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Jim’s Burgers

Jim’s Burger, 765 East Foothill Boulevard, Rialto, California

7:04 am — The day starts at Jim’s Burgers, an underrated Route 66 eatery in Rialto, California, with the Orkin Man tapping on the west-side door.

He is dressed nicely: long-sleeve shirt, pressed pants, Oxford shoes. Aside from the blue latex gloves and the company cap, no one would know he kills bugs for a living.

Today, his job is to spray the perimeter of Jim’s Burgers, a one-time Burger Chef Restaurant on the south side of Foothill Boulevard, former Route 66.

Inside, Jim’s is authentic greasy spoon: vinyl booths, some with their seats slit and healed with duct tape; old-school video games tucked away in a dusty corner; and the ever-present sheen of burger grease.

Trailing the Orkin Man is the first customer of the day; a regular who shouts his order from his booth, newspaper spread across the table.

Being this early in the morning, only a quarter of the lights are on. But the mood is bright as the Beach Boys burst into “Wouldn’t it Be Nice” on KOLA, the area’s “classic hits” radio station.

Ray, the regular, now with eggs and bacon on a plastic plate comments, “What happened to the Lakers last night?”

The cook, owner and front man, Jim, doesn’t reply; he’s busy at the grill. With a metal-against-metal sound, he takes an oversized spatula and shuffles three eggs across the sizzling field of grease.

The waitress, a woman in her fifties answers the customer with another question, “Did you see that woman get punched by a cop?” “Yeah,” Ray answers.

And so the day’s banter starts as a new customer edges to the counter to order a breakfast burrito.

With so much not working in San Bernardino County these days, Jim’s is a bright spot on this stretch of Route 66.

You just have to turn a blind eye to the roach dashing across the condiments basket to enjoy this real road-food stop.

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CS

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