Gonzoburger is here!
Located in the Elk City District of Charleston’s West Side, Gonzoburger is a custom burger and craft beer joint that features more than 10 different burger creations, each made with 100 percent certified Angus beef and fresh toppings, as well as other sandwiches, salads and starters.
David Haden Jr. & Susan Zain Haden
Charleston, WV natives and long time fans of the original Chris’ Hot Dogs, David and Susan have always loved the history of the building. David and Susan became the new owners and operators of Gonzoburger in Fall 2021. David and Susan are committed to keeping the same menu and quality that Gonzoburger is so famously recognized for.
“The history of this place is something very special to me, personally. I used to come in here when this was Chris’ Hot Dogs.” – David Haden Jr.
Gonzoburger is located at 207 W. Washington St., in Charleston. The site was first home to Sadd Brothers confectionery. It was built in the early 1900s by brothers Shaker, John and Michael Sadd. Later it became Chris’ Hot Dogs, a beloved institution. Today, ordering a brew means gazing across the marble bar, handmade by a Sadd family member in the early 1900s.
A photo of the Sadd brothers along with family and friends is hung near the back of Gonzoburger, near a mural reminiscent of the photo. Frank Gonzales commissioned artist Jesse Corlis to paint the scene.
But most people with memories of the place recall spending lunch in wooden booths and a man who lined hot dogs up his arm.
“Customers will tell me these stories about when they used to come here with family members back after football practice, or baseball practice,” Gonzales said. “They just have this amazing recollection of the space, which goes so much further than my knowledge.”
The hood from Gus Christo’s hot dog business remains. He was known for lining hot dog buns from his wrist to his bicep, plopping a frankfurter in each, then scooping them with toppings of homemade chili and coleslaw.
Customers remember him standing near the hood as he conducted the performance, said Restaurant Owner Dave Haden. Occasionally, they’ll ask if the hood still works
“The hood right here, it’s a part of what this place was and is and continues to be,” Haden said.
“The history of this place is something very special to me, personally. I used to come in here when this was Chris’ Hot Dogs.”
The original wooden mantle above Gonzoburger’s bar is something Haden remembers admiring vividly as a young child.
“It’s just a beautiful piece of artwork that even as a young man, a young kid, I got it,” Haden said. “It was something unique and special.”
In 1990, the building had been home to Chris’ Hot Dogs for more than 40 years when owner Christo died of a sudden illness.
His wife reopened the business only a couple of years after Gus’ death, but it did not last long.
The building sat vacant for many years before Frank and Julia Gonzales made the decision to open a burger joint in 2017. Keeping the historical details of the restaurant was always part of their mission. It took about 13 months to bring the building up to code and add a new layer of polish, which led to a highly anticipated opening last month.
Frank Gonzales and his team tore off the back of the building to add an extra exit, new restrooms and kitchen, and add a sprinkler system. They extended the facade of the restaurant to the sidewalk.
Despite many obstacles, they were able to keep the marble bar and its mantle, wooden booths, light fixtures, ceiling and tile floor.
They also added their own, new touches: local consignment art, a wooden bar top and tables, and a tap for the local beer.
PICTURE INFO: Michael Sadd (fourth from left) and John Sadd (third from right) owned Sadd Brothers confectionery, at 207 Washington St. West, in the early 1900s with their brother, Shaker Sadd.