Wish list

Redrum Burger, formerly Murder Burger, is known for its ostrich burger, killer fries and surly staff.

Redrum Burger, formerly Murder Burger, is known for its ostrich burger, killer fries and surly staff.

SN&R Photo By Ken Widmann

Ken Widmann is a Davis resident who writes about what makes the town tick.

In the spirit of every columnist on deadline between the holidays, I give you Santa’s To-Do List for Davis. Understand, for us residents there’s a tremendous amount for which to be thankful. We could reside in West Sac. Or Basra. But that doesn’t mean things are perfect here. In no particular order, or practicality:

Good pizza

You want to call Mountain Mike’s, Cennario’s, Domino’s, Steve’s, Round Table and so forth for pizza, fine. I’m from New York, where we call that white bread with Ragu. Sure, Symposium can bake a decent, if greasy, pie, as can the staff at Village Bakery, when not too baked themselves. (It can be a problem—I’ve been handed a pie with no sauce. How do you forget the sauce?) Note to Zelda’s: Fertile ground for expansion is just across the causeway.


Almost everybody in Davis looks dressed for a day hike. But where are the trails? It’s absurd that the closest real hiking area is at Lake Berryessa, a 40-minute drive. I say we take Slide Hill Park to its logical conclusion and erect an entire forested mountain. Put it where the Hunt’s cannery used to be. Word is the tax money from Target will pay for it.

Black people

Sometimes I feel like I’m living in Norway here.

A health inspection for Redrum Burger

Redrum (formerly Murder Burger) should be a quirky local treasure, one of those iconic joints that get written up in books celebrating good road food. Redrum is quirky, in a no mop kind of way. The place is filthy. I’m not looking to eat in an operating room; I understand it’s supposed to be a greasy spoon. I just wish I knew the grease was a byproduct of the cooking, not the chef’s car. The downright surly staff doesn’t help matters, either. On my last visit, for sure, I was handed fries that looked, well, pre-masticated. Then it hit me: just as redrum is murder spelled backward, burger flipped equals re-grub.

A waterfront

If Davis had a beach, there’d be no reason to ever leave. This might be the wish most likely to come true: The Bay will soon reach campus if global-climate change keeps those ice caps a-melting. [Editor’s note: read the rest of this issue, Ken.]

Trader Joe’s

Not for the food, but so everybody will finally shut up about it. You’d think FDR had included “access to Trader Joe’s” in his Four Freedoms speech. My favorite was when the Enterprise ran a cover story in V-J Day sized font shouting that Joe’s was fixing to open in the University Mall, but no one had consulted the current tenant. Oops! The folks at Davis Imaging had just spent buckets of cash upgrading their building to make it safe for radiology, and weren’t looking to step aside so the rest of us could have fancy snacks. But maybe a deal will still be struck, with irradiated food being all the rage …

That thing you did with your tongue that time

Whoops, wrong wish list. Carry on.

Rail service to San Francisco that actually goes to San Francisco

Amtrak from Davis is great, until you’re herded off the train in Emeryville and tamped into a bus to slog it over the Bay Bridge with the rest of the idling cars. Using mass transit should cut your commute time, not simply increase the number of people in your vehicle.

Alhambra Center

What’s the holdup? If you build it, we will come.


I like that you almost never need gloves here, and that my ice scraper is only for Tahoe. But Davis cries out for one—and only one, I’m not calling for a second ice age here—big school-cancelling snowfall a year. Cover everything with that magical soft whiteness, and then melt it all away the next day, before it becomes the slushy grime that leads to suicide. That’s my wish. Not for me, for the children. How can they grow up having never known the unexpected reprieve that is a snow day?