Redding has been home to a variety of wonderful (and genuine) old school burger joints, including Damburger, Bartel’s, Gene’s, Dude’s, and others. PAC-OUT ranked among the best, and even though I only went there a few times I could see why people loved it. The food was awesome, the people were nice, and it was part of the “old Redding” that existed before all the chain stores transformed the retail geography of our beloved city.

My dad grew up in southern California in the 50’s and 60’s, where roadside burger places had first gained a foothold in American culture. When I was a kid, he taught me to appreciate these places for their uniqueness, and took me to many of the ones around Redding to try them out. He always said that the best way to gauge the quality of a burger joint is “the bag test”. More specifically, “your burger should fall out of the bottom of the grease-soaked bag it was handed to you in”.

Pac-Out was one such place, and they had two locations: the original one on the corner of Churn Creek and Cypress, and the slightly newer one up on Lake Boulevard. I don’t think I ever made it to the original one, but the Lake Boulevard one was cool… They had a special sauce there that was awesome, and the people who worked there were great.  I always wanted to go to the original one, but it was torn down in 1998 (to make room for yet another stinking Rite Aid) before I could. Sadly, the man who opened it in 1962, Mr. Ervin Knodel, passed away at age 95 earlier this year.

My dad and I made a pilgrimage to he Lake Boulevard location on April 4th, 2000, the day it closed forever. I took a bunch of photos, and sadly they’re just about all that’s left of the place. They bulldozed it to make way for a flippin’ AutoZone.