San Jose’s longstanding restaurant, ‘The Burger Pit,’ is set to shut down

For decades, Burger Pit restaurants were a fixture across the Bay Area. Now, the last remaining location in San Jose, open since 1964, is set to close its doors for good on Tuesday.

In anticipation of the closure, crowds gathered at the Blossom Hill Road restaurant over the weekend to bid farewell and savor one last steerburger. The lines stretched out the door as dozens of patrons, many of whom had grown up with the restaurant, came to pay their respects to this Bay Area institution.

“I waited almost an hour and a half,” said Keith Collins, a San Jose resident. “I had to get a good meal. I got the charcoal burger with mushroom and guacamole. I had to try it for the last time.”

The first Burger Pit opened in Cupertino in 1956, founded by Paul Berger’s father. Now, Paul Berger is closing the last remaining location. Berger cited two main reasons for the closure: he is turning 75 soon and is ready to retire, and he faced a significant rent increase.

“We found out he wanted $21,000 a month to rent, which was an enormous increase over what I was paying,” Berger explained.

As the restaurant prepares to close, loyal customers reminisce about the fond memories shared there over generations.

“Getting to enjoy a steak burger with my grandfather, that kind of stuff I will miss that a lot,” said Dominic Lombardi, a San Jose resident.

Some customers feel the loss of Burger Pit, known for its affordable prices, is particularly poignant now.

“I think in the future, when I drive by and see it closed — another San Jose business that once was thriving with many stores,” said Steven Denton.

Jody Millermon, the restaurant’s manager for 30 years, considers it her second home.

“The people I’ve met,” Millermon reflected. “The employees, the students that we trained and mentored and taught their first jobs — including my own children. It’s been great. A lot of our customers aren’t customers, they’re family.”

Customers shared that sentiment, expressing that they came for the food but stayed because they felt like family there.

Despite the closure, the outpouring of support from the community has been overwhelming, with people sending flowers, cakes, and cards all week long expressing their sadness at the Burger Pit’s closure.

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