Growing up in Novato, there were only two places I held as truly special to go out and get burgers; Henry’s Burgers in Novato, and In-n-out all the way in Santa Rosa. Novato, and even most of Marin, has had a serious lack of Burger Joints for as long as I’ve been around and kicking.
Henry’s was on the opposite end of town from me, and I usually only went for a friends birthday, or after riding my bike across town (awesome to note a bmx bike was waiting outside when I got there. Some things never change). It’s been awhile since I had been back, and it is still pretty similar. They ditched the artwork of human shaped vegetables in the middle of very human activities for retro car prints and typical diner art. I can’t say if this is a plus or a minus though, those ridiculous posters were very deeply tied into what this place was. They do have a lot of new signage out front, which is great because they are located in what seems to be a dying shopping center, with only Tagliaferri’s Deli (delicious, by the way) seeming to help bring people in. Henry’s is a Novato staple, in a small city with very few staples. It seems there has been a lot of turnover of restaurants here and its great to see our little burger joint last for over 30 years now.
Henry’s still has that small hometown feel, though the menu has grown tremendously. Someone obviously has been having some fun here with all kinds of crazy burger combinations, and a ridiculous spicy and huge burger challenge to boot. There are pesto burgers, a nacho fries burger, mozzarella stick burgers, and all kinds of subtle twists on what we known and love. These definitely aren’t the gourmet gruyere type burgers, moreso just fun variations of whatever sort of diner food they can add on with it.
No surprises with me, I went with a Western Bacon Cheeseburger, and my buddy ordered the Garlic Ranch burger. I got mine with fries, and instantly wished I went with curly fries, but that one is all on me. These specialty burgers are available in a combo with fries and a drink for $8.99, which is a great price considering what I normally pay in the city (a la carte they are $5.99).
The burger was big, and juicy. First off, I have to give them props for melting the cheese over the onion rings. Little details like this always impress me. I was only a few bites in and my friend was already done with his burger, a good sign. The bacon here had some nice crusty edges and just the right amount of crispiness. The buns were airy and buttery, which are probably the best qualities a bun can have. The Cheddar melted across the onion rings was rather delicious, and also helped keep things in place. As for the burger itself, it was probably the perfect sized patty. Just the right thickness to be substantial but not overwhelming, and I was more than full after eating it and my fries. The meat was tender and carried the flavor of the rest of the ingredients very well. The barbecue sauce was solid, nice and sweet, but not the most memorable.
I am a huge fan of small burger joints like this, and this is my hometown burger place. I didn’t go often, so I am only mildly sentimental for it, but they are serving up some pretty good burgers here. My friend and I were both very satisfied with ours, and after that lunch we really didn’t even need to eat dinner. The prices are reasonable, and the service was nice too. These are the small places I feel good supporting.
The only negatives are they are calling themselves “the chronic burger joint” which, to put it mildly, is rather juvenile sounding. Sure, if this was a bustling college town or if you are solely marketing towards bros that might make sense, but that isn’t really Novato’s demographic (and the bros here are most likely not the wealthiest consumers). It sounds like the owners son got a little too much responsibility or something…
So if you happen to be in Novato or just passing through, they are definitely worth the stop. A wide variety of burgers for everyone, and more than enough food to make everyone full.
Check out their menu at:
2027 Novato Blvd.,
Novato CA 94947