Food & Drink

Eats Beat: Clown Burger has serious staying power

The iconic Clown Burger sign is also a wall decoration.
The iconic Clown Burger sign is also a wall decoration. DFW.com

Before McDonald’s, before drive-throughs, there was Clown Burger.

The old-timey Haltom City hamburger stand opened before the days of a burger on every corner. Now, owner and 52-year grill cook Bill Louthan has canceled retirement plans and is staying until at least summer.

Louthan had a deal to sell the iconic stand, and an expansion was planned to Keller. But those deals fell through, Louthan said.

When he announced to Facebook friends that he is canceling retirement, one wrote: “That’s the best ‘bad news’ ever.”

Clown Burger opened in 1959 when West Belknap Street was on the main highway to Denton.

Some booths and decor from the old Clown moved to the current location near Haltom Road along with the original grill.

Louthan has always called Clown Burger the “working man’s hamburger stand.” He still serves brisk weekday lunch crowds in search of old-fashioned, ultra-thin-patty double cheeseburgers and fresh-cut fries.

He is returning bacon burgers, corny dogs and other menu items that had been scaled back. He is considering reopening on Saturdays in spring, he said.

“I’m up here every day and I’ll be here a while longer,” Louthan said this week.

“There are people who have been coming longer than I’ve been here, and I’ve been here since 1963.”

Clown Burger opens only weekdays for now, starting at 10:30 a.m. and closing after lunch, between 1:30 and 2 p.m. It will be open through Wednesday next week before Louthan takes the holidays off; 5020 Stanley Keller Road at Haltom Road, 817-831-8015, facebook.com/ClownBurger.

Panadería plus

The neighborhood panadería has given way to the bakery superstore.

Guanajuato Bakery, a flashy new shop from the Orduno bakery family, is open on East Belknap Street near Riverside Drive.

This is no normal corner pan dulce shop. Guanajuato has more than 20 display cases full of breads, sweetbreads and cookies, plus four coolers full of cakes ready to go.

The bakery also sells sausage kolaches and coffee, but there’s no dining area. This is where you stop off the Airport Freeway to get cookies, buñuelos or breads to go.

The Ordunos, also owners of the Anakaren bakeries, are true to their family history in Celaya, Guanajuato. That city is half the size of Fort Worth, but has more than 50 bakeries.

Guanajuato Bakery is open 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m. daily; 3301 E. Belknap St., 817-831-6066.

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, bud@star-telegram.com, @EatsBeat. His column appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com.

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