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New owner to take over Poway's famous Hamburger Factory restaurant

The Hamburger Factory in Poway
Posted at 6:45 AM, Aug 31, 2023

POWAY, Calif. (KGTV) — A new owner is about to take over what is arguably Poway's most well-known restaurant, The Hamburger Factory, which has had a treasured space in Old Poway Park for decades.

“Hamburger Factory is a backbone of Poway," said longtime customer Nancee Prast, who went for lunch there Wednesday, as she has with her friends known as the Luscious Lunch Ladies every week for 40 years. “It’s right in the middle of town. Everybody knows the park, the trains. It’s just Poway.”

When word of the sale began to spread earlier this summer, residents had many questions and concerns, with many hoping the restaurant would keep the same name and menu favorites.

ABC 10News tracked down new owner Josh Arbenz, who is working to put minds at ease. "It’s going to stay The Hamburger Factory. We’re just going to put a modern refresh on it.”

Arbenz is, himself, a longtime customer, having grown up in Poway. The Hamburger Factory was a regular dining spot for his family. “When you’re a kid, when you hear you’re going to Hamburger Factory, I just remember it was a fun place," he said.

When Arbenz decided to become a restaurateur, he first attempted to find a location in Poway. Unable to land a spot, he instead turned west, owning Stratford at the Harbor in Oceanside and Stratford Court Cafe in Del Mar.

When he began hearing rumblings The Hamburger Factory would be sold, he did not think he had a chance at it. But after a few weeks, he decided to call the owner. Arbenz thinks his passion for the building's history helped earn him the opportunity.

“Had I not been from Poway, I don’t think I would have had the context. It would have just been another restaurant.”

Arbenz says he does have plans to modernize the decor while maintaining the rustic Americana theme that connects it to Old Poway Park, which includes the famous steam train giving families rides on weekends. There are also plans for some tweaks to the menu, although he intends to keep regulars' favorites.

“To have the opportunity to run it is a privilege and also an honor, and it’s a big responsibility," Arbenz said, "putting our own spin on it without alienating the existing clientele.”