Austin American-Statesman from Austin, Texas on September 3, 2012 · B2
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Austin American-Statesman from Austin, Texas · B2

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Monday, September 3, 2012
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B2
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Former ‘taco man’ touts bustling burger business ROUND ROCK By Claire Osborn cosborn@statesman.com Dan Balderas, 81, still remembers the smell of the rst hamburger he ever ate in 1939 in West Texas. “The aroma was of frying meat,” he said. “It smelled delicious.” After a childhood spent picking cotton in Williamson County and many years of restaurant experience, he says he has now sold more than 1 million hamburgers at his own Round Rock business — Little Red Wagon Hamburgers. Balderas said the gure came from Eric Goforth, who sells Balderas hamburger buns. Goforth said he has sold Balderas 86,000 buns per year since 1993 — or 1.72 million hamburger buns. Balderas charges $2.49 for a quarter pound hamburger and $5.69 for the hamburger special which includes double meat, double cheese, french fries and a drink. “I keep lunch under $7,” he said. “I think people can a ord that.” Customers steadily owed in and out of the restaurant at 1207 E. Palm Valley Blvd. on a recent August afternoon. Lois McDaniel, a nurse at Trinity Care Center in Round Rock, said she has been coming to the place for 12 years. “The hamburgers have the homemade taste like the hamburgers you grew up with,” said McDaniel. “It’s a staple here in Round Rock,” said Jesse Mahan, a Round Rock contractor who was eating lunch with his wife Jenny. Business wasn’t always so steady, Balderas said. He learned to cook at a San Antonio restaurant as a teenager and later cooked when he joined the Army, he said. He rst started selling tacos in 1977 in Round Rock for 55 cents apiece out of his truck after going broke selling cookware, he said. The rst day he only sold one but the next day he sold out within a few hours, he said. “I walked into businesses on Main Street and said ‘I’m Dan the taco man,’ ” he said. One and a half years later he opened up six taco restaurants in Georgetown, Taylor and Round Rock, but he said he ran into trouble with low sales in Taylor and had to le for bankruptcy in the late 1970s. In 1989 he opened up another restaurant in Round Rock — Tio Dan’s Pu y Tacos — which he still owns. When he opened the Little Red Wagon in 1993, it was rst called the Little Red Barn. He changed its name years later after seeing a pin his wife was wearing of a wagon, he said. He still comes to the restaurant everyday to help his 16 employees learn the business so they can open their own places someday, he said. “I tell them ‘I don’t want you to call me the boss — I’m your professor,’ ” he said. Contact Claire Osborn at 2460040. B UD a City may offer tours to F1 fans — for a price Buda city o cials are looking to attract Formula One fans to their city with a free concert during race weekend. The Buda City Council could authorize a concert for Nov. 15 in Buda City Park during a council meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m. in council chambers, 121 Main Street. The Fabulous Thunderbirds are the proposed headliners for the concert, called the Buda Fan Jam, with two to three opening artists, according to the agenda packet. City o cials have planned for other attractions, including group tours, during race weekend that could make the city up to $15,000 if the attractions reach full capacity. The rst possible event is a culinary tour of Texas dishes and spirits at Tavern on Main that follows a tour of Cabela’s on Nov. 13 from 2 to 8 p.m. The proposed tour, called the Spirit of Texas, includes dinner and transportation. The second tour, Ranch Life, would include a guided tour of the Dear Run Land & Cattle Company where participants can feed and take pictures with Texas longhorns. A chuck wagon style lunch would also be provided. Both tours as planned would cost $175 per person. City o cials are also considering o ering a shuttle service for $25 per person round-trip from various locations in the city to the track. To view the meeting’s agenda, go to www.ci.buda. tx.us. – Haleig H Svoboda, a merican-State S man S taff T R avis C OUNT y County to consider lobbyist contract Travis County commissioners are scheduled to consider renewing a $78,000 annual contract for a lobbyist during Tuesday’s meeting. Knaupe G R, an Austin- based lobbying rm, has contracted with the county since February 2010, according to county documents, and would be signed on for an additional year from October to September 2013, pending approval by commissioners. The commissioners will discuss that and other topics at 9 a.m. Tuesday during their meeting on the rst oor of 700 Lavaca St., Austin. – f arzad m a SHH ood, a merican-State S man S taff J ON es TO w N City hosting festival to raise bird awareness The City of Jonestown and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are hosting Swift Fest 2012 from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Jonestown City Hall and Fireman’s Park to celebrate the Chimney Swifts that reside in the city during the birds’ migration. The city’s celebration is a part of Swift Night Out, a continent-wide bird count to raise awareness of the Chimney Swifts. The festival features live music, artists, food and games for children. Bill Wren, from the McDonald Observatory, is scheduled to speak about the Dark Skies initiative. The festival concludes with watching the Chimney Swifts return to their roost at a cistern in downtown Jonestown. There will be a competition to see who can guess the number of swifts. – Haleig H Svoboda, a merican-State S man Staff C e NTR a L a U s T i N AARP chapter to hold its monthly meeting AARP Austin Chapter No. 108 will hold its monthly meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday at 2874 Shoal Crest Ave. Meetings are for anyone 50 or older, membership in AARP is not required. For more information, call Dora Fowler at 929-0888 or email dafowler@mygrande. net – a merican-State S man Staff eas T a U s T i N Golf tourney to fund veterans monument The Travis County Sheri ’s O ce is cosponsoring a charity golf tournament to fund a monument memorializing former Johnston High School students who died while serving in the military during the Vietnam War. Of 75 Austin soldiers who died in the war, 23 percent of them were Tejanos who had attended Johnston High School, according to a news release. The sheri ’s o ce, along with Tejanos in Action and the Johnston/Eastside Memorial High School Ex-Students Association, is hosting the tournament on Oct. 29 at 9 a.m. at Shadowglen Golf Club in Manor. For more information on how to participate or to make a donation to the memorial, call 826-7569 or 658-2962. – Haleig H Svoboda, a merican-State S man Staff T RA vis COUNTY HAY s COUNTY Lea ND e R Council could adopt tax rate, budget The City Council could approve the city’s proposed tax rate and budget during its meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday in Pat Bryson Municipal Hall, 201 N. Brushy St. The proposed tax rate of 67.04 cents per $100 of assessed value remains the same as the previous year’s rate, but the city’s proposed budget of $61.4 million for the 2012-13 scal year will collect an additional $847,000, with $505,016 coming from new properties added to the tax rolls. Council members held two public hearings on the proposed rate in August. – Haleig H Svoboda, a merican-State S man S taff H UTTO Tax rate, budget on tap for council meeting The City Council could adopt a proposed tax rate and budget for the 2012-13 scal year during its meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday’s in City Hall, 401 W. Front St. The proposed tax rate is 52.86 cents per $100 of valuation, 1.21 cents higher than last year’s rate, with a budget of about $30 million. The council held two public hearings on the proposed tax rate in August. To view the meeting’s agenda, go to www.huttotx. gov. – Haleig H Svoboda, a merican-State S man S taff w i LL iams ON C OUNT y s ocial media chats to aid in preparedness The Williamson County Commissioners Court has designated September as preparedness month. County o cials are encouraging residents to get involved in emergency preparedness by acquiring an emergency kit, making a plan and staying informed. As part of the county’s e orts, the O ce of Emergency Management will host interactive chats on emergency preparedness using social media. The rst chat is scheduled from 10 to 11 a.m. on Sept. 14 on Twitter using #imprepared, with the second from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sept. 28. The chat will be posted online at www.face - book.com/preparingwilco. The county is also conducting a new Teen CERT/ Youth Preparedness Program for high school students. The program is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays in September at the Jollyville Fire Station, 9218 Anderson Mill Road. The program is free but only has room for 25 to 30 teens. To participate, call the O ce of Emergency Management at 943-3839. For more information on creating an emergency kit and an emergency plan, go to www.wilco.org/oem. – Haleig H Svoboda, a merican-State S man S taff w i LL iams ON C OUNT y Tickets on sale for shelter fundraiser Tickets are on sale for the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter’s third annual Denim and Diamonds Fur Ball to bene t animals at the shelter. The fundraiser includes dinner, music and a silent auction. It begins at 6 p.m. on Oct. 20 at the Marriott North, 2600 La Frontera Blvd, according to the shelter’s website. Tickets are $50 per person and are available for purchase at pets.wilco.org or at the animal shelter, 1855 S.E. Inner - loop, Georgetown. – Haleig H Svoboda, a merican-State S man S taff W i LL i AM s ON COUNTY e LG i N City Council to discuss budget for coming year The City Council will meet for a budget workshop at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers, 310 N. Main St. According to the agenda, the council will discuss the 2012-13 budget and also have a second reading of an ordinance for a new solid waste franchise with Allied Waste. – a merican-State S man S taff Bas TRO p Local farm to feature live music with festival Barton Hill Farms is hosting its rst Fall Festival and Corn Maze. The festival launches Sept. 22 with music starting at 1 and 5 p.m. by Horse Opera and Los Texas Wranglers, and the festival continues each weekend until Nov. 18. Additional bands will perform on other weekends, according to a news release. In addition to music, the festival will feature a 5-acre corn maze, a 50-foot pirate ship, frontier games, a replica of Wilbarger Fort and a pumpkin patch, the release said. The festival costs $7 for children ages 3 to 12 and $10 for adults. To see the schedule of bands or for more information, go to www.bartonhillfarms.com. – Haleig H Svoboda, a merican-State S man S taff B A s TROP COUNTY Community News Monday, September 3, 2012 B2 News: communitynews@statesman.com or 512-445-3663 Real Austin. Real News. State, U.S. highways Interstate 35 (Travis County): Various lane closures on the northbound access road between Onion Creek and Slaughter Creek from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Reduced to one lane at Stassney Lane from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday nights. Northbound outside lane closed at 12th Street from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Wednesday. Inside lane of the southbound access road closed between 15th and 12th streets from 8 p.m. Wednesday until 5 a.m. Thursday. Interstate 35 (Williamson County): Reduced to two northbound lanes and one southbound lane between Williams Drive and Texas 130 from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday night. U.S. 79: North- and southbound outside lanes closed between Hutto and County Road 402 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesday. U.S. 183 (Travis County): Southbound ramp to westbound Texas 71 closed between 8 p.m. Tuesday and 5 a.m. Wednesday. U.S. 290 (Travis County): Westbound lanes closed between Loop 360 and Monterey Oaks Boulevard 8 p.m. Tuesday until 5 a.m. Wednesday. Eastbound lanes closed between Loop 360 and Industrial Oaks Boulevard from 8 p.m. Wednesday until 5 a.m. Thursday. Various lane reductions between Tara Lane and Nutty Brown Road. U.S. 290 (Hays County): Reduced to one lane in each direction with a center turn lane between McGregor Lane and Bell Springs Road. MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1): Outside lane on the southbound access road closed between Far West Boulevard and North Hills Drive from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Northbound lanes closed at the Sunset Valley exit from 8 p.m. Wednesday until 5 a.m. Thursday. Northbound access road bridge over U.S. 290 west closed 8 p.m. Tuesday until 5 a.m. Wednesday. Loop 360: Reduced to one north and southbound lane between Parmer Lane and Pecan Park Boulevard from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Texas 45 North: Westbound access road reduced to one lane between Parmer Lane and Pecan Park Boulevard from 7 p.m. Tuesday until 5 a.m. Wednesday. Texas 71: Single lane closures between U.S. 183 and Texas 130 from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Various lane closures between Southeast Parkway and RM 32 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Tuesday. Lane closures between Bob Wire Road and Creek Meadow Cove. TRAFF i C R e PORT Deborah Cannon / a merican-Statesman Dan Balderas opened Little Red Wagon Hamburgers in 1993 in Round Rock. Balderas, who struggled in the restaurant business when he started in 1977, says he’s sold more than 1 million burgers. ‘ i keep lunch under $7. i think people can afford that.’ Dan Balderas , restaurateur

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