Googie Gourmet: From Gas to Gastronomy

Suziee
Suzie's is an eye-grabber on a well traveled street. Photo by Dave Weinstein

Two popular eateries in Sacramento prove that there’s new life in old gas stations – when those gas stations were spectacular from the start.

Suzie’s Burgers, at 29th and P streets, is a delightful, butterfly winged structure that harks back to a prototype in Palm Springs, Albert Frey’s now iconic Tramway Gas Station, from 1965, with its soaring hyperbolic paraboloid roof. It serves today as the city’s official visitors center.

The building housing Suze’s, which had been a popular spot at Broadway and Freeport Boulevard, was originally a Philips 66 station and is from the late 1960s, says Gretchen Steinberg, of Sacramento Modern. Then it became an Orbit station, then a Tune-up Master, then an eyesore.

Repair
A-1 Auto Repair makes good use of its former gas station building. Photo by Dave Weinstein

A similar station still decorates 2025 Broadway, where it functions as A-1 Auto Repair.

Suzie’s saved the place in 2007. Today people love the burgers, and fans of cool cars flock here for periodic hot rod shows, and a Midtown Cruise for bikes every second Saturday.

Tako
Tako Korean BBQ takes advantage of an attractive building on a busy site to snag diners. Photo by Dave Weinstein

Another popular spot that has taken over a former petrol station is Tako Korean BBQ, on a prominent corner at T Street and Alhambra Boulevard. The former Richfield Station, resplendent with Art Deco, Streamlined glassiness, “was a wreck” before Tako came in, says neighbor and preservationist Susan Ballew.

 

She notes that, when the station was built, “this was out in the sticks. This was a gas station people would stop at on their way out of town.”

At one point, she says, there was even talk of hauling it to the California Automobile Museum for display there.

Instead, Tako owners Yoon Cho and Alex Won arrived in 2012 to save the station in situ. Today, Ballew says, lines are out the door, especially during lunch.

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