Mom and Pop Burger Joints
Since this blog is pretty new and you know little to nothing about me – let me give you some info about myself – the one and only Texas Burger Guy. I was born and raised in Texas. Lived in a small town in Central Texas for the better part of my life. After graduating high school – went to college in West Texas – GO TECH!!! – after 4 of the best years of my life at Texas Tech – graduated and landed a job in Houston.
Since I am a small town boy living in the big city – I tend to prefer the smaller mom and pop type burger places. They have that atmosphere that I grew up with. You know what I am talking about right? The buildings are plain as the color white. They all have the friendliest, most down to Earth people working there. The menus always consist of a great deal of artery clogging foods which is just perfect if you ask me. There are no fancy names for their food like “Old Timer Burger” or “Hickory Burger”. Finally - they have great food.
A Taj Mahal – She Ain’t
One definite characteristic among mom and pop burger joints is they are always in very common and ordinary buildings. They tend to be in old houses that were converted to a restaurant. I have been to several gas stations that were converted to restaurants. Those places are still serving gas – just a different kind. (sorry – couldn’t resist) I’ve been in double wide mobile homes that were made into a restaurant. When I walk into the place and see just plain ol’ tables and chairs. I know I am in for a good burger. When I walk in and see neon everywhere and cutesy little signs hanging everywhere about something the restaurant serves – I consider ordering a chicken fried steak instead. For me – the plainer the better. Those people know you will come back for the food – they know they don’t need cute little chairs and waiters with goofy buttons all over them to sell their food.
Mom and pops are usually run by the family of the owner. The owners of these restaurants started small and grew because they have good food. These people know and understand that anything worth having in this world isn’t given to you – those things you value the most are earned by hard work. In my opinion – these people are top notch. I don’t think I have ever been met by rude waitstaff at one of these mom and pop burger joints. They help you feel right at home. And – coming from a small town to Houston – I need to reconnect with that small town part of me every once in a while and these mom and pop waitstaff help do that for me. In addition to the waitstaff – the people eating at these places tend to be a certain group of people. They know that often times you find the best food and best service in hard to find places. There is this feeling among the patrons of these restaurants that you have found one of greatest restaurants that nobody else knows about. It feels like you have been let in on a secret that only those around you and those at the restaurant know about.
No Fancy Schmancy Names
No – none of that at mom and pop places. Their burgers are usually just named.. well.. burger. A burger with bacon is named a Burger with Bacon on the menu. Occasionally the burgers are named after the owner of the place. For example Bubba’s Burger Barn may have something named “Bubba’s Big Mean Burger”. While this could be contradictory to my previous statement about the mom and pop places not having fancy names… really… which is fancy sounding to you? Something named “Café Dijon Burger” or “Bubba’s Big Mean Burger”? When I crack open a burger menu and see some of these words: peppercorn, dijon, swiss, pepperjack, or ballerina – I know to steer clear of this dang place in the future.
The most important part of any restaurant is obviously the quality of their food. Mom and pops always have very unique styles about them that you will never see in larger chains. For instance - you'll never see a burger with 6 patties at Chili's or TGI Fridays. You get your plain jane run of the mill burger there. Mom and pops have the freedom to do what they want to do - they are allowed to have style. Great food is the key element - and mom and pops have it.