In 1969, Frank and Ramona Gonzales opened the doors to a small butcher shop in midtown on 24th and J Streets. Frank bought the best beef -Harris Ranch- selling an entire hind quarter completely cut and wrapped. Business was good, but Gonzales knew he could do better. Months after opening, he brought in his home electric skillet and fried up steaks as samples for potential customers. His butcher shop was filled with the smell of freshly cooked steak. Customers were drawn in, sampling the meat, then buying entire hind quarters. Regular customers cried out for more cooked steak, and said, “Frank, why don’t you sell steak sandwiches”?
Thus, Nation-Wide Meats Steaks and Burgers was launched. He continued to buy Harris Ranch hind quarters but now trimmed and ground the choice steak and hand-formed the burger patties. They were an instant success.
Nationwide Meats/Burgers/Sandwiches (whatever name you prefer) has a loyal following. “I’ve had customers move away and come back 10 years later to say that the burgers are still superb,” Gonzales says with pride. “Some of our customers come into town and this is the first place they come, sometimes by cab right from the airport. I have one customer that drives here from Santa Rosa just for lunch.”
Father and son (John Gonzales) love their work and their customers. “We use nothing but the best you can buy”. The best, John describes, includes purchasing an entire hind quarter of Harris Ranch beef, hand trimming and course grinding the choice-meat, then hand forming the patties. Potatoes are bought in 100 pound sacks, cleaned and cooked with the skins, The french rolls (buns) are baked and delivered fresh daily, shakes are made with the freshest fruit available.
Frank passed away in 2004 but his standards for making the best burgers out of the best beef still stands with his son John at the helm.