For many, it’s not summer until you’ve had your first takeout burger. And not just any burger. The kind you sink your teeth into as you watch a runner slide into home plate, or after a long day of playing in the sun. El Estero Snack Bar, located in the heart of El Estero Park, serves more than just burger nostalgia. They’ve also got hot dogs, shakes and enough sweet treats to make any 5-year-old’s eyes dance.
For over 40 years, the family-owned snack-bar has fed tourists, after-school kids and, of course, sports fans. Stephanie Bruno received the stand from her mother-in-law five years ago. She now co-manages, but says her role isn’t different from other employees: “Everybody who works here pretty much does everything.”
Weekly: You’re close to the baseball diamond and Dennis the Menace playground. What sells best to each location?
Bruno: With Dennis the Menace, it’s snow cones and candy. But if you’re here to watch a baseball game, you have a hamburger.
What do you like about running a very casual eatery?
We have a lot of regulars. On Tuesdays the park’s closed, but we’re still open for lunch. I think people like it that way – they can call in and order food, and you know what you’re going to get every time you come. The special sauce… everything’s stayed the same.
Let us in on the secret. Tell us your special sauce recipe.
It’s a pretty standard thousand-island dressing. (Laughs.)
Is it easy to transition from making fast food to cooking at home?
It’s the same. I have two children, so I’ve been cooking for 16 years. I’m either serving to my kids when I’m home, or I’m serving to your kids.
What’s on your perfect burger?
I’m very plain. I just eat mine with ketchup.