Dining Out

Martin’s on Main: Still a tasty spot for a fill-up

Burger joint in Templeton has a new name, owner and look but much of the menu remains

Special to The TribuneJanuary 10, 2013 

  • Martin’s on Main

    628 S. Main St., Templeton | 434-9200 | www.martinsonmain.com

    Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday.

    The scene: The previous incarnation as a 1940s gas station provides vintage charm for this tiny eatery; it’s mainly takeout since there are just a few outdoor seats available now, but a small indoor seating area is in the works.

    The cuisine: Classic burgers, fries, and shakes, plus grilled sandwiches and fresh salad options.

    Expect to spend: Burgers and sandwiches $5 to $8, salads $8 to $10.

Fans of that little burger joint in Templeton will have noticed a few changes of late, but not to worry — it’s much the same, only different.

After more than a decade as The Burger Station (so named because the location was a gas station in the 1940s), this tiny spot was quietly renamed Martin’s on Main in July 2012.

Though its diminutive size limits the capacity for on-site seating, this vintage property boasts plenty of innate charm.

You can still imagine the bones of the original gas station, though now there are two countertops and a handful of retro-ish stools outside where part of the drive-up area would have been. As such, business here is largely takeout, but it’s also fun to grab a seat and watch the Main Street world go by.

Proprietor Tina Martin (and her husband) took over the property in December 2011, and she debated whether or not to change the name of an existing, successful business. Ultimately, she decided to do so, mainly to reflect the fact that the menu has expanded beyond just burgers.

“We’ve kept the core of The Burger Station (including most of the employees) but added some more specialty items,” Martin said. Indeed, longtime patrons will see their favorites on the menu, including a classic hamburger (with the traditional fixings of Thousand Island dressing, shredded lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions), its smaller version known as the “Wheelie Burger,” a garden burger, all-beef hot dogs, and a grilled chicken sandwich.

Of course, all the sides such as fries and onion rings are still available, as are the time-honored treats of hand-mixed shakes, malts and sodas. You can even order the “Fido Burger,” an unadorned, plain beef patty that’s perfect for including your pampered pooch(es) in the fun.

The recently added burger offerings at Martin’s on Main include a barbecued bacon with cheddar cheese and grilled onions, a turkey with all those classic fixings, and a green chile cheeseburger with pepper Jack and Ortega chili pepper. Among the new specialty sandwiches are a grilled chipotle chicken sandwich with bacon and grilled onions, a BLT on sourdough, and a grilled patty melt on rye that’s sneaking onto the radar of fans of this traditional sandwich.

“I’ve found that people who love patty melts will really search them out,” Martin said.

The fresh salads are also gaining a following, especially the blue cheese chicken with dried cranberries, and the chopped salad with ham, cheddar cheese, tomato, and red bell pepper with ranch dressing. As the weather warms up, a few more of those might appear as specials to gauge customer demand, an approach that Martin used for all the new items she’s introduced to the menu.

Beyond expanding the food options, Martin has also steadily made improvements to the property itself. Both the eatery and an adjoining building sport refreshing cosmetic touches like bright new yellow paint, and within about a month that additional building will be ready to provide a bit of indoor seating, complete with heating and air conditioning.

“This is a great place with a lot of potential,” said Martin of her new endeavor. “I’m excited for the future — to continue to make changes and improve our customers’ experience. I’ve got tons of ideas!”

Katy Budge is a freelance writer from Atascadero. Contact her at ktbudge@sbcglobal.net.

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