After 10 years, mom-and-pop burger joint Timbo's is closing. But the owners are going the extra mile to try to ensure their employees get needed support as the eatery prepares to shut its doors for good on June 17.
The brainchild of Tim and Teresa Lang, Timbo's opened a decade ago as one of the first culinary spots to line Pearl Parkway, the main entrance into Pearl off Broadway. It followed in the footsteps of Little Hipps Gimmedraw Parlour, whose owner, Dick Hipps, shut the doors in 2002 due to his failing health.
Through Timbo's, the Langs carried on a legacy of popular, no-frills, cheap burgers and other greasy, guilty culinary delights that had developed over 40-plus years, first at Little Hipps Bubble Room and then at the Gimmedraw.
Little Hipps was a veritable neighborhood institution, attracting students and employees from San Antonio College, workers from adjacent offices, visitors from nearby Metropolitan Hospital, tourists, and even visiting celebrities and local powerbrokers.
Huge, juicy burgers and crunchy tater tots, all at inexpensive prices, were among the most popular menu items. So were shypoke eggs — basically huge nachos designed with the appearance of fried eggs. Fried with cheese, and topped by jalapenos, ham, and tomato, shypoke eggs practically became legendary.
In addition, the owners and employees at Little Hipps felt like family. Many workers spent decades there. It was no different for Tim, who worked there for 27 years.
The Langs carried on much of Little Hipps' culinary traditions and interior aesthetics at Timbo's. The burgers, tots, and shypoke eggs, among other menu items, proved popular with longtime Little Hipps fans and were hits with newer customers too.
The inside of Timbo's has much of the same down-home feel conveyed by Little Hipps, which operated out of a converted gas station. As such, the walls are adorned with vintage signs, photos, and other quirky knick-knacks of local history.
Alas, modern times — and the growth of the Pearl area — have caught up with Timbo's. According to the Langs, rising appraisal values have led to higher property taxes that have made it a challenge for them to maintain operations.
And, in late March, their landlord delivered a 90-day notice to vacate the premises. In April, Teresa took to GoFundMe to alert people about Timbo's imminent closure and the need to take care of six families of employees who are affected by it.
"One of our workers provides housing and support for an aged mother, another has four young children, and the list goes on. Anything that you contribute will mean the world to them," she said.
On the Timbo's Facebook page, the owners say they'll likely move to a limited menu in the final days. Meanwhile, faithful patrons post their farewells and memories on social media, and make contributions to help out the employees and their families.
The Langs have not yet announced what they may do after Timbo's closes. But the outpouring of community support is a testament to the power of Little Hipps, family, food, nostalgia, and tradition.