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Restaurant serves up burgers, fries, memories for the last time in 65 years

<i>KCRA</i><br/>A line formed at Lou's Burgers in North Highlands
A line formed at Lou's Burgers in North Highlands

By Michelle Bandur

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    SACRAMENTO, Calfornia (KCRA) — A Sacramento landmark is turning off the lights and grills, at least for now.

Lou’s Burgers has been a mainstay in North Highlands for 65 years.

But now it will just be part of people’s memories as the owners are closing the famous burger joint.

“It’s a messy burger, but it’s worth it,” said Harold Chiffen.

Chiffen and other burger lovers said it’s also worth it to stand in line for hours to place one last order.

Saturday was Lou’s last day in business.

“The burgers are that good,” said Joe Jimenez. “When you grew up on them, they’re different than anywhere I’ve ever been.”

Lou’s Burgers first opened seven locations in 1958.

“I worked here from ’71 to ’75 or so,” Jimenez said.

It’s the only Lou’s Burgers left in Sacramento and this location has been the place to be seen for Highlands High School students and proud alumni.

“It was a place to bring your date [or] come to school lunch with your girlfriends, it was a treat,” said Loreene Sheppard, class of ’67.

Sheppard and other alumni proudly wore their letter sweaters while mingling with friends. There were reunions among the crowd.

“We’re just serving burgers here,” said Leila Kitchens. “We didn’t know the community cared.”

Kitchens, yes, that’s the burger joint family’s last name, and her husband Robbie Kitchens picked up the spatula 14 years ago, following in the family’s tradition of serving up burgers and shakes.

But with a raise in rent, the Kitchens said it’s time to close the kitchen.

“I won’t succumb to these prices because I won’t charge them more to fill pockets,” Kitchens said.

While the Kitchens will miss cooking up the grilled patties and fries, what they’ll miss more is serving up memories.

“Somebody on Facebook posted this morning, they don’t come here for the food, they come here for the memories that are real,” she said.

Sheppard, 75, said she first had a Lou’s Burger when she was 10.

“I had to come the last day, so I’ve been here 65 years,” Sheppard said.

The family said they doubled the number of burgers they normally serve on a Saturday and went through 350 dozen hamburger buns.

The family also said if they find another location they can afford, they could open back up again.

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