Dickey purchased Damburger in 1979 and are the present owners. They retired in 2005 to move to Ashland, Oregon. Ron Dickey passed away in June of 2013. Today the Damburger is run by their daughters, Julie and Nell and manager, Marla. Marge Thayer, loyal Damburger employee, put hamburgers together and joked with customers for 44 years. She passed away in 2006.
Today several generation of loyal customers are still "regulars" at the Damburger. Their orders are permanently written on tags which go up as soon as they walk in the door.