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R.I.P. JD's, Hello Digger's!

R.I.P. JD's. Mover over Val's. If you've not already heard of it, allow me to introduce you to the relatively new kid on the block: Digger's Diner in Hayward.

I'm not going to shed crocodile tears over Anyone who knows me or follows my food writing and reviews knows the general disdain I feel for Castro Valley's restaurant scene.

I truly enjoyed when it was owned by the man himself, in its heyday. However in recent years, I feel that the quality and passion slid, placing it squarely in the center of Castro Valley's lackluster rank and file eateries.  

The fact that all over Castro Valley is nothing to celebrate. However, Castro Valley does not exist in a bubble (excuse me for pointing out the obvious), and it is my assertion that residents are increasing their spending outside the borders on better food representing a better value.  

If this paradigm persists, it spells eventual doom for the other eateries in our town that cannot or chose not to adapt. The only silver lining I can point to is that an eatery offering a unique experience and true culinary passion might eventually fill the voids. If and when this happens, I'm confident that we consumers will vote with our wallets and ensure that it thrives.

But for the time being, JD's closing has left a serious breakfast vacuum. So what are Castro Valley residents who want a tasty, hearty, value-laden breakfast to do?  

Well, if you've not already heard of it, allow me to introduce you to the one-year-old Digger's Diner in Hayward.

The breakfasts at Digger's represent a level of quality and attention to detail which remind me of JD's back in the day. What's more, is that Digger's is open for lunch and dinner. In this capacity, they offer very, very decent sandwiches, salads, and burgers. In fact, they are a noticeable cut above what one will stand in line for, pay cash only for, pay more for, and receive chilly service for, at the highly-overrated Val's Burgers in Hayward.  

Before you go getting your panties in a knot, here's a news bulletin for all you Val's worshipers: Digger's in Hayward takes credit cards and uses the exact same burger patties purchased from the exact same vendor — Weber's.

I learned this while culinary super sleuthing. The burgers are prepared with love, on a superior bun, with superior accouterments, and served with FAR better customer service and less sense of entitlement than I've experienced at Val's.  

If that's not enough to capture your attention, the buxom burgers at Digger's are on average 20 percent cheaper than Val's. In addition, Diggers fries are nothing to scoff at, being exceedingly crispy and NOT tasting as if they were fried in a vat of tired hydrogenated soy shortening.  

When we ordered them, they came piled high with one basket being ample to feed two adults and two kids. Diggers milkshakes are also the hands down winner if comparing the three establishments.

While I'd love nothing more than to stand upon the highest hill overlooking our valley, with bullhorn in hand, broadcasting my praise for restaurants within our borders, eateries that represent the value of Digger's Diner simply do not exist in Castro Valley at this time. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Connie March 23, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Love Digger's Diner! Prices are pretty decent, too!
S. Reynaga March 23, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Love Diggers!! Watch the ads that come with the PennySaver for coupons too!!
Analisa Harangozo (Editor) March 23, 2012 at 05:13 PM
From one CV Patch blogger to another.. love THIS =)
Rachel Bradley-Gomez March 23, 2012 at 05:37 PM
I'm glad I'm not alone in my adoration of Digger's. I must say that their fluffy biscuits with sausage gravy are almost as good as grandma's.
Analisa Harangozo (Editor) March 23, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Steve, we linked out to its website in the article. It's located on W. Winton Avenue... and "resident's" has been fixed! :) good catch.
Thomas Lee Coates March 23, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Thanks Rachel. I stopped by Digger's today and got a burger & shake to go. I got greeted as I walked in and thanked by name on the way out. Burger & shake were very tasty. They also have breakfast all day, so I'm sure I'll try that sometime soon. Also on the plus side over Val's - more parking & more space to sit down.
Joellen Bell March 24, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Love the burgers at Digger's. Also, all the folks working there are so nice. I have gone at least 12 times since they open and haven't had a bad meal once. Keep up the good work and we are soooo glad you decided to open in Hayward!
Joellen Bell March 24, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Also Rachel you write a great article
Thomas Clarke March 24, 2012 at 04:08 PM
I tried Diggers right after they opened in Hayward. They were still working on getting consistent and good. On that day they were not special at all and I have not been back. The Diggers in Concord was a good greasy burger and always a pleasure. I personally measure all burgers against Val's, not because I like Val's best, but because a rare Momma Burger, cheese, fries and a chocolate shake is my gold standard for what a burger should taste like. Diggers was not there yet. The credit card acceptance, warm greeting at the door, and parking are all improvements over Vals. But not the food. I will give them a try one more time.
Vicki Cosgrove March 24, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Nice. Thanks for the heads up. I tried out Dell's and that didn't work out at ALL. I'll definitely be going to Diggers.
Analisa Harangozo (Editor) March 24, 2012 at 04:56 PM
You guys all give great, thorough reviews and opinions. Thanks for sharing.
Paul N. March 24, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Rachel, you are right on spot with your opinion of some of those so often over rated eateries! It is nice to read when someone calls a spade a spade. Yes indeed Diggers does have great burgers! (all put together for you too) and great breakfasts to boot. I also agree, Not many can beat their fluffy biscuits and gravy! I travel "around the bay" area during my course of work, and make point to stop in to test different burgers wherever I go. (just a fun thing to do) Being disappointed more often than not, I found Diggers and was so pleasantly surprised by the overall cheerfulness of the whole staff. Quite unusual now a days. I have been there several times since, and now I'm finding myself looking forward to a delectable meal there more than I probably should!
Peter March 24, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Diggers sounds great. I will make a point of stopping by when I am in the area. By the way, I spoke with a Weber today and Dells and Diggers both have the same mix of ground beef, but Val's uses a "leaner" blend.
Rachel Bradley-Gomez March 25, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Here's a link to the San Leandro Patch which lists information for Weber's Meats: http://sanleandro.patch.com/listings/webers-quality-meat#photo-3870446 - Apparently, they are open to the public so anyone can buy the patties which our local eateries (Val's, Diggers) use to make their burgers, according to my husband who's been a butcher in the Bay Area for over 23 years. So if folks really love the patties, I'm sure there's an even greater savings to be had by buying them and preparing them yourself.
achattycathy April 03, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Rachel I am very surprised you like their fluffly biscuits... They are from Costco! I asked before I ordered them .
achattycathy April 03, 2012 at 02:40 AM
I am so surprised at all the rave reviews of Diggers... it is nothing more than glorified Denny’s. Their food is straight off the Costco and Sysco trucks. Nothing fresh, nothing local, nothing organic. They use single serving plastic tubs, cheap for them expensive for the environment. I will not go back. It offers nothing in the way of taste, health or surprise.
Nancy Pascale April 14, 2012 at 05:35 AM
Thank you Rachel for your article on JD`S, it definitely fell when JD himself left.....he demanded excellent food and service......Nobody agreed with me, they kept going and thinking everything was the same, no such luck.....so thanks for verifying my feelings....same thing happened with Dougs`, but they are still packed.....some people just don`t get it.
Ken Martin May 01, 2012 at 08:03 PM
If nothing else, Digger's is much quieter that Val's. I seldom go to Val's because (1) They won't take my credit card. The "cash only" policy might make it easier for them but not for me. (2) I can't stand the noise! The acoustics of the building are terrible. They just amplify all the yelling from the servers! (3) The only parking lot in the area worse that Val's is the one at the Castro Valley Chamber of Commerce! I have not tried the 'burgers at Diggers but they do put out a nice breakfast. Caper's also dishes a pretty good 'burger.
Jim M May 11, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Does Castro Valley have a business improvement district? What is it you want exactly in resturaunts and shops? I'm not a big foodie, but it seems to me the issue here is how things are spread out. Resturaunts and shops are strung out all over. It seems to me a little work on layout and shop type would help. Also some bike parking would help. Peet's needs a bike rack. Also three chairs to three large outdoor tables is wierd. Personaly a magazine or book shop is what the village needs. Blockbuster would have been a great place for even a Half Price Books. Hayward Books on B St would be great. A shop like Issues on Piedmont Ave would be nice. Alas video killed the radio star, Kindle may kill print media. A Ricks Picks or Domus would be nice too. As far as resturaunts go, you need to get people to want to eat there. I perfer a solid well delived meal to a high priced extrvagant one. That's quite possible if you have the right chef. I used to live in the Temescal district in Oakland. You might call their BID. Darlene used to run it, she does great work. Here are some links, until the early 2000's there was not much there. Quite a change. http://temescaldistrict.org/ http://www.eastbayexpress.com/ebx/40th-street/Content?oid=2478977

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