Old Giant Orange stands inspire new restaurant

Erika Bradley

Whether craving a chili cheeseburger or barbeque-bacon hot dog with a side of french fries and shake, Giant Orange is a diner with a 50s classic, yet modern look.This is a dive in with a wide variety of freshly made food to satisfy anyone’s appetite.  

The restaurant has a selection of 16 types of burgers, prepared with fresh ingredients on hand-made buns.

“Everything is fresh, made to order and our fries are made the old fashioned way, “ said owner Rick Ameil. “We put out a great quality product.”

With its opening in 2013 on Howe Avenue, located 10 minutes away from Sacramento State, students have the option to use their one card for a 10 percent discount on fresh and tasty fast food.

Ameil said the most popular burger is the “Giant Orange Old School Cheeseburger,” a classic burger with a choice on a variety of cheeses. He said customers enjoy it because it is simple and traditional burger.

For customers who may be looking for something on the bigger side, the “Go Chuck Yourself” is the largest burger on the menu.

This burger is a triple-decker of three thick patties and three slices of cheese, garnished with lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, mayo, mustard and ketchup. The menu describes it as a ‘cheeseburger on steroids.’

Business major Christopher Sant, said he had a great experience dining in at Giant Orange.

“The food was delicious,” Sant said. “ It was just like having an old school burger from a ma-and-pop shop.”

Burgers are only one of the many food options at Giant Orange. The diner also offers classic grilled cheese, BLT sandwiches, a great selection on hot dogs and boca burgers for vegetarians.

The burgers range from $9 to $15, while the sandwiches and hot dogs are priced from $6 to $9.

Ameil said everything is made from the freshest produce and is cooked and prepared only after customers have ordered, guaranteeing the best quality.

All burgers, sandwiches and hot dogs come with a choice of French fries, sweet potato fries, mixed green salad or creamy cole slaw.

Although a newly opened restaurant, Giant Orange has some rich history.

The restaurant name comes from the Giant Orange stands located along Highway 99 from the 1920s to the early 1970s.

During those years the Giant Orange stands welcomed many visitors. The stands started out selling orange juice to travelers along the then much slower-paced Highway 99.

Sacramento resident Kevin Kennedy, said he remembers driving down the highway with his family in the early 1960s and seeing the Giant Orange stands.

“A lot of cars back then didn’t have air conditioning and we didn’t have bottled waters, so you would wanna stop and get something to drink,” Kennedy said.

Giant Orange was most popular in the ‘40s and ‘50s, but when the highway transitioned to a higher-speed freeway, the stands declined and eventually closed.

“I loved the history and it brings back memories to those who drove by the Giant Orange stands,” Ameil said.

Since the grand opening on Howe Avenue, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the original founders of Giant Orange, have come to dine at Ameil’s restaurant. Some of the original stands are still around and Ameil hopes to get ahold of one.