A little more than 10 years ago, I was working for The Fresno Bee. I was in the South Valley doing research and interviews for stories.I was driving around the town of Tulare and I spotted this little old-fashioned looking hamburger joint. I was sure it was a dive, but it was too cute to pass up. Wimpy's? That's what the sign said. Named after the famous hamburger-obsessed character with the catch phrase "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today," from the old POPEYE cartoons, no doubt. I was charmed by the little place and thought about doing an article on it, but I didn't think I ever did.
This past October, while on my way home from Los Angeles, I remembered the little hamburger stand and my idea to do an article about it. It may no longer make The Fresno Bee, but at least I could do a quick blog post about the place. Right?
I went inside. The place was nothing fancy and it was small. Still, I was there. Why not do this blog thing right and check the place out thoroughly?
The paneled walls were covered with WIMPY signs, many of them obviously homemade. There was a shelf holding some Wimpy dolls.
There was also a lot of POPEYE memorabilia. After all, the character of Wimpy did spring from the POPEYE series.
The bulk of the walls were filled with assorted napkins and scraps of paper with doodles of Wimpy and notes to the owners from the customers. This is called "the gallery".
At the counter, I placed my order; a Wimpy burger with cheese, french fries and a vanilla shake.
I couldn't help but notice the Popeye and Olive Oyl figures on the soda machine.
The food arrived. The burger looked like it was from a mom & pop-type burger joint and the fries were seasoned with Wimpy's own in-house-made seasoning.
As I was leaving, I noticed this old newspaper article about the place. I snapped a photo, but did not bother to look at it closely until now. Ha! I apparently did write an article about the place, back in July 2009. This is that article.
Since the article was written, I have learned that the owner I spoke with (Aziz Attaran) had sold off the restaurant to brothers Willy and Duval Espinoza a few years back. The Espinoza brothers wasted no time and expanded their fledgling burger empire. There are now three Wimpy's location -- the original in Tulare, the second in Dinuba and a third in Visalia.
1417 E. Tulare Ave.
Tulare, CA 93274
495 E. Tulare St.
Dinuba, CA 93618
101 S. Court St.
Visalia, CA 93291