YERMO — Ever since the abrupt death of his father in 2013, Richard Hall Jr. said he knew it was time to step up and take control of his father’s beloved business here.
Hall, 28, and his mother Martha, 71, continue to operate the Burger Den in Yermo, the birthplace of Del Taco, all by themselves.
“I had to make this work because this is something that means a lot to me,” Hall said. “My family moved here from Los Angeles and we were poor. We grew up in a one-bedroom apartment. So when my dad bought this place, I was the only of my siblings that came and I fell in love. This place is iconic. This is the home of the original Del Taco. I could never have thought of having this growing up poor in Los Angeles.”
Hall’s father, Richard Lee Hall, died when his vehicle rolled in November 2013. According to previous reports, he was driving a 1999 Cadillac Escalade on Interstate 15, just south of the Calico Road off-ramp, proceeded onto the right shoulder to pass a vehicle, entered the off-ramp of Calico Road, failed to make a left turn, lost control and overturned the vehicle.
The Escalade came to rest on its roof in the desert near the off-ramp with Hall trapped inside. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Martha Hall said it was rough for the family after her husband's death. But she said her son really stepped up and took control of the business.
The younger Hall, however, insists his mother is the boss and he simply follows her orders.
“He's my right hand,” she said in Spanish of her son, “with him running things I know this business will continue to succeed.”
Hall said his father purchased the business after winning a “little bit” of money in Las Vegas.
“Him and my mom were heading to Las Vegas and on the way there my dad saw the previous owner had put up the for sale sign,” Hall said. “They won in Las Vegas, came back and worked a deal with the owners to buy the property. This was important to him and I will continue to try serving this community as best as possible. Yermo is a wonderful place and I really love this small community.”
Martha Hall said her husband fell in love with Yermo because its tranquility. He felt a sense of peace of mind here, something he never had in the fast-paced lifestyle in Los Angeles, she said.
Yermo was the perfect fit for the Halls because it gave an opportunity to take their son from Los Angeles, where he says he had some trouble.
Martha Hall still lives in Yermo. Hall now lives in Barstow. But the two can be found working side-by-side Monday through Saturday, serving a variety of food from burgers, tacos, pastrami and steak sandwiches and even wings.
Martha Hall said they used to be open seven days a week.
“But it was taking its toll on my old body, so now we rest on Sundays,” she joked.